From the time I woke up today it has been simply a rough day. It is not even that my circumstances were terrible. I have a roof over my head, a meal in the SDR (Moody’s student dining room), I learn from amazing professors, my education that I am receiving is top notch, and I am surrounded by amazing friends.
So naturally everything should be going perfectly right? I should have a smile on my face and not struggle with anything.
You would think so.
But today, for some reason, doubt has been following me around. This resulted in some serious self-deprecation. I was believing that I was not good enough and I just sat in that. Then all of the negative thoughts that continuously lurk in the background flooded to the forefront of my mind. It was like what would happen if you punched a hole in the Hoover Dam. Originally it would start off as a trickle but eventually the surrounding concrete would give way resulting in a wall of water pummeling the nearby towns.
I dont think I am the only one who has these kinds of days. I think that maybe we have believed that we need to wear the cape. That we have the giant “S” on our chest and if we’re shot, wont really bleed. That we can just shake everything off. We believe that people need our strength first and foremost. There is no room for expressing weakness. So when lies creep up and doubt seeps in, we never address it. Instead we toss it to the side expecting it will just go away. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.
So today I had to sit down and write down all of the lies that I have been believing. If I let them just fester they would have torn me apart. Therefore, I wrote a list of at least 10 of the lies that I have either been the result of demonic lies or lies that I have preached to myself.
I am lazy because I do not have a job; I am failing in discipling the younger men on my floor; I can see all the things that I am NOT; my efforts to help the guys grow up in the Gospel have been futile; I will never become proficient at preaching. And the list goes on.
All of these are lies that I am believing about myself and then lies that I am believing about God. Some may say “You need a friend just to speak truth to you, that you will get a job and that you will eventually become a good preacher” (or for them to tell me that I am currently a good preacher). That is not what I need.
Instead of brooding on the lies, I NEED to rest in the Gospel.
So after I wrote down all of the lies I have been believing I drew an arrow to the truth of the Gospel. I asked myself the question, “how does the Gospel answer and adress my lie?” Here are a couple ways the Gospel answers some of the lies I tend to believe:
I am lazy because I do not have a job —> My worth does not come from what I produce or whether or not I make money. Christ, in the Gospel, declares my worth. He has declared that I am an image bearing Son who has been redeemed. Additionally, I need not fear what people think. God is the most glorious and therefore I do not need to fear others. I am free to fear Him and Him alone. I can see all the things that I am NOT —> In the Gospel, because I have been taken up in Christ, I am now seen as one approved. I do not need to earn any grace or approval from God. He has given it to me because of Jesus.God does not look at me and see all the things wrong with myself. (Why would I default to self-worship in self-deprecation?) The Trinity look at me, and because of Christ, and love me dearly. They LIKE me. They rejoice over me. They love me where I am at.
I wrote this blog not to just lay myself out and be needlessly vulnerable. Nor did I write it so you would pity me or to show you that I have had it tough or something. I wrote this so that 1) you would be encouraged that you need not be strong, Christ is your strength. Maybe people need your weakness more than the fake painted “S” on your chest. 2) To show you that it is okay to struggle. It seems that we expect pastors or bible college students to be perfect. I am so not perfect and will never pretend to be. 3) To help model what it means to preach the Gospel to yourself. As we practice preaching the Gospel to ourselves the Spirit is faithful to grow us up in the Gospel.
I will need to constantly remind myself of these truths of the Gospel and continually turn away from the lies. This is not a one time event. It is not a flu shot. It is more like eating healthy multiple times per day.
And it does not end with me and my Moleskine, my plan is to, when I am done writing this blog post, seek out a couple close guy friends and ask for prayer. Prayer that I will continue to believe the Gospel and I will cling to my identity.
I lastly, want to say that this does not mean that I am all of a sudden all smiley and happy. Those lies still weigh on me. Nor do I think that I need to be “happy.” My soul rejoices in the joy found in Christ and I am free to have tough days without placing the false mask of “everything is peachy-keen!” I still seek to dwell, by the power of the Spirit, upon the Gospel.
What lies are you believing that you need to turn from? What truths of the Gospel do you need to turn to? Have you even given yourself permission to be weak in front of people, in front of yourself, and especially in front of God?