Why do people lie? In the beginning, when I was young, I lied to avoid Mama’s wrath. Then later, I lied because I felt not-good-enough and insecure. But there came a time when I had to learn to differentiate between lies and truth. That was not as easy as it sounds.
Abuse survivors regularly experience this mind jarring reality. When you are an abuse survivor, the lies feel like the truth and the truth feels like a lie. If you are a survivor of child abuse, you have most likely repeated the lies from abuse so often and for so long, that they have become true to you. That’s what hearing lies about yourself does. It disorients, deflects logical thinking, and disguises the truth so that it cannot be recognized.
The lies of abuse teach you that you have no value, that you are disposable, and that your wants and needs are unimportant. (Only adults’ need and wants matter.) They were pushed into your heart where they have festered for years. You grew ideas about yourself, other people, and God around them. You measure every decision, thought, and action by them. They have distorted your vision,destroyed your relationships, and tainted your ideas about God.
To aggressively challenge these stubborn lies requires a rehearsing of the truth that is just as tenacious. At first, truth sounds counterfeit and foreign:
- You are loved. You are a treasure.
- You are pure and noble.
- You are sacred.
- You are a reflection of God’s image.
- Nothing can separate you from the love of God.
But you will find that as you practice speaking this truth to yourself, to your relationships, and to your life circumstances, they slowly erode the lies that have conquered you so many times in the past.
All evil rulers have known the power of repetition. That power is even more significant when it comes to repeating truth. The mantra of abuse recovery comes from Jesus, who taught, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
And what is the truth worth repeating?
- That God loves you.
- That you are more precious to God than anything else in the universe.
- That you have such value and dignity that you actually reflect the image of God in you.
- That you are pure and noble and sacred because Christ is working in you and through you.
This is not about talking yourself into truth; it is about overriding the repeated lies that have derailed so much of your life. I remember during a very difficult part of my journey, when I didn’t know up from down, I began to practice
repeating the truth.
When the lie that I had no value slapped me in the face, I would challenge it with the truth that I am created in God’s image.
When the lie that I was disposable threatened my stability, I retaliated with the truth that I am precious to God.
When isolation and abandonment crushed me, I anchored my heart to sacred love. I made a decision to handle truth until I knew it was truth.
It’s a lot like reprogramming a computer, or over-writing a CDRW. Those untrue grooves must be filled in with God’s Truth. Write God’s Truths on index cards and pin or tape them wherever you have to see them. I taped mine on the bathroom wall at eye level when I was sitting down. (What else is there to occupy one’s mind during that function?) Do what ever you have to do to hear, read, speak, and feel God’s truth about who you are. It works, I promise!
(c)1999-2009 April Lorier