What you talkin' bout?
I am convinced that it is not what happens to us that causes the most damage in our lives. It is what we tell ourselves about those events that causes the greater damage. Please, hear me. I know bad things happen, really bad things happen. We all have lived through events and circumstances outside our desire and control that bring pain, upheaval, and confusion. The events or circumstance and the pain that might be associated with them requires confidence and clarity of God and our relationship with him and not the added misinformation we often tell ourselves. The events are true; they factually happened, but what we agree with regarding these events do not necessarily reflect THE TRUTH.
Let’s take a look at an example. This came out of the Life Journal reading a while back and has stuck with me. This is the story of Joseph found in Genesis 37. Joseph was his father’s (Jacob) favorite son. Jacob had a special robe made for him. Joseph also carried God’s favor that became evident via the dreams given to him by God. When Joseph shared the dreams with his brothers, they were filled with hate and jealousy and plotted against him. When the opportunity presented itself, the brothers attacked him, stripped him of his robe, threw him in a pit, and then sold him to the Midianites who then sold him again to Potiphar, in Egypt. These are the true facts: Joseph was attacked by his brothers, all possessions taken. He was now a slave. But here is THE TRUTH: Joseph was still highly favored by God and had a destiny ahead.
Imagine what it must have been like to experience what Joseph did. He was basically living a good life; favored son; cool robe. Maybe a little trouble with the brothers but I bet Joseph was not thinking it was a big deal. Then one day, on Jacob’s orders, Joseph heads off to check on his brothers and his whole life violently and abruptly changes. Imagine the shock, betrayal, and fear. All personal empowerment and identity are gone. He was a slave with no family, no home, and no rescuer on the horizon.
What if Joseph began to create a different narrative about these events? What if he told himself since his brothers hated him, perhaps God felt likewise? What if he told himself that if God really loved him and knew what was happening, he would have prevented his brothers’ attack? Or what if Joseph made a vow to himself that because he shared those dreams with his brothers and ended up in Egypt, he would never engage in those dreams again? Who’s to say Joseph didn’t sort through those types of thoughts. He very well could have; we don’t know for absolute certainty. What we do know, without a doubt, is he did not stay with those thoughts. Because when all was lost, Joseph’s trust and confidence in God, in the character of God, grew beyond what had happened. He chose to grab THE TRUTH and not let true events and circumstances create a false identity or shaky relationship with God. His destiny was secure and he continued to live for God. He continued to be what God called him to be-highly favored.
We cannot prevent every bad turn or situation from happening. But we can pay attention to our thoughts, to our self-talk. If we have experienced a failure, do we call ourselves failures? Does that line up with what God says about us? When we are having financial struggles, what are we saying about it? God doesn’t care? This mess is too hard? We really are piling on the pain of difficult situations by complicating matters with these stories we tell ourselves. Here is THE TRUTH: 1. God is in a good mood. Our circumstances do not effect God’s demeanor! He delights in us and healready has the answers for our circumstances. 2. Jesus’ blood paid for everything. Jesus paid for every thing humanity has done or will ever do. Our identity issecure in him. 3. Nothing is impossible. No matter what we face, God has the answer. 4. How He made us is amazing. We are wired to get through difficulties because we have the mind of Christ. Let’s practice this type of self-talk when we face those challenges. This is not a preventative strategy. By implementing this practice, we will not necessarily prevent bad things from happening or the pain that comes. But will go through them by walking in THE TRUTH that keeps us connected to our Father’s heart and destiny for us.