by Priscilla Lack
Discovering new insights brings freedom. Sometimes our most freeing insights reveal themselves in difficult packages we normally wouldn’t choose. When this happens, it can take time to unpack the benefits coming from these types of insights.
I’m reminded of a quote by James A. Garfield: “The truth shall set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” When I first saw this quote, I smiled and thought, “Isn’t that often the way it is?”
It’s natural to develop personal beliefs concerning our approaches in life. Our early years form some of the most ingrained ones. In some cases these early beliefs become formulas, helping us to deal with life. Whether our formulas are faulty or true, they will eventually influence our views about God, our relationships, and ourselves.
If we grew up in a dysfunctional family, we may find that some of our beliefs and formulas are faulty. In other words, we may need some inner adjustments. Perhaps there are parts of our foundational beliefs that require an excavation and rebuilding. Yet, even if our foundations were cracked and off center, God has a way of showing us how to preserve the treasure in it.
Not everything in our life needs to change or be eliminated. It isn’t an all or nothing process. Instead, we hold on to the good while taking on the new truths we didn’t realize before. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit enlightens us to new ways of doing life.
At times, we don’t realize our familiar ways of getting through life haven’t been working well for us. Other times, we’re frustrated because we know something is amiss, but we don’t know what to do about it.
To make new choices in how we think and approach life takes courage. It can feel like a catch 22. To run away from new insights will leave us stuck. To apply them may just challenge us in ways we hadn’t considered. It’s comforting to know that as we pray about our options, the Lord will reveal the clarity we need in order to take the next step.
Here are some common beliefs that eventually cause us problems:
- If I love someone enough, they will change.
- If I treat my children the opposite of how I was raised, then they will be alright.
- If I ignore my problem, it will go away.
- If I act helpless, others will take care of me.
- I must pretend I’m someone else; otherwise, people won’t like me.
- We should never argue or have any conflict if we love each other.
- If I’m walking with Christ, I should always be happy.
- We should forget our past and keep moving on.
- I don’t stand up for myself because it might make someone uncomfortable.
- If I don’t dominate others, they will control me.
- Only my positive feelings are acceptable.
Interestingly, some of these beliefs can appear to be quite noble. However, if we examine them a little further, there are some problems associated with approaching life this way. If we don’t upgrade these beliefs, we may find our lives are riddled with disappointments.
Our Past Doesn’t Have to Rule Over Us
Some of us were fatherless. Maybe our mothers weren’t able to give us what we needed. Perhaps our outside circumstances left us in painful surroundings. Be that as it may, our past doesn’t have to dictate what we choose to do today.
In conclusion, the journey of healing isn’t easy but God promises He will be there with us. As we’re willing, He helps us to see things in a different light. The Lord has a way of bringing us mentors — people who can speak wisdom into our lives. God uses these people to help us see our misguided inner formulas, so that we can make better choices.
Once we choose to take those first steps, which include: awareness of our need, wanting some inner changes, realizing we need God’s help for these changes; then our restoration process begins. While we’re all different in how we begin to heal, we can start somewhere … and that’s okay.
© 2023; Priscilla Lack, all rights reserved.