Messages are everywhere. Each one has a motive. They want us to believe something about ourselves and about our world. And in that underlying motive, messages usually want us to act in a way that will benefit their messenger. It’s a “looking out for me” kind of world and we manipulate each other to get ahead, feel worth, and find value. And if we aren’t careful we begin to absorb these messages, inherently making them our own.
Ah, can I speak a little tough love for you and for me?
WHAT ARE YOU TELLING YOURSELF RIGHT NOW
Truth can be evasive. But our culture today says it’s not. It’s whatever you think is true. So we take life and twist it around to what will benefit us most and call it truth. No one can argue with that, right? It’s my truth, after all!
But in the middle of this privilege we all want to claim, our foundation is loosened and we have no firm place to stand. People groups become marginalized. Abuse occurs. Messages are loud-speakered (yep, making that a word) out to the world saying who is worthy and who is not. But don’t blink. Because depending on who is in charge, that could change the current waves of culture. And all the while, we seek to keep up, step out, step back, shrink down, grow giant-sized at injustice, and yet not know how to fix any of it.
We’ve lost sight of real, actual Truth.
THE FRUITS OF TELLING OUR OWN VERSIONS OF TRUTH
I would imagine, deep down, we know there is something wrong with everyone being able to make up their own versions of truth. We see it in the news all the time. That’s how Amhaud Arbery gets shot and killed while on an innocent run through the neighborhood. That’s how children are sold into slave trades. It’s how people and children with disabilities were neglected and killed for generations (and still are).
Losing our firm foundation of truth also causes social media comparisons and feelings of inadequacy. We depend on governments and politics to point us to true north, only to be disappointed, divided, and marginalized over and over again.
Before we know it, our circumstances and unexpected plot twists control our emotions and our truth. What is right in front of us informs us and equips us to make decisions.
Must we continue to hold this flag that truth can be whatever anyone wants it to be?
FINDING OUR WAY BACK TO THE TRUTH
Our first step in finding our way back to Truth is to remember who God is. Likely, in the middle of this haze of whatever we call truth, we’ve also mislabeled God. Our circumstances and broken situations have been our truth informers, which cast lies and shadows where we cannot see clearly. So how do we remember who God is?
- Seek Him for yourself. Don’t depend only on the messages you’ve heard about Him through your life. Maybe you’ve depended on others to define who God is by their characters and behaviors. If we’ve depended on human character and behavior to define who we think God is, we’ve missed it. While we are made in His incredible image, we also have to deal with this condition of brokenness and evil living in our world and leaking into our souls. We are flawed. We disappoint, hurt each other, and live out motivations of selfishness. Ask God to show you who He really is. He is a fully accessible God and is patient in our questioning, our seeking and our discovery of Him. And He is a grace-giver, full of truth and love, welcoming us back into the shadow of His protective wing.
- Grab your Bible and go back in time to see all the ways God showed up. What were His characteristics? Think about how God has shown up in your past and demonstrated these same characteristics. Write them down and display them around your house. These are poignant reminders that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. When we keep them in our focus, we can better see Him and His Truth.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LIES WE’VE MASKED AS TRUTH
- Find a trusted mentor or friend who seeks Truth well, and ask them if they can be a safe space for you to speak out loud the thoughts circling your mind. Lies can fester and thrive in isolation and secrets. We become stuck, downtrodden and hopeless because the lies we’ve falsely labeled as truth have no life in them. When we speak these lies out loud as they are (with no masks or dilution!), they lose their power and truth can replace those lies.
- Implement a strategy in your life where you can pursue truth and have a strong foundation to filter your life circumstances through. Your life circumstances do not get to be the filter. Oh boy. Should I say that again? Your life circumstances do not get to be the filter or hold the power or authority to proclaim truth to you.
FILLING YOUR MIND WITH HIS WORD
Every morning I wake up and fill my mind with the Word of God. Sound’s Sunday School-ish? They meant well back in Sunday School, they really did. Without turning this into a chore or a religious to-do list we check off to feel ‘good enough’, this actually becomes a soul-filling experience. I meet with the One who has created me and invited me to be part of His love story! He equips me and propels me forward full of truth. I read words like this and am reminded of where I must root my truth:
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3: 16-21
TRUTH IS A GIFT OFFERED TO YOU AND ME
It’s in this space, I remember. Truth is a gift offered to me. And the Holy Spirit taking up residence in me is also Truth in me. Truth is a piece of armor so I can stand strong when life hits me with unexpected plot twists or others treat me unfairly.
Real truth unites. It shines a light of value on our fellow human being, it brings proper priorities into perspective. Truth brings justice, and course correction to our souls. It brings to light the sacrifice of Jesus and His victory over broken and evil things. And it allows us to live victorious even in the middle of difficult places. Truth unifies in love and is a firm belt, holding us together and tethering us to Him as we navigate our world.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth… Ephesians 6:13-14a
SO WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO NOW?
I can’t really answer that for you. But I can answer it for me. When I become frantic, stressed, reactive–I know it’s time to step away. I need to get re-centered on my Father. Re-centered on Truth. It’s time for quiet. It’s time to disengage. Not forever. Just right now.
Log off socials for a day, week, month. Get your journal out and pray. Ask your family to give you a block of hours one day to get outside on your own and seek God, away from responsibility. I’m preaching to myself here. Friends, we have a spiritual battle raging in our world. Our armor to fight must include the belt of truth.
Thanks for listening,
Hey there! My favorite way of connecting with you is through my monthly letter sent right to your email. I love hearing from readers when they reply and hearing their stories. I send out encouragement, resources, and a whole lotta joy each month and would love for you to be part of this. Sign up here. Looking forward to meeting you and journeying together.