In marriage, believing a lie can lead to some very crazy thoughts. One that I had about my spouse, was this.
“Lou Ann is my Enemy”
I kept having this thought despite knowing we are on the same team and that she wants the best for me. I realized this thought was based on the lie “If Lou Ann disagrees with me on something, it is because she doesn’t want me to be happy.” It also included another lie that “I know what you are thinking”, since I thought I could read her motivations.
To put this lie to death, I had to keep reminding myself of the truth. When Lou Ann disagrees, it isn’t a personal attack but a concern for our mutual welfare.
One friend told me that he realized that his lie was “that he could be perfect at something”. Every time he wasn’t, he felt a lot of doubt and condemnation.
I pointed out that this lie is about perfection. It is similar to what the serpent said in Genesis 3:5, “…and you will be like God..”.
Since only God can do something perfectly, our desire to do so is a crazy thought yet we still believe it.
We try to raise the perfect child, be the perfect spouse, meet our parent’s expectations, hide our mistakes, and use white lies to cover our tracks. It is this lie of perfection that causes us to not even begin something because we might fail. It then leads us to create unreasonable goals/expectations and then quit when we have a single setback. And the lie of perfection ensures that we beat ourselves up along the way.
I now wonder if the most powerful lies come from our tendency to believe we are “like God”. Could this be the reason we express these thoughts (even as toddlers)?
I don’t deserve this. It’s not my fault. I can handle this. I know what you are thinking. I can do this and be the only one not harmed. I am more important than you. You can’t hurt me. I will get make you pay for that. It’s ok for me to judge you. I can fix this.
When you really consider them, you realize these are things only God could say with a straight face!
A marriage relationship can be a breeding ground for crazy thoughts. Especially when things are not going well. Here are some I’ve heard from couples in re|engage™.
He/she will never change. You wouldn’t believe what has happened in our marriage. When she/he changes, then our marriage will be better. We are just here for some minor tweaks to our marriage. Our marriage cannot be healed. We have a good marriage because we rarely fight. We are just here because the childcare allows us some time together.
How do I know these are false beliefs (besides God’s word) ? Because ten weeks later these same re|engage™ couples laughed and wonder how they could have believed them.
But acknowledging crazy thoughts and finding the lie behind them is not the end of the process.
We can only get free if we then choose to apply the truth.
Truth can come from a caring friend, the Holy Spirit or something you’ve read. Truth is what God always speaks. And the truth will always align with God’s word and then set you free.
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 NLT
So here’s a reminder of the process we’ve explored over the last few posts.
1. Look for emotions (anger, frustration, doubt, despair, hopelessness, irritation, numbness) that are affecting your marriage relationship. Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment.
2. See if you can identify where this emotion started. (It isn’t required but may help you understand it better.)
3. Discuss what false belief might be behind the emotional response and write it down.
4. Look for the lie behind that belief. Let the Holy Spirit speak. Identify it, confess it and repent.
5. Then liberally apply the truth from God’s word and be diligent to confront it when it tries to reappear.
This principle of applying truth and rejecting lies is the full-time work of the Holy Spirit. He is wanting to set us free from the bondage of sin and will bring conviction about the lies we hold onto.
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. [Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT
Here are several questions for you to consider this week.
1. What are some “like God” thoughts, beliefs or expectations that you have? How are they affecting you?
2. Who are some people in the Bible who had a “like God” attitude? (other than Jesus….)
P.S. Discuss with your spouse. It’s amazing how much they can help you think through this.
P.S.S. It would encourage me if you let me know the lies you identified from reading these posts. Leave a comment or click here to send me an email.
P.S.S.S If you think you struggle with perfectionism, you are not alone. One of my favorite books on this topics is “Finish” by Jon Acuff. His quirky humor and ability to point out your crazy thoughts is amazing. Check it out HERE.