Any child can become embittered, but it takes a man to understand the grace he’s been given and to decide to give it to others.
I was talking with a client the other day in the office. She was frustrated about her job, her marriage and her life. “I hate everything right now!” she said. As I listened to her pain I saw a recurring expression that occurred with everything she talked about; she was experiencing a lot of fear.
Her fear kept her stuck in her current situations and in her current behavioral patterns. “Why should I do anything different,” she exclaimed, “it will just be the same thing at the next job!” She went on to tell me how her last job had started out great, and when she started to excel and they were going to have to pay her more money, they also changed the deal mid stream.
Now we had fear that was rationalized by personal experience.
I began to explain to her about the belief system cycle. Early on in life we experience events that form beliefs. These beliefs are expressed over and over again in the deep recesses of our mind as thoughts. When we have these thoughts we have feelings about them, which effect our actions, which in turn become new events that tend to confirm the belief we had in the first place.
It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy where we mentally create the environment to prove what we already believed to be true.
In my client’s case it was her first job. She had been lied to and taken advantage of. That coupled with a boyfriend that cheated on her added to a belief: “people could not be trusted.”
Because she needed work and wanted love she did risk trusting again, but this time with a wall up around her. Not a big one, but one she thought would protect her. Her experience created a belief that instilled a thought that ran in the background of her mind whenever anything bad happened, “You just can’t trust anyone!”
Oddly enough, the wall that she built to protect herself from being taken advantage of was actually keeping her in a situation where she was being taken advantage of on a daily basis! She wasn’t willing to leave a job where the company had reneged on their agreement, because she was afraid of working for a company that would take advantage of her and eventually go back on their agreement with her.
Sounds crazy, but we all do this kind of behavior. It’s not crazy to you because you grew up with the lies that you believe and they seem normal and sensible to you. You developed these beliefs in order to protect yourself, but now they actually keep you in dysfunctional behavior and only guarantee pain.
“But I know how to manage this level of pain!” you say. “What if the pain next time is worse?”
“What if it’s better?” I would reply.
It’s not hopeless! Hope is found when we go beyond learning about the truth and actually start believing it. When we take those truths and base our beliefs on them, fighting against the urge to believe the old lies, then new thoughts naturally take over influencing new behaviors.
It’s not a one time event, but a battle. It is a process to move from believing the old lies to walking in truth on a daily basis. Even after we are released from the bondage of lies we still have to continue to walk in the truth, for it wasn’t our efforts that freed us, but believing the truth instead of the lie!
James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word [truth], and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Not for the sake of performance, but simply because it is true!