Trade the Mirage of Lies for the Message of Truth
A few nights ago, my husband and I watched the movie, A Wrinkle in Time, which is based on a book by the same title. I, unlike my husband, have not read the book. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Though, at times, I found it to be a little odd, the movie held a powerful message that resonated with my heart.
Towards the end of the movie, there is a scene where “The IT” (the representation of evil) possesses the main actress’ little brother causing him to say things that are not characteristic of his nature. He repeats to her all her faults, confirms the negative things she thinks about herself, and condemns her desire to seek love, forgiveness, and hope in spite of her shortcomings.
Watching that scene unfold, I was struck by how eerily familiar that conversation was to me. However, instead of an imaginary adversary speaking cruel, harsh words over me, it is a real adversary that hates anything God deems “good.”
We live in a culture that demands that we conform to its definition of “normal.” When asked, none of us can really explain or come up with a good explanation of what “normal” looks like. So, we are left to figure it out for ourselves. I have discovered that this inconsistency is wreaking havoc on men and women alike.
When we turn to the world, instead of the Scriptures, for our understanding of peace, hope, love, and even a definition of self, we get caught up in believing whatever the world tells us is “true.”
But, I propose there is another, and dare I say, better way…
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
There is so much rich truth in these verses, but I was only focus on a few.
First, we need to “Rejoice.”
When Paul wrote this letter, he was sitting in a Roman prison. How can a man, given his current situation, urge us to rejoice? His answer is found just a few sentences down: “The Lord is at hand.” (Or, as one translation says, “The Lord is near.”)
Ladies, I so often forget the nearness of my God. If you are a follower of Christ, His Spirit actually lives within you (1 Cor. 3:16). Praise God that we cannot go anywhere that His presence isn’t constantly with us (Ps. 139:7-12). When life gets overwhelming, we have a Heavenly Father who has put His strength within us. When we get the news we’ve been dreading, we have a reason to HOPE. When our circumstances have sucked all the happiness out of life, we have His JOY coursing through our veins. And, it’s not this warm, fuzzy idea of joy. But, it’s a joy that comes from the realization that we serve a God who never leaves or forsakes us (Deut. 31:8).
When the enemy comes against you telling you that God has forgotten you, don’t believe it for one second. Instead, rejoice in the nearness of God’s presence…even if you don’t “feel” it at the moment. Rejoice in the blessings, big and small, that have been given to you. Rejoice in how far you’ve come and look with anticipation at where He wants to take you.
And, that leads me to the second truth…
Next, we need to put away anxiety.
Anxiety is a feeling I know well. There was a time in my life where fear and anxiety ruled me. I couldn’t experience the joy, peace, and hope that is given through Christ because I couldn’t get past my own version of reality. Satan was robbing me of what Jesus died to give me, and I didn’t know what to do about it or how to overcome it. I know everyone who struggles with anxiety has their own personal story. But, for me, my freedom from fear and anxiety came with a good dose of counseling and learning how to pray with thanksgiving.
To this day, anxiety is something the enemy uses to try to overwhelm me. But I have also learned that his accusations are nothing more than noise. Just like “The IT” that tormented Meg, the main character, with her own fears and past faults, Satan does the same to us. He tells us convincing lies: “You’re wasting your life. You aren’t skinny, smart, beautiful, etc. enough for your husband. No man will ever want to marry you. You are a terrible mother.” And, the accusations continue. But, listen my friend, NONE of these lies are true!
Instead, listen to what your beloved Heavenly Father says of you. He calls you His daughter, and an heir with Christ (Gal. 4:7). He made you in “His image,” for His purposes, and for His glory (Gen. 1:26-28). If He calls you to singleness, it’s not because you aren’t wanted; it’s because He has a greater/different plan for you (1 Cor. 7:32-35). And, if He asks you to do something unconventional with your life (like staying at home while your kiddos are young), then you can be sure that you aren’t wasting your life (Jer. 29:11-13).
If you struggle with anxiety, I encourage you to seek the godly help/counsel that you need. But, I also exhort you to begin replacing the lies of the enemy with the truth of God’s Word. Will it change your life? YES…it changed mine.
Finally, we need to change the way we think.
What we think and how we feel usually go hand-in-hand. It is almost impossible to be overcome with fear, anxiety, and an overall lack of peace when we are filling our minds with things that are “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise” (v. 8). Some of the darkest moments in my life have been when the enemy has attacked my mind. One of the last scenes of A Wrinkle in Time depicts a cruel attack by “The IT” on Meg’s thoughts. I could relate to Meg’s frustration and confusion when she saw what looked/felt a lot like reality. But, it was actually a mirage that was set on convincing her that she was the sum total of her faults and greatest fears.
Ever been there? I have! Everything is going well. I’m having a great day, thankful for my sweet husband and my three precious kiddos. Then, I see a friend of mine who has this amazing job, beautiful house, and status in the community. I rejoice with her in what God is doing in her life, walk away, and then the attacks begin: “You could be her, but you’re not. Why are you working so hard for children who are too little to even notice or care? What are you doing with your life? Is what you’re doing now really worth it?” I could go on, but I won’t…because they are all LIES. Sound familiar?
God gave us His Word in order to replace Satan’s mirage with His truth. He is the One who created us, redeemed us, and gave us our identity. He desires to help us see life from His perspective. There are no inconsistencies in God’s offer of hope, peace, love, and joy. God isn’t asking us to fit inside some box labeled “normal.” Instead, He’s calling us to a higher way of living. A way of living that replaces fear with peace, anxiety with thanksgiving, hate with love, lack of self-worth with worth from God, heartbreak with joy, and prisoner with redeemed.
My prayer is that we would be women who reach out, claim these truths for ourselves, and live in the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus as our Lord.