For the adult healing from childhood trauma, truth can be a hard sell. And often that's simply because the lies and truth have intermingled for so long that truth seems muddy and uncertain.
For far too long, I believed awful things about myself and those around me. I felt like I didn't belong and wasn't wanted. I believed I was unlovable. My performance operated out of fear of being left and of being rejected. And to be honest, I'm still battling some of that residue.
If not healed, adverse childhood experiences bleed through adulthood in the areas of faith, worldview, self-perception, and thinking. And the negative effects of childhood trauma don’t simply heal with age and time.
Maybe, like me, one of your parents decided marriage and child-rearing weren’t for them. Through no fault of your own, another person’s decision left a wake of uncertainty and broke your trust.
Maybe both your parents abandoned you.
Maybe you were abused. Assaulted. Bullied. Harassed.
Maybe you were sexually violated.
Maybe you were overpowered and manipulated.
Maybe death brought pain, uncertainty, and bitterness to your family.
Maybe you were in and out of doctor’s offices and hospitals, getting poked, prodded, and tested over and over in search of answers.
Maybe you were raised in a myriad of unhealthy environments or family sin cycles.
Maybe it was something else.
Maybe it was a gut-punch combination.
Those kinds of life-experiences are hard. And if you haven’t heard it before, it wasn’t your fault. People make bad choices, not considering the weight and effect of their sin on others. It’s not a surprise that people who experience childhood trauma have troubling believing truth.
My perception of the truth felt right. It felt TRUE. but it was sourced in the wrong place. It was sourced in my emotions and circumstances...not in my Creator. I've come to trust that my God isn't a God of chaos, nor does He play mindgames with me.
But my enemy loves chaos and mindgames. In fact, just before being told to put on the belt of truth, we're told this about battles: "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." The scriptures are clear as to who we're fighting against.
And in order to know what is true, we have to know what is fake.
Anything contrary to God's word is fake, and is the opposite of what I should have around my waist. The belt holds the other parts of the armor together, and it also holds the sword.
Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on Ephesians 6, says this: "Once a lie gets into the life of a believer, everything begins to fall apart."
Since the belt of truth holds together the rest of the armor, it's understandable why everything starts to fall apart when a lie enters a believer's life. Lies muddy the waters. Lies masquerade as truth. Lies seduce. Lies are counter to the Way.
But how do you know where lies begin and end? How do you know Truth when for so long you've lived believing the lies?
A good trick I have learned is that anytime a thought or statement includes all or none, that's a good hint that it's a lie masquerading as truth...that's even a trick of the trade for taking multiple choice tests.
For example: "No one understands"; "He/she always says or does __________"; "Nothing ever goes my way"; "All my co-workers are out to get me"; "My voice is never heard"; "I ALWAYS do that...I'm so stupid"
Lies masquerading as truth can also come in the form of Christian cliches. And these are tricky. Because the people who say them mean well, and are often church-goers. A prime example is "God won't give you more than you can handle." Several years ago, I finally realized that saying isn't biblical. Believing that lie did bad things to my faith, and it was so freeing for me to realize it's NOT in the Bible. (Read more about it HERE)
Other lies contradict what the Bible says about God. One that I REALLY struggled with was "God can't be trusted" when the Bible clearly says He can! It has taken a lot of confession, practice and grace for me to stand firm in this area. Admittedly, sometimes I still fall into the trap.
When I do, it always is best for me to confess right away and ask God to forgive my unbelief. He does every time...and He cheers me on as I take another step in the right direction...into TRUTH.
The more I learn about God and who HE says he is, the easier it is for me to put that lie in its place. And it can be so for you as well, dearest child of God!
Take some time today to ask God where you are believing lies. Take time to confess inadvertently believing and acting on lies. Ask God to break the hold they have. Ask God to fill those places in you. Ask for more of HIM.
May we all learn to recognize the Truth, so it is easier to spot the lies!
This is part of a series called deep to DEEP, a write 31 days challenge. For more posts in this series, click the image below: