39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39
Part of what stinks so much about personal storms is that a lot of your junk gets kicked up and thrown in your face. The sin, the habits that keep me from being more like Christ get dislodged and swirl in the forefront of my mind. When I call on Jesus to calm the storm, I’m not just asking for my circumstances to change, the more I walk with God, I learn that in the midst of disappointment or pain, whatever washes up on the shores of my life is an opportunity to realize it’s me that needs to do the changing.
For the past few weeks, our family has been in a storm-tossed boat as one of us has had to deal with the sharp blow of betrayal. Like the scream in movies that breaks out storefronts. Hard to be a good little Christian when deep down you wrestle with vengeance. And, hard to believe there is any type of calm when your past keeps getting washed up in your face. This whole storm exists because of his past. Or so he thought. False narratives. I’ve seen him wrestle down an ancient lie he’s been fed since he was a kid, and it’s made me wiser in my prayer life, as well as introspective, asking God what lies have been tailor made to bring me down. If, one of the first truths we have in Genesis is that we are made in God’s image, then it seems that is what the enemy would use to disrupt us.
Truly, it is turning us against our very self. False narratives.
There are narratives floating in our minds, beyond the “I’m not good/beautiful/wealthy/strong enough” ideas. These are more insidious constructs of evil that have been pieced together using lies disguised as truths. They seem real because past and present fears, disappointments, failures, judgments, mistakes, traumas are woven together and end up looking a whole lot like reality. They become the tape that is played and the one we start to believe and act out of, making manifest in our lives. We believe that we don’t have what it takes to be successful or victorious because of all the awful things that have happened to us or the series of mistakes that we’ve made or the labels some godless person chose to stick on us. It takes root so deeply in our psyche and heart, that we operate out of it. It gains traction and becomes embedded in our identity.
And it is all false. Like a jammed up Picasso painting we believe is our true self portrait. But, telling someone to just quit listening to false narratives and start claiming the fact that they’re God’s child, created and set free is easier said than done. It’s like telling a depressed person to just quit being sad–not helpful, and most likely going to make it worse.
For some, breaking free of the false narrative means becoming a stranger. The lies have become the identity, and we don’t know who to be. We don’t know what the truth is. It also might alienate others from people in their lives who are used to relating to a predictable, less powerful version of our self.
My suggestion as I pray through this is to clearly identify your enemy.
This is a struggle not against flesh and blood. Ask God to reveal to you the lies that have been strung together, the false narrative that you have believed and to replace it with Truth–the Truth that says your past is redeemed, you are worth it, and in God, you have everything you need to live as a free person. I don’t believe in easy, one time answers to the real stuff of life that knocks us breathless. As I told a friend, I wake up most mornings and hand my junk over and ask God to so tear apart the lies of evil against me, that I won’t ever be convinced of their validity and so give them power to influence. The struggle may be real, but the lies are not. They are powerless. They crumble like dust at the name of Jesus.
If I’ve written anything at all that might make you think “this is me”, then I invite you to pray the prayer I wrote as our family walks through this storm, as God, out of His infinite and perfect love for me allowed my own false narrative to wash ashore.
Please disorganize the false narrative in my mind. Let the lies unravel and not make sense anymore. Let me have clear vision to see them for the self defeating pile of sewage that they are, and let me trust in Your power, in what You declare over me. Help me to be deaf to the false narratives that play and pop into view every time I attempt to trust You more or try to use my faith or think about the future with confidence. The chains are off. The false narratives are out of tune and are foreign to me. They are about somebody else who doesn’t exist anymore. In fact, they were never really about anyone to begin with, because they were lies. Smoke and mirrors. Abba, I declare victory over the falsehoods in my life in the mighty name of Jesus. By His stripes, I am cleansed and healed, in the physical and spiritual. Thank You for loving me with a perfect love.
In the name of Jesus,