Separating truth from a lie

My family is great at hosting people, and we loved it when we had visitors. We often hosted bible studies, football-watching parties, or out-of-town guests. One summer, a large family came to visit. All of the kids were playing in the kiddie pool and having a good old time. One of the visitors came out to watch us, and join in the water fight. As an adult male, he had the upper hand, and the water fight quickly escalated to a lot of splashing and a garden hose. At some point in this game, my “fun” line was crossed and I had had enough. I must have shouted stop several times, or somehow made it clear that this was no longer okay and the game was over. My memory of my actions is a little fuzzy, but I do remember what this man said to me. As he threw down the hose he maliciously said, “you’ve got a lot of baggage”. He then turned and walked away.

Somehow, with that one spoken phrase, I learned that my “No” was not acceptable. I learned that my “no” was invalid, wrong, and meant that I “had baggage”. He taught me that his wish was more important than mine, that my threshold of fun was too low, and that I just plain had issues. Because he was an adult, and was respected by my family (or so I thought), and I already have a more ‘serious’ and sensitive personality, his assessment of me became so engraved in my memory and my beliefs of myself, that I can recount it to you clearly, nearly fifteen years later. And that was just during a water fight!

I’m sure this wasn’t the only time I learned a lesson such as this, but it’s one that I remember. Today, I know that some lessons aren’t true. I eventually found out that there is nothing wrong with saying “no”, that my boundaries are valid and should be respected. I know that what he said was wrong, and he should have respected me enough to stop when I asked. I know that he had his own baggage, and chose to deal with that by assuming everyone else was the one with the problem. Still, telling myself these truths takes serious work. I’m telling you, I have to consistently preach truths to myself and have them confirmed by the people around me. I believed lies about myself for years and years, causing depression, relationship issues, and fear. Restoration takes work, people.

Mine is just one story in an ocean filled of stories like this. Stories of people who have been physically or emotionally abused by authority figures, multiple times. I would not be surprised if every single person reading this can think of at least one similar story, in your life or in that of someone close to you.

What’s it going to take to start telling yourself (or that other person) the truth of who we are? The truth that “no” is okay and appropriate. That standing up for the broken and the oppressed, including yourself, takes courage and strength.

Spend today hearing this: that God has already given each person the courage and strength to seek out and know truth.

What’s it going to take for us to embrace the truth of who we are?

I hope that today you’ll seek out truth which can destroy darkness. With that, will come freedom that you’ve been longing for.

When we bring truth into darkness, the darkness loses its power.

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  1. Thanks for sharing, and reminding us all that there is freedom in truth… Praying for you

  2. I agree that most people probably can recount something hurtful that has stuck with them though the story seems minor or insignificant. This points out so many things including the power of the tongue to bring life or death. I think negative comments thrown at us can really affect us depending on the soil it falls on (our personality, other current struggles and doubts, strength of positive relationships) so what seems small can be huge. Satan really uses words to ravage us from the inside and attempts to keep the truth of who we are from being believed.
    Thank God for putting people in our lives who can help us uphold truth and tell it to us when we forget or don't believe. I love that you include ourselves in the broken and oppressed who clearly God commands us to stand up for. Ultimately I think we have to be stripped down and look at the cross for us to embrace the truth of who we are: broken and healed, lost but found, unworthy and loved enough for a perfect man to die in our place.
    Thanks Kyla for sharing this!

    • kylajoyful

      Great thoughts, Bethany. Yes, the soil that grows us makes a difference. It's why there is no "formula" for love. The way I need to be loved is unique compared to the way you need to be loved. Your last sentence is beautiful, we are all of those things together. "Broken AND healed", "unworthy AND loved".

  3. I know exactly what you mean by that man "taught you" those things about yourself. I recall similar things in my life and still struggle to this day with not believing the lies. Even if I KNOW they're lies, I still let myself believe them sometimes. It IS work, that's for sure. I think it's great that you share these things. It's encouraging. 🙂

    • kylajoyful

      I'm glad you're encouraged. We have to put people in our lives who can keep reminding us the truth of who we are. Lies like to attach themselves to us and we need a community around us that speaks truth, so that the lies don't take root.

  4. Oswaldo

    Tienes toda la razon. Recuerdo muy bien una historia que conto mi pastor. Cuando el todavia no era cristiano, una vez lo rechazaron bien feo. Dice que el queria entrar a una fiesta, y de hecho, ya andaba algo borracho, pero cuando llego y quizo entrar, las personas en la entrada le dijeron que no podia entrar porque no estaba invitado, en ese momento, esas palabras, a pesar de que el andaba borracho y supuestamente "el borracho todo lo olvida" a el nunca se le olvido este rechazo y le afecto en su autoestima. Por supuesto, al venir a Cristo, esos sentimientos de inferioridad y de rechazo, desvanecieron y pues el ahora es pastor de un gran ministerio.

    Tambien a mi me ha pasado que algunas veces, algunas personas mayores o en autoridad, por tener ellos problemas de inferioridad o de autoestima, tratan de lastimarme o manipularme con este tipo de palabras, pero gracias a Jesus, y su gloriosa verdad, nunca pero nunca, han logrado su proposito. Yo prefiero creerle a Cristo, que a la gente con problemas o con baggage como tu decias : )

    Gracias por esta reflexion, que Dios te bendiga : )

    • kylajoyful

      Amigo, siempre me encantan tus reflexiones. Creo que todos tenemos historias asi. Es la manera en como respondemos a las situaciones que se puede definar nuestras vidas.

  5. Chanell

    I had to stop by and read! I just had this discussion the other day and it is amazing how we base our self-worth and our abilities on lies taught to us. It is a lot of work to undo the harmful paths created in our minds, but through God, all things are possible. I am making an effort every day to change my way of thinking and acknowledging to self that it is ok to be me! Thank you for sharing, and God is just wonderful. By HIM, we are wonderfully made! You are right, there is a feeling of freedom as I discover truth!

    • kylajoyful

      Beautiful. So glad you stopped by. Such a feeling of freedom as we discover that truth and give others the space to do the same.

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