| Article by: Theresa Boedeker |
For years I tried to appear like Mary Poppins. “Practically perfect in every way.”
Which was impossible, as humans are far from perfect.
But still, I tried.
Early in life, I thought that if I were perfect than people would not get mad at me. Nor would I make mistakes. I wouldn’t disappoint others, or myself. And best of all, God and others would love me.
Where did I pick up this belief that shaped my life and actions for so many years?
I am not sure.
Somehow, I reasoned that perfect people were more lovable.
And their lives were easier.
My desire to be perfect was strengthened by my mother’s conditional love, my legalistic church home, and my good-girl inclinations.
I thought that if I was practically perfect, people who mattered would love me.
And ultimately that God would love me.I thought that if I was practically perfect, I could earn God's love. Maybe you can relate?
Why do our beliefs matter?
A belief is something that we consider consciously or unconsciously as truth for us.
I don’t remember ever saying out loud that I needed to be perfect to be loved, rather, I built this belief-system brick by brick in my mind.
This belief and self-truth affected my attitudes, choices, behavior, expectations of myself, and my goals.
So why is this bad?
On the outside, I was doing all the right things.
But on the inside, my motivations and reasons for doing what I was doing were wrong.
If our beliefs are not based on truth and reality, then our belief will be built on sinking sand and falsehoods.If our beliefs are not based on God's truth, then they are built on sinking sand and falsehoods.
God wants our lives built on His truth (Jn 8:32). Not our self-designed truth.
God wants us to become more like Him (Eph 5:1-2). Not more like what we think we should become.
God wants us to take captive our thoughts and examine them in the truth of His Word (2 Cor 10:5). Not reinforce our own ideas and beliefs.
Because our beliefs determine our perspective, they impact how we react to criticism, respond to a crisis, and navigate daily life.
Beliefs also reinforce the stories we tell ourselves and others. And to prove we are right; we look for and search for proof to support our beliefs.
We do this all the time, in all sorts of ways.
If we believe that we are a failure, we will confirm this truth by noticing all the bad things we do, while overlooking the good things we do.
If we think a “good” mother reads a bedtime story to her children, we feel guilty when we don’t. And when our child has a difficult week on the same week we failed to read them bedtime stories, we correlate the two and determine they are having a bad week because we failed as a mother.
Lack of bedtime story equals our child having a bad week and us being a bad mother.When was the last time you took a personal inventory of your self-talk and the dramatic impact it has on your daily life?
This may seem silly, but we unconsciously do this.
ALL. THE. TIME.
Take time to consider your self-talk, and the dramatic impact it has on your daily life.
It may shock you to recognize how negative your internal dialogue can be.
We Get to Choose What We Believe
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31-32 NIV
The choice is ours!
We can change our beliefs to line up with God’s Word, or we can keep cultivating our false-belief systems.
Changing what we believe is challenging because it involves actively replacing a thought pattern that has been repeated for years (or possibly decades).
But with some time, focus, reinforcement, practice, and the help of the Holy Spirit, we can reform our beliefs to reflect and align with God’s truths.With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can reform our beliefs to reflect and align with God's truth.
That is the goal of the Christian life. To conform our thoughts to God’s thoughts.
Just ask yourself WWJT? What would Jesus think?
The simplest way to change our beliefs is to change our core beliefs—our biggest beliefs.
Transforming a big belief will topple lots of little beliefs.
Let’s look at my belief of me thinking I needed to be perfect. That I could earn God’s love and the love of others.
First, I need to know what God thinks on this subject.
- He loves us unconditionally.
- He delights in us.
- We can not earn His love.
God loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us before we were even born. No matter what we do, we cannot be separated from His love.
See this. It is so exciting!
When I replace my self-truth (I need to earn God’s love) with His truth (I cannot earn His love; He loves me unconditionally), I topple my false-belief system.
My belief is now transformed as I learn to build my life on the solid rock of God’s Word.My self-talk is transformed as I learn to build my life on the solid rock of God’s Word.
How to Replace Your Truth with God’s Truth
“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:5ESV
First, we need to be reading God’s Word. Meditating on it. Listening to the Holy Spirit. And praying for God to reveal His truths to us. We can not spot our wrong beliefs unless we know God’s truths.
Second. We need to examine our beliefs and learn what we believe and what motivates our behavior and actions.We need to examine our beliefs and learn what we believe and what motivates our behavior and actions.
Third. We need to take our thoughts captive. Examine them and see if they line up with God’s truths.
Fourth. We need to replace the faulty truths we hold.
Fifth. We need to remind ourselves of God’s truth over and over again.
When we catch ourselves thinking a false truth, we need to remind ourselves of God’s truth.
This task needs to be repeated day-after-day until we have adopted His truth, know His truth, and have replaced the world’s lies with His truth.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV
There are so many ways to invite truth into our everyday lives. I want to close this article by sharing just a few of my favorite ways to fill my life with God’s truth:
- Memorizing Scripture verses that reinforce key truths I am trying to incorporate into my life.
- Singing songs that remind me of God’s promises and His truth.
- Praying God’s Word and asking God to knit His truth into my being.
- Meditating on Scripture verses that reflect the kind of person I want to be.
As we commit to this process of renewal, the world’s truth will be replaced with God’s truth and our thoughts will be built on solid ground.
What a day of victory that will be for you and me!
Theresa Boedeker has learned striving for perfection steals the joy from life. She now enjoys life, which includes laughing at herself and her mistakes. She enjoys people, flowers, being outside, and doing creative things. She encourages others to remember what’s important at TheresaBoedeker.com where she’s Unwrapping Life with Words. You can also find Theresa on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.