Unlearning the Learned

Unlearning the Learned

As a part-time college student, learning is part of my daily activities. But what happens when something that you have learned is not only wrong, but a lie meant to destroy? John 10:10 says that the thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. This is where I have found myself over and over and over again - married to a bunch of lies.
  • I have believed lies that I didn’t even know were lies.
  • I have believed lies taught to me by well-meaning people – people who legitimately loved me and thought they were helping me.
  • I have believed lies I had acquired through my life experiences.

I was taught that the only way to overcome the things I was struggling with was to press on.  In Phil. 3:13, Paul says that he focuses on “one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” This scripture was fed to me repeatedly in the past to communicate that we shouldn’t focus on the past. True, dwelling on the past does not move us forward in our walk with Jesus. But what happens when the unhealed brokenness in your life originates in the lies of the past that you have built your life upon? Doesn’t that make your whole life a lie? 1Cor.  15:2, Paul tells us that, “It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you – unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.”

Envision, if you will, your life from birth to death as a timeline on a piece of paper. You had a definitive start, and you have a definitive end – your life is the straight line between those points, built upon the truth of God’s Words while following His path for your life. But, for illustration’s sake, consider if that line deviated 1/8” south for each lie of the enemy that you learned and believed to be true. How far from God’s best path for your life would you have travelled?

I came to know Jesus in 2002. I am the first Christian in my family. I had a lot of growing to do (and I still have a long way to go!). Growing is painful. To tell you of all the things I have overcome would take months, but today I will focus on one specific lie of the enemy.

I had a friend in 1992 tell me of the way he dealt with pain in his life. He had a particularly difficult home life and he really struggled. It was an unhealthy coping mechanism that he shared with me. I knew it was an unhealthy coping mechanism. But I considered it, and I didn’t reject it as a possibility for dealing with pain. I considered a lie of the enemy. I didn’t act on it, but I stored it. I learned about it in that moment, and I didn’t even realize it.

Fast forward to the end of May 2000. I was in a rocky marriage with two children under the age of 5. One day, my husband (now ex-husband) came home and told me he wanted a divorce and wanted me and the kids to be out by Friday (that was 3 days away). To lose everything in a matter of days was pain like I had never known before. I didn’t know what to do or how to cope. But guess what unhealthy coping mechanism I had stored in my memory?

I was fortunate that I came to know the Lord not long after this time. I made a lot of bad choices while walking through the pain of my divorce.  God was walking with me through it though. He miraculously rescued me from two potential predators who had bad intentions for me in late 2000 and early 2001. He opened some crazy doors to put me in a job, working an overnight shift by myself so that I could hear a radio program that told me how to accept Jesus as my Savior in late January 2002. For these and many other works of the Lord, I am grateful.

But what about those lies? That unhealthy coping mechanism… I stopped doing it. But I still carried that lie around with me. That addiction… I didn’t act on it anymore, but I replaced it with others. See, my life was still built on a partial lie. God wants us to renew our minds (Eph. 4:23) and live in His truth. For me to press on in this condition (as was taught to me by a well-meaning pastor) meant I was still in bondage to the lies from my past. Ps. 119:29 says, “Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.”

Combatting the lies I believed has been a decades old battle. The lie we have discussed here required several years of Celebrate Recovery to overcome the addictions I chose. You heard me correctly, “I chose.” I chose to consider that lie. I chose to act on it. I spent years afterward poring over the scriptures to meditate on and soak in God’s truth to renew my mind and to stop believing the lies of the enemy. It has been a very long battle. But when we press on with healthy behaviors, such as studying God’s Word, Paul tells us in 2Cor. 3:17, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

I am the person we talked about at the beginning of this story. My life deviated so far south of God’s path for my life that I was no longer even on the same page as my starting point. Thankfully, Jesus knows all about us and He knows what it takes to bring us to Himself. He knows what is required to heal us. He provides all that we need to walk in victory over the lies of the enemy.

My healing has been a journey. I have spent years in therapy with a Christian counselor, been through several very spiritually damaging church experiences, been through emotionally damaging relationships, battled addiction, and been delivered from some very evil things in my life.  Jesus is redeeming us moment by moment from the lies of the enemy and He has provided the way. He says He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and for that I am eternally grateful. Finally, Paul states that, “Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.” When we build our lives on Jesus, the Cornerstone, He strips us down and brings us back to the simplicity of His truth. That timeline illustration?  It may have looked like I was on a completely different page than where I was supposed to be, but I am familiar with a small group wandering through the wilderness for 40 years. Eventually, they got to the Promised Land, and so will we if we just continue to follow Jesus.

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