A couple weekends ago, the world watched Birdman win the best picture award at the Oscars. The movie is about a blockbuster movie actor, named Riggan, looking to revive his career on Broadway. Birdman was a character he played in the movies, where he gained fame and riches. Birdman was also the voice in his mind that taunted him with doubts while he searched for significance on Broadway.
Emma Stone plays Michael Keaton’s daughter. She punches our guts as she names the lies he had been struggling with all along, “You’re doing this because you’re scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don’t matter and, you know what, you’re right. You don’t! It’s not important, okay? You’re not important! Get used to it.”
Gah! If that’s not gonna make you wince I don’t know what will. The movie Birdman hit on a universal truth that many of us are searching for significance. For us single people though, the lies can dig even further into our psyches.
Last week I wrote about our own Voice. This week let’s talk about the Voice of Lies. I’m gonna say it right now, I hate this Voice. I hate this Voice because I have fallen for it many times. I have hooked my whole sense of self around this voice. It can start innocently and subtly, “If you get rid of that belly you’d be happier.” I was 110 pounds in high school thinking that my life would be better at 100. Lies.
As I got older the lies continued. “Your friends are all getting married. There must be something wrong with you.” “You’re the kind of person guys like to be friends with, but that’s about it.” “No guy (that you’d be interested in), will ever commit to you.” “You are not attractive.” “You are not lovable.” “Love is a myth.”
And then the Voice of Lies starts to convince us to settle for the “Right Now” or “Good Enough” guy. The Lies tell us: “This guy doesn’t have the same faith as I was hoping to share, but he’s open to it.” “I don’t see myself getting married to him, but I need intimacy/sex or I’ll implode.” “He calls only when he wants something, but it’s better than not being needed at all.” “He’s not perfect and we fight a lot and he doesn’t always treat me well, but who’s perfect?” “He needs help and I can fix him.” The Voice of Lies can be so powerful a person will even take abuse.
I hate this Voice. This, my friends. is the Voice of the Enemy. It is the voice of Satan. This Voice is sly and powerful, but it can also be handled. How? First we must be able to pick it out of a line up. When a thought comes in we need to be able to differentiate between the voices. Why? Because otherwise we’ll believe all of them and only one of these voices is 100% right 100% of the time.
Once we are able to tell who the author of the thought is, we can hold and keep it or trash it. When we hold it and keep it, it becomes a part of us. It becomes our world view. It becomes our self view. When we trash it, the thought has no power over us. It has no place in our life.
How to trash a lie: confession. For those of us in most Protestant traditions we are missing out on one of the greatest tools in our faith, confession. Confession allows us to identify the lie and then release it so that it no longer has a hold on us. Confession is our way of putting a spot light on the things hiding in the darkness of our thoughts and saying, “Hey, I see you and you need to go.”
The first time I prayed with a group of trusted people I confessed that I did not think anyone would want to marry me. I confessed how I saw myself, which was not positive. After the prayer my friend said, “When you prayed, I felt something actually leave you.” I believe her. Something did leave me that day. My confessions left a void where the lies resided and my friends prayed into me truth from the scriptures. They replaced lies for the truth of God. They told me that I am beloved. They told me that I am valuable. They told me that Jesus loves me.
Confession is a powerful tool in dealing with the lies. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a firm believer that being in true community meant that we confess to God before another person. He said in Life Together:
So long as Christians are in such a community of confession of sins to one another, they are no longer alone anywhere…Confession in the presence of another believer is the most profound kind of humiliation. It hurts, makes one feel small; it deals a terrible blow to one’s pride…By confessing actual sins the old self dies a painful, humiliating death before the eyes of another Christian. Because this humiliation is so difficult, we keep thinking we can avoid confessing to one another…It is none other than Jesus Christ who openly suffered the shameful death of a sinner in our place, who was not ashamed to be crucified for us as an evildoer. And it is nothing else but our community with Jesus Christ that leads us to the disgraceful dying that comes in confession, so that we may truly share in this cross. The cross of Jesus Christ shatters all pride…In confession there occurs a breakthrough to new life. The break with the past is made when sin is hated, confessed, and forgiven. “Everything has become new” (2 Cor 5:17). Christ has made a new beginning with us.
The lies that we live with will reek havoc in a relationship. The lies can build strongholds of insecurity that your future spouse cannot break. To prepare for marriage and more importantly our relationship with Jesus, we must confess the lies we have been holding, receive Christ’s forgiveness and then repent so as not to take ownership of that lie again. Repentance is turning back to Jesus and allowing him to replace the lies with the truth of who we really are. Who better to tell us who we are than the One who designed and created us from the very beginning?
Exercise: Find someone you trust to pray with and confess. Dig deeper than checking off the 10 Commandments. What voices have you been listening to? Confess what is not God’s voice. Then have the trusted friend read and pray scripture over you to replace the lies with Truth.
Some Truths about who we are in Christ: John 1:12,13, John 15:12-17, 1Corinthians 6:19,20, 1 Corinthians 12:27, Colossians 1:13, 24