The scariest movie that I can remember from my childhood was the 1979 thriller, When a Stranger Calls. It wasn’t the storyline that made the movie so memorable since it followed the classic pattern of a girl stalked by some crazy killer. Nothing new there. What haunted me about this flick was the closing line.
Before we go any further, I need to point out that cell phones did not exist in 1979. We had something called home phones, known today as landlines. If you were lucky you had the modern push button feature, but us average folks had to endure the rotary (dial up) phone, aka slow as sludge.
Back to the story.
In the final scene of the movie, our heroine, the girl being stalked, is babysitting for a young family, at night, of course. The killer somehow finds her at their house and calls her on their home phone repeatedly, asking in a very creepy voice, “Have you checked the children? ” I gotta tell you, as a 13-year-old babysitter at that time, this was my worst nightmare. It’s freaking me out a little just thinking about it.
Our girl calls the police. They don’t do much. The killer keeps calling. The police still don’t do anything. Finally, the police trace the call.
“Maam, this is Seargent Sacker. We’ve traced the call.
It’s coming from inside the house.
Get out of there.”
Is anything more terrifying than danger that’s coming from inside the house?
In our last blog we looked at The Truthful Part of an Authentic Life and the temptation we face to impress others rather than simply be our real selves. I pointed out that this type of behavior is most likely to occur in the area of our personal insecurities. Places where we worry and say things like,
I’m too much.
I’m not enough.
I’m not important.
These are the phrases that drive us choose pretense (an attempt to make something that is not real appear to be true) over authenticity. But in this case, what is most untrue, even more than our attempts to be seen in certain ways, are the statements listed above. This is the unceasing negative chatter of our limiting beliefs.
Please don’t let your familiarity with these phrases lull you into a fall sense of security. Each one is highly dangerous with the power to restrict your potential and thwart your purpose. These beliefs are enemies of your nobility, disguising themselves as statements of humility, when really what they are is this: LIES.
The scariest part of all is that these lies are coming from inside your head.
WHAT IS A LIMITING BELIEF?
Beliefs are deeply ingrained thoughts and assumptions that we made about ourselves and the world around us during childhood. Often our beliefs are misinterpretations of past events that we’ve translated into generalizations that are not factual, although we view them as absolute truths.
The beliefs we carry around in our heads started with a single experience, like when you failed a 3rd grade math quiz. What happened next was crucial because it’s never what happened to you, but what you came to believe in the process. Your teacher grades the tests and hands yours back to you: 4 out of 10. Bad news. In that one moment you made a decision, although you probably weren’t aware of it.
I’m stupid. I’m not as smart as other kids. I’m bad at math.
This one decision (and all the others like it) started laying the foundation of your self-concept and the labels and limitations you put on yourself. “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV) The expectations you have of yourself today are all built upon the culmination of these beliefs, most of which are not even true.
WHO’S VOICE IS THIS ANYWAY?
One of the reasons that these lies have been allowed to remain inside our heads is that we mistake the voice of our inner critic for the voice of God. We think these nasty statements are actually convicting truths, meant to whip us in shape and keep us in line.
Never forget this. Satan “is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). He “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) and tries to make us think these beliefs are good for us, when nothing could be further from the truth.
This chart, adapted from Kathy Escobar’s book, Come with Me, is a great tool you can use to distinguish the voice of God from the voice of our inner critic, the part of our conscience that has been lied to and therefore recites these lies.
|Voice of God||Voice of Inner Critic|
|Tone of Voice : gentle and humble, loving, imploring, beseeching, urging our return to Him.||Tone of Voice : accusing, nagging, mocking voice generating fear, causing confusion and a sense of rejection.|
|Specific : tells you to take one specific action in response to sin. Freedom follows.||Vague and General : generates a blanketing sense of guilt that striving seeks to relieve. Creates a sense of hopelessness and weakness.|
|Encourages you : says you can rely on His power through the yoke, not your strength.||Discourages you : attacks your self-image, tells you that you are not enough and not as you should be.|
|Releases you from the past : tells you that your sin and stain is forgiven, removed, never to be held against you.||Throws your past in your face : replays your sin and shame, reminds you of all your poor choices and bad decisions.|
|Attracts you to Him : generates an expectancy of kindness, love, forgiveness, and help for all your problems.||Rejects you : produces a feeling that God has rejected you as unworthy and unholy and expects you to strive to get back into His favor.|
|Draws you into Fellowship : Encourages conversation with you in the midst of your struggles and burdens and encourages yoking to Him.||Isolates you : shames you to withdraw from others and to assume they will reject you.|
|Tells the Truth : states the facts about you and God.||Lies to You : twists truth about you and God.|
|Gives Rest : Yokes with you so that your burdens are light.||Steals Rest : Drives you to strive harder to find your own rest.|
It’s time to clean house and remove the threats that linger inside.
Start by becoming aware of your limiting beliefs, the things you say to yourself that aren’t universal truths. They often include the word “too” such as “you’re too loud, too quiet, too picky, too intense” or “should” in “you should be more loving, you should be further along by now, you shouldn’t be angry.” Pull these lies out of the shadows and let the light of God’s truth shine on them.
In the next blog, I will show you a 6 step process for turning these debilitating lies into empowering beliefs.