I started writing this post in January, when a book I had recently read and a podcast I had listened to had stirred up two big questions that I journaled and started thinking a lot about. It's been a few months, and I still find myself returning to these questions weekly, if not daily. It felt like time to actually write about them, and share how they've helped me walk back from the ledge and thoughtfully engage my doubts, fears, concerns, and circumstances.
Here are two questions I've been asking myself a lot lately:
Who told you that?
Inspired by: Episode 33 of the Journeywomen podcast with Ashlee Gadd (at around 29:00)
I had never thought about Genesis 3 like this before, never stopped to really think about this question that God asks Adam: "Who told you that?" Adam has just sinned with Eve, and he's been hiding behind trees in the garden, avoiding God at all costs. But God calls out to him, and Adam is forced to confront the reality of what he's done. He's been hiding in sin and shame, and he admits his nakedness to God. God doesn't respond in condemnation, but just asks a gentle question: "Who told you that?"
Who told you that you were naked? Who whispered lies to you? What voice spoke to you and told you that choice would be a good one?
It's a question that means we have to intentionally reflect on our actions. We have to be honest about what we've done, what we've chosen, how we've sinned.
It's a question that encourages us to be vulnerable, to be real with God.
Who told you that?
Shame? Fear? Insecurity? Culture? Your mom? Someone on Instagram? A magazine? Your boss? Your inner critic?
When we answer this question honestly, we are facing the lies head on. We aren't letting them continue to have power over us, we aren't staying hidden from them out of fear, we aren't trying to run from what we've done. We're bringing the lies into the light, and we're choosing to speak truth in their place instead.
The lies get loud, I know. But we can speak them, and we can fight back against them. We have truth, and it is powerful. When we bring our lies to the light, we invite God to help us push back the darkness and we find freedom from the sin and shame that had been keeping us in hiding.
So, I'm asking myself when lies arise in my mind and my heart: "Who told you that?" And then, "But what does God say? What is true?"
Who told you you're fat? Magazines, celebrities, Instagram ads, culture... But what does God say? You are altogether beautiful and beloved.
Who told you you're alone? A voice of fear, straight from Satan. But what does God say? He is Immanuel, God with me. I am never alone.
Who told you you're a failure? Shame. But what does God say? I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Inspired by: Fierce Faith by Alli Worthington
I'm prone to pessimism. (I like to call it being realistic, but it's not usually that hopeful and honest.) I'm prone to over-dramatizing little things and blowing it all out of proportion. I'm prone to freaking out, prone to anxiety, prone to panic attacks and bouts of depression.
I'm really good at spiraling.
This question helps me rein that in, though. Asking "So what?" helps me think through circumstances and situations clearly and with a level head.
So what if _____ happens? And so what if _____ then happens?
Play it out. Go ahead! Play out all the things you think are the worst case scenario. Play out the fears, the doubts, the worries, the concerns, the questions.
Most likely, you'll survive and be just fine. Most likely, even if _____ happens, you will be totally okay.
It seems silly and even callous at first, but it's been a really helpful and meaningful question to keep asking myself, especially when I feel the spiral start. It humbles me. It reminds me I often think a whole lot more highly of myself than I ought, and reassures me God is a whole lot bigger than I tend to give him credit for.
All of the _____ I'm so worried about? It's not that big of a deal in the scheme of things. It's not going to wreck me. It might be hard, but it's not the end of the world. I will be okay. I have done hard things before, I have been through scary things, I have walked through darkness, and every single time, God is good and I am okay.
So, so what?