I’ve been thinking about the lies we tell ourselves. It’s a big topic, and I’ll just skim the surface here. I know my brain has been lying to me a lot recently. All the “I’m not enough” thoughts have been on full volume for the last few days, but in addition to the unsolicited “voices in my mind that say I’m not enough.” (You Say by Lauren Daigle) we tell ourselves lies without even realizing it.
When a spouse leaves the church, my clients tend to wonder why do I have to change? Do I really need to do all the things I do to “keep the peace”? Is it better to stay and feel like I’m being drawn away from the gospel, or would I be happier if I left? He’s the one who changed up the whole marriage and expects me to follow along. What is this doing to my spirituality and our children?
You probably resonate with some, if not all, of this line of thinking. I know I did. Then I started to dissect this and look at each thought individually. All the questions are thoughts in hiding. Here’s how I took it apart and looked at each thought on its own.
I have to change because he left the church.
I do so many things to keep the peace.
I am being drawn away from the gospel.
I might be happier if I left.
He changed everything.
I have to follow along with his changes to stay married
This is damaging my Spirit
This is hurting our children.
Those, to me, seem to be the underlying thoughts and assumptions behind that line of thinking. And you may think you are just reporting the facts. That’s just how it is…but is it?
What if you questioned every one of those beliefs – after all, none of them are facts. Facts are the actual circumstances that are observable without all our thoughts around them.
The facts might be something like:
My husband doesn’t attend church with me on Sundays.
My husband told me he doesn’t believe in the gospel
My husband furrows his brow and walks away when I talk about scripture study.
All the thoughts and assumptions based on the facts are ours to own.
Do I have to change because he left the church? Is that true? What if I didn’t change at all? What would happen? Do I have to do the things I do to “keep the peace”? What does it mean to “keep the peace”? Whose peace? What peace? What do I think I am doing to “keep the peace”? Is it working? Is it my job to “keep the peace”? What if I gave up the story that I have to change to “keep the peace”? What would my life look like then? Am I being drawn away from the gospel? How so? Whose choice is it for me to be drawn to or away from the gospel? What does it mean to be drawn away from the gospel? What if I’m being drawn to the gospel?
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Just question the things you are telling yourself. I don’t have your answers, but I think it’s worth examining your thoughts. To me, it’s also worth it to see that I’m always in choice.
Maybe you do “have” to change to keep the peace, but it’s not really because you “have” to. It’s because you choose to. You want, at this point, to stay married and to try to bring a certain level of peace into your home and family situation. Once you realize it is a choice, you can let go of the resentment surrounding the idea that you “have to” do a certain thing. When you are at choice, you can also change your mind. Maybe at some point, it won’t be worth it to “keep the peace.” Perhaps there are certain things that you won’t change even if they would “keep the peace.”
I challenge you (and me) to examine what we are thinking. So often, we believe our own thoughts without checking to see if they are true or not. Question yourself so you can come to know that you chose – rather than being forced into – the story that you tell yourself.
I hope that helps you this week as you look at your thoughts and that maybe the voices in your head will quiet down just a bit.