My friend Jon calls it “the lie in the middle of the night.” By “it,” I mean that nagging voice that keeps you awake, that worry that has you believing you are failing so why even try, those anxious thoughts that convince you that all your worst fears are soon to be your reality. And they come at about 2 a.m. when it feels like the rest of the world is sleeping like babies while you are up pacing in your own head over your deadlines, your deep regrets, your ugly mistakes, your unaccomplished goals and your to-do lists that aren’t getting done.
Maybe insomnia doesn’t plague you, but it often plagues me. It might be too much coffee or my bladder that was built for the size of a chipmunk that wakes me up, but that certainly isn’t what keeps me up. What keeps me up in the middle of the night these days is what feels like truths, only to wake up the next day to find they are big fat lies.
Almost every night that I lie awake worried about the “what if’s”, I wake up exhausted the next day realizing that most of my concerns the night before were about things that are not even current realities. I spend time fretting over what could happen, what might happen and what I hope never happens. The lie in the middle of the night tells me “It will all happen. You will be alone. You will fail. You have no idea what you are doing. Everyone is going to laugh. Your children will suffer. And you will lose your hair where you want it, and become hairy where you don’t.”
It is so strange how our minds work. It is crazy to me that we can get in our own heads and convince ourselves of things that are not even true. I know I am not the only one, because some of you share with me that you do the same thing We can literally convince ourselves things like:
I am going to have no friends.
I am going to be single forever.
I always fail so I will fail at this.
I am a fraud.
I will get hurt.
I won’t be enough.
I don’t have what it takes.
They will betray me.
They are talking behind my back.
They will leave.
They are using me.
They don’t mean what they say.
This won’t last.
This is too good to be true.
This is a pipe dream.
This rug is going to get pulled out from under me.
He could care less.
He’s too busy.
He has given me enough chances.
He likes people not like me.
He wants me to learn my lesson.
We often have voices that speak lies to us. And that is what the statements above are, lies. Some of us have these voices because of wounds that are still wounding us with their destructive words. Our wounds are speaking to us and inviting us to believe that we will indeed be wounded again because we have been wounded before.
Some of us are allowing the voice of our past to determine our present.That voice is trying to keep us stuck instead of believing God truly is doing a new thing in our lives.
Some of us have negative self talk that serves as our worst enemy, trying to keep us from living into who we are made to be by believing we are the same ol’ failure, the same ol’ mess up, the same ol’ addict, the same ol’ this and that.
Some of us have the voice of a spirit that keeps us drowning in melancholy thoughts, negativity, a “poor me” mentality, and worry-wart land. These voices try to keep us living defeated so we don’t live victoriously.
Some of us allow the voice of “the enemy” to fabricate stories that have us convinced they are true. The Bible says there is an enemy prowling around, waiting to devour some of us like a lion. (1 Peter 5:8) And some of us are listening to the enemy’s voice.
All these voices lie.
They distort. They are the best fiction authors. They misrepresent. They are dishonest. They deceive. They forge. They slander. They defame. They falsify. And most of all, they are telling you a whopper of a lie about yourself, others, and God.
After a night of believing lies, in the morning, I see the irrational geography my mind travels to in the middle of the night. But straight up, I believe every last one of those lies as if they are truth when I am tired and I allow my mind to take a trip to Anxiousville. I promise you, as I now promise myself, that any anxious thought you have when other people are sleeping is most likely irrational, hypothetical and false.
So what do we do with the lie in the middle of the night, or in the day, for that matter?
We speak to all lies, truth.
Whenever you find yourself pacing the halls of your own head, fretting, worried and realizing you are believing lies, what if’s, hypotheticals, and your worst fears, as though they were true, speak to them truth. There are so many truths God gives us to clench onto in Scripture. First we need to read it, then we need to claim it. Here are some basic truths that we can claim when we need to left hook the lie in the middle of the night.
God made me.
God is your Creator. He dreamed you up. He shaped you. He made you uniquely you. Psalm 139 says that God “knit you together in your mother’s womb”, you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and God “ordained the days of your life before one of the came to be.”
So you can tell that voice that is making you feel insignificant, like a mistake or a big fat failure:
“You know what, you lie bag,
God made me
God doesn’t make mistakes.
I am wonderfully made.
I am God’s art, His creation.
There’s nothing God made that He can’t remake, transform or renew.
God is my Maker, my Potter, and my Creator.
God knew what He was doing when He made me and He knows what He is doing now.”
No lie cannot remove that truth. So go ahead, you tell that lie, what’s up.
God loves me.
Over and over again, the Bible tells a narrative of a God who loves us, a God who would do anything for us, even give up His very self. When that lie has you convinced that you are unloveable, you deserve to be alone, and you will end up not chosen, you can look that myth straight square in the eyes and give it an uppercut demanding what you know is true:
“God loves me.” Pure and simple. Straight and forward. Honest and true.
You can sit up at 3:15 a. flippin’ m. thinking about all the reasons you are unloveable. You can think about your quirks, your mistakes, your baggage, your skeletons, your shady past, your awkwardness, your track record, all of it. But none of that is going to make God love you any less. In fact, Romans 8:38-39 begs us to get this by saying: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing is going to separate you from God’s love.
Not cancer, not imprisonment, not backsliding, not darkness, not alcoholism, not self-hatred, not bankruptcy, not the guy who just dumped you and his dumb opinions.
You are loved.
You will be loved.
And nothing is going to change that.
If you get anything from reading the Bible in its entirety, its message is quite simply, God loves you. And He will do absolutely anything to convince you of that truth, even if it means giving up His very life. So you can tell that lie to take a big fat hike because too much was laid on the line, or should I say the cross, to prove its fraudulence.
God has a plan for my life.
If God made you and God loves you, certainly God has a plan for your life. He is not pacing the halls of the heavenly places worried that there are no options for you. He isn’t trying to come up with your back up plan because He is surprised by your current circumstance. God isn’t biting His fingernails fretting over how He is going to help you get out of this mess.
The lie in the middle of the night likes to make you feel like the whole thing is going to come unraveled, like everything you worked for is going to get pulled out from under you. The lying voice likes to make you feel lost and confused, desperate and afraid. But not the voice of God. Jesus says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
You can tell when a liar is keeping you up all night because that voice, if listened to, would trip your life up. It would keep you stuck. It would tell you to give up. It would tell you are aren’t good enough. It would tell you to keep doing life alone. That voice is trying to undermine the voice of God who wants for you life, and life to the full. God’s voice is one that encourages, prompts, guides, directs, comforts, and teaches to bring about life. God’s voice also exhorts, but His exhortation is one that comes with patience and grace and invites life not death, and encouragement, not discouragement. When God prompts, challenges, guides or even disciplines, it sounds like God’s character; the God of love, the God of reconciliation, the God who redeems, the God of purpose, the God of light.
So when a liar is keeping you up all night, call it out for what it is- a big fat fibbing, mischief-making, good-for-nothing con artist, life-messing prankster. You know what happens when we buy into the message of these kinds of voices? We let lies destroy our days, which turn into months, which turn into years, which turn into decades, which turn into a lifetime. God doesn’t want you and I to spend one more sleepless night counting sheep, nor one more stressful day discounting the brilliant, beautiful, amazing, big dreams He has for our lives.
Let’s be done with lies already. When you and I are tossing and turning, let’s replace those lies with the truth that God made us, God loves. And because He made us and loves us, He certainly has a plan for our lives. Some things don’t have to be so complicated. Perhaps the most profound of all truths is this simple. Say goodnight to the lie in the middle of the night, my friend, and say hello to the truth that can be found at any hour. It will awaken you to a day, a week, a month, years, and ultimately a lifetime well lived.