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3 Cultural Lies Hijacking our Joy, and the Truths Refuting Them

“I used to think if I cared about anything, I’d have to care about everything, and I’d go stark-raving mad… But I have finally found my purpose…and it is the most wonderful feeling of freedom.” Prince Henry, Ever After

This quote from one of my favorite Cinderella movies has meandered through my mind for over 2 decades. A Mommy-daughter movie favorite, Drew Barrymore’s portrayal of Daniel, the little Cinder girl, shaped me as a young, insecure Mom.

Around that same time, I remember being impacted profoundly by Christians of the past such as Gladys Alward and George Müeller, reading biographies to my girls throughout their childhood.

However, today I’m sharing Hollywood’s influence on this Christ-follower. A few movie personalities particularly impacted me, shaping my character in one way or another:

  • Marmie in Little Women
  • Buddy in Elf
  • Jane and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice
  • Doc Holiday in Tombstone

Each character imparted tidbits of wisdom, inspiring me to take my next steps in pursuit of a life of legacy, or “a long obedience in one direction.” Eugene Peterson

Encouraging me to take risks, I sometimes attempted, and often failed, to model some element of their character:

  • Daniel’s bold sense of justice despite her circumstances
  • Marmie’s wisdom (and joy) in mothering
  • Elf’s childlike faith in goodness 
  • Jane’s steadfast belief in the best 
  • Elizabeth’s daring courage
  • Doc Holiday’s unstinting loyalty (not to mention quick wit and skill) despite declining health

Doc Holiday’s tomb in Glenwood Springs, CO!

Real or imagined, who has shaped your character? Take a few moments to ponder and even journal; the insights may surprise you!

Back to Prince Henry’s quote, his words stayed with me for years, recently emerging from the recesses of my consciousness. 

It describes both a lie and a truth I believe. I often feel if I care too much, I will go “stark-raving mad.” Being an HSP, or highly sensitive person, I tend to feel deeply about both the beauty and the evil in the world. 

Yet, despite this, as Prince Henry did, I managed to find my purpose in different seasons of life: medical professional, wife, mother, homeschool Mom, science teacher, care-taker for an aging parent.

But did I experience “the most wonderful feeling of freedom,” as Prince Henry proclaimed, in each of these seasons? If I’m honest: hardly.

But why? Meditating on this question, 3 lies emerged.

  1. I’ll never be good enough.
  2. They are doing it better.
  3. Comfort is the ideal.

First, I’ll never be good enough. Whether it’s mothering, educating, or practicing physical therapy, I couldn’t shake the perpetual, low-grade feelings of inadequacy, constantly questioning myself.

Lies can only be refuted with God’s truth. Thus, I’ve had to painstakingly rewrite these narratives with God’s truth over the years. 

I won’t pretend this was an easy fix: 5×7 cards of Scriptures posted around the house, and voilà, mindset renewed!

It’s an ongoing process of mindful rhythms I put in place through trial and error. It’s imperfect, messy, and up-and-down.

The rhythms proving most effective in changing my mindset have been:

  • Time with God in prayer and His Word
  • Counseling
  • Community of fellow believers
  • Journaling 
  • Reflection 
  • Time in nature 

One-time decision, lies

I wish I could say I’m consistent with these rhythms, but I fail daily. The key is starting fresh tomorrow. 

Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it. Ann of Avonlea 

Second: They’re doing it better. This is the deadly trap of comparison. It’s a slippery slope to feelings of distress, despair, and depression. 

These lies weave into our conscience in a million little ways, but some big ones come from:

  • Social media
  • Movies
  • Friend groups
  • On the job 

Refuting these lies, to me, is a little more convoluted. Most of us being largely self-unaware, reflection is key to uncovering the subtle but destructive narratives, and journaling helps in the reflection process. 

We either compare or connect. We can’t do both.

Lastly, comfort is the ideal. The most difficult lie for me to contradict, I must constantly put God’s truth before me in all its forms:

  • Sermons and podcasts
  • Community and Bible studies
  • Committed friendships with Jesus-followers
  • Media saturated in God’s truth

There was a time during this past December when I ceased all input except overtly Christian Content. 

  • Christmas hymn playlist on Spotify
  • Scripture and prayer
  • Advent Devotion
  • Focus on Christian fellowship
  • The Chosen
  • Christian podcasts

Anxiety sky-rocketed, and with it my desire for comfort, so the influence of God’s truth had to rise to meet it, as in a battle. My world became a little smaller during this “intense fighting.”

It’s good and right to make our world smaller when difficult circumstances arise, remembering it’s only a season. 

Looking back on each season and the (lack of) freedom of which Prince Henry speaks, I’m surprisingly peaceful with each of them. What I now understand is that freedom is only borne out of a rich, sweet, deep relationship with Jesus.

Not from a decision, a profession, a dream fulfilled, or another person: these are lies leaving us frustrated and lonely.

Friend, what lies are you believing? Can you identify from where they come? What influences have too much say in your mindset? 

Take some time this week to reflect and discern if the narratives you play on repeat are deceptions, necessitating a collision course with God’s truth and wisdom.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor.10:5

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lisa Underwood

    I resonated with life is not about comfort. I’ve been thinking about it lately. I am going beyond my comfort and convenience to act, to serve because that’s what I need to do. To interact too. I have fear with new relationships, not old ones 😊, but I have to be uncomfortable and vulnerable to show love and acceptance to others. Thanks my dear friend. Much love. Good post, thank you and bless you.

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