Lies and Truth in the Desert

English: View of the Sonoran Desert approx. 30...

I’m not sure I’d know the Enemy if he chased my soul into the Sonoran desert to cross-examine it. For better or for worse, I’ve never been a Christian who thinks much about the Devil.

But if he is rightly called the Father of Lies, I know some of his children oh, so well.

I grew up repeating the lies to myself, chanting them over and over until I knew them by heart, and I can still recite them with only the slightest prompting.

I will never be loved for who I am. I cannot lose, cannot look stupid, cannot be vulnerable, cannot doubt, cannot choose wrong, cannot fail at anything, or I might as well give up and admit I am worthless. And if anyone senses my essential weakness, criticizes, condescends, or misunderstands me, they are a threat and I can do to them what I wish. I must keep my life on the right track, the successful track, so people will be fooled into loving me.

So many lies learned, ingrained, repeated, defended, lived.

Enough. Time to call them what they are.

And better yet, time to learn the truth instead. To repeat that over and over to myself, even when my feelings say otherwise, so it becomes the song I hum to myself without realizing it:

I am loved for exactly who I am. In my weakness I am strong. Despite my inability to measure up, I am chosen and treasured. Because of all this, I need see no one as a threat. Criticism, condescension, misunderstanding: they cannot change the fact that I am essentially protected, respected, and understood. My life is on track even when I can’t see where it’s going, and love is at the end, always.

This is why I read the Bible, pray, try to renew my mind. Because it’s hard to hold on to the truth in the gritty day-to-day. Too easy to slip, to feel I’m hanging on by my fingernails.

But faith is the thing I dig my fingernails into. Faith that the truth is not always what it appears. Faith that even when I’m wandering in the desert, I will find a way out. That all my desert hungers will be satisfied in the fullness of time.

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