What’s Your B.S.?

by Andy Wood on September 12, 2008

in Five LV Laws, Hoarders, LV Alter-egos, Principle of Freedom, Principle of Legacy

Imagine for a minute that you lived in a world where you were the only one who ever told the truth.  A world of random mirrors where you never knew whether someone else’s “yes” meant “yes” or “no.”  How would you get a loan at the bank?  How would you get directions to the nearest gas station?  How would you fall in love or have meaningful family relationships?  How could you ever function, much less be happy?

Imagine getting up every day and telling yourself and everybody around you how badly your life is going.  Have a cough?  It’s probably pneumonia.  Surprise bill in the mail?  You’re going broke.  Get a compliment on your appearance?  You mumble something about needing new clothes or not feeling well lately.  Receive a major blessing?  It’s just a matter of time until the other shoe drops.

By now I’m sure you have an image of somebody in mind (certainly not you, of course).  I’m thinking of a girl I once knew named Kim.  She was a twin; her sister Kay was pretty much an optimist.  Kim?  Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeyore had nothing on her.  The only seventh grade girl I’ve ever met who was completely dreary.

I made an amazing discovery the other day.  Kim (and whoever you’re thinking about) has a soul mate in the Bible. 

I believed when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
I said in my alarm,
“All men are liars.” (Psalm 116:10-11)

Twice the psalmist admitted he said something out loud.  Who was he talking to?  Regardless of who else may have been listening, he ultimately was talking to himself.

“I believed when I said.”

And so do we.

Beliefs are powerful things, as are self-confessions.

A few years ago, I started keeping a list of my B.S. – my belief system.  I started taking a hard look at how I lived, what my children and others were picking up from me, and what motivated me to be excited or angry.  Aside from the orthodox beliefs I firmly held onto about God and the Bible, the result is a list of pithy little things that mean nothing to anybody else but me.  Things like, “The measure of the waiter is in the refills of the tea,” and, “Respect is measured by your willingness to listen.”  What’s interesting, though, is how I am beginning to see some of those beliefs replicated in – or reported by – my wife, children, and others.

Like the psalmist, if I confess to my soul that everybody is a liar, I will find no rest.  If I tell myself I am greatly afflicted, I will be.

Interesting the focus of these two limiting beliefs.  The first is on the self.  This is what I believe about me.  The second is about other people.  False or limiting beliefs about myself and other people will inevitably lead me to false or limiting beliefs about God.

Fortunately for the psalmist – and hopefully for you and me – the Lord delivered his soul from his limiting beliefs.  In his celebration, he said,

Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For You have rescued my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
My feet from stumbling.

Where do our limiting beliefs lead?  Death of the soul.  Tears in the eyes – multiplied grief.  Stumbling in the feet – misguided steps and foolish choices.

So why does the psalmist say to his soul that he can return to rest?  Because the Lord has dealt bountifully with him.  He delivered his soul from death, his eyes from tears, and his feet from stumbling.  I don’t think I’m stretching it to say that if he had seen (believed) that the Lord was dealing bountifully with him before his limiting-beliefs episode, there would have been no need for deliverance in the first place.

In every day, every action, every life decision, I am building my life around beliefs about God, myself, and others.  I get to choose what those beliefs are, including the option of believing lies.  Building my life on the truth produces freedom.  Building it on a lie produces bondage, grief, and a death-before-I-die.  Same goes for you.

The unvarnished truth is that your faith will live longer than you do.  You pass it along every day.  I’m not talking about the faith you talk, but the faith you walk.  So what’s your B.S.?  What will it say to your pallbearers?  How will it continue to speak, long after your voice is silent?  What will it say about reality, virtue, priorities, or Jesus?

If you find your soul slowly dying because of the beliefs that are killing it, I have good news.  You can exchange your limiting beliefs for life-giving ones.  More on that soon.  But for today, let’s learn the lesson the psalmist learned:  Pay attention to what you’re telling your soul.

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