Dear World Changer,
Since youth got cancelled (insert crying face), here is a blog post! We’re also sending out a podcast tonight as well! So we’re doing IntenCity from Afar tonight!
This is the final post of our “Overcoming Series!!” We’re ending it off with a bang as Emily talks about lying!
I have grown up going to church my whole life. From the time I was born until I was about 10 years old, my dad was a children’s pastor. I’ve always known who God was and about how much He loved me. I’ve been to countless retreats and conferences and I’ve loved and trusted God with about everything. The thing is, I have always struggled to hear Him and really notice when it is He is talking to me. This past year has definitely been a wild season but coming into 2018, I can now see exactly what God has really taught me. But let’s start from the beginning…
January 2017. I had just come into a new year, but nothing was new. Nothing felt different because of how I had left my previous year. All I was doing was lying. Everyone who knew me saw something on the outside, but what was inside was way different. I was caught up in so many lies that it started happening on the daily. To my family, to my friends and even to my closest friend – my mom. You see, around this time I was becoming a Jr. High leader for BOOST, and honestly, that was the only thing making me feel like I was a good person. Grade 10 was so hard for me. I was doing awful in school, I was constantly slacking, I got caught up in liking a boy and my relationship with God felt like it was slowly dying, and that lead to me pushing it to the side.
I would hide every day because of the lies I was telling. I would get home from school and hide in my room all night unless I was eating dinner. I felt guilty about everything but for some reason, I felt so comfortable in the lies and I would use the excuse that ‘it was the only thing making me happy’ to make it feel okay. I would write down everything in a journal because I felt like that was the only place I could let it all out. But, for some reason, I found that God was always on my mind, even in the slightest ways.
Long story short, about half way through April my mom found my journal and she broke. I had never made her more disappointed than I did that day, and to this very day, we are still building for it. From there, I started getting in trouble a lot. For about a month I cut myself off from a lot of people and I wasn’t allowed to touch my phone because of how much it tempted me. I talked to my youth pastors and some people I really trusted and I started to feel like things were looking up again. I thought it would be a quick and easy “move on” but it really was not.
As summer came along, I was feeling a lot better about everything. I spent most of my time up at OVPC and things were feeling back on track. But from time to time I was doing things I knew I shouldn’t have been doing, and then I lied about them, once again. I started lying about my lying and it just turned into another huge mess. I knew then that I needed to turn things around, and that’s when I finally started feeling more open to God again.
In November, I had the chance to go on the leadership retreat with Woodvale. I went into that weekend expecting God to do something big – I wanted to hear him and I wanted it to happen that weekend. I was praying for a lot of things, my family, my friends, what my future was going to look like, etc. I wasn’t really thinking or praying about my past… but God clearly had other things planned for me to hear. During the second service, one of the Intencity leaders (who is also my beautiful cousin), Grace, came up to me and told me God gave her a word to share with me. She said this, “God wants you to know he forgives you. He knows how hard your year has been but he wants you to move on. You need to stop looking at the past and forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. Move on.” From there I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I literally felt the Holy Spirit wash over me with peace and it gave me hope that everything was going to be okay.
Honestly, I wish I could say things have gone perfectly since then. But I’m human, and I mess up all the time. We all do… but why should all this matter to you?
We’ve all had bad seasons in our lives. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t move on because you’re holding onto your past, if you’ve ever done things you’ve regretted, if you’ve been hanging around the wrong people but you can’t let them go, if you’ve ever gotten yourself into the biggest string of lies, I’ve been there. Girl, I know how you feel. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the fact that what we are doing is wrong, but God sees your heart. Stop trying to hide your past and keep it from the ones you love. It’s when you’re truthful and open about what’s going on, that you then can see the light at the end of the tunnel. One of the biggest things I wish I had of known going into 2017, was that you need to open up. If you bottle up your fears, your mistakes, your feelings – you’re going to burst. God so badly wants to you to look to Him, He will always forgive you.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
So before I sum things up, here are the 3 biggest things I’ve learned over this past year, and how you can overcome lying:
- When times get tough, tell someone.
When you’re stuck in a big lie it’s hard to trust people with your secrets. This year may have been super tough, but the most amazing thing came out of it for me.
During the winter youth retreat, I felt so depressed. I hadn’t told anyone about any of my secrets or about what I was going through emotionally and spiritually. I always put on the “I’m great, how bout you?!” face. All my life, I never really had a bestfriend that I could always count on. Someone who was just like me, loved me for me, had my back, someone I trusted. This was something I had been praying to have for years.
During one of the altar calls, I was at my breaking point. I needed to talk to someone, fast, but none of the people I knew there stood out enough for me to open up to. I was about to ball and I was praying so hard. As soon as I looked to my right, there was a girl standing a few feet over. I knew who she was but we weren’t really friends. My heart starting beating and God whispered to me, “Go.” I ran over to her and cried for an hour. I poured my heart out to her and she was so supportive. She was exactly what I needed and I knew God allowed that to happen for a reason.
To this day she has become my bestest friend. I’m so thankful God has put her in my life and I knew He put me in that situation for a reason. I honestly hated 2017, but becoming friends with Bronwyn (xoxo) was the highlight of my year. God really showed me that through chaos, He can make breakthrough.
- Look to God and He will help you.
This is something I wish I had done more. When lying became a habit for me, I didn’t turn to God like I should have. I was allowing myself to be tempted by the things of this world, and honestly it is still something I am working on. God was at the back of my mind and all I cared about was making sure no one knew anything about what I was going through.
The key is understanding that lying causes us to miss an even greater pleasure — the greatest pleasure of all. Jesus. I missed a lot of that. If I had of seeked God in the bad times, a lot of stress could have been lifted from my chest and things would have gone a lot different for me. He is always the answer.
- Tell the truth and it will set you free.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Once I forgave myself for everything and I knew God had his hand on me, I told some of my friends my story. It feels good and it allows you to move on and start fresh. Start writing a new story for yourself.
You really know who your friends are when the truth comes out. And for me, I could tell who I really needed in my life and who I needed to distance myself from. This year was filled with way too many toxic relationships with different people, and God really showed me how I needed to handle those situations.
But seriously, take my word for it. It feels SO GOOD. Once I opened up about everything to my family and friends, I was able to look forward. I was able to set my mind on Jesus and start over. Even writing this blog has helped me overcome some of those things!
So, am I expecting you to stop lying? Do I think that if you lie about something you aren’t a good Christian? No. Neither does God. Lying is an unfortunate part of life that’s always gonna be there. Everyone lies. The choice is up to you whether you want it to be a big change in your life or not.
There is a saying I’ve been hearing a lot over the last two months and I know now God has been showing it to me to tell me that good things are coming my way:
“The best is yet to come”
I want you to know, world changer, that whatever it is you are going through, there are always people who will be there and who will listen. There is an even bigger supporter on your side and He is right there if you just take his hand. I know this now. That’s why going into 2018, I have so many goals for myself. I know it won’t be easy and yeah, I’ll still probably mess up here and there, but thankfully Jesus died for us for that very reason.
So next time you find yourself caught up in a messy fib, just remember to breathe. Take a step back and remember who you’re serving and why you’re here. Remember that the best is yet to come and that you don’t need to lie.
You were created for a time such as this. So go out there and conquer the world.
Be honest and you will flourish. Be faithful and you will grow. Be who He has called you to be and you will thrive.