In the process of beginning to learn what “belief ” really means, I decided to explore the opposite of belief, which is fear. Where might fear and anxiety have come into my story?
I knew without even having to think twice about it. The scene was the living room of my childhood home. I was seven years old, sitting there with my nine-year-old sister and four-year-old brother. Even as I write these words, I can see our couch, a lamp on the table beside it, and the entrance into the kitchen. That room already had undesirable memories for me, as it was the place where our parents had sat us down nine months earlier to tell us that they were no longer going to be married. Our mother had primary custody of us, so it was the four of us in the living room on this particular night, a night forever etched in my memory.
We had just returned home from my tee ball game and I was standing next to a chair in my brown and green baseball uniform. My brother and sister were sitting on the couch with our mom when strange words came out of her mouth. “Kids, I believe it is best if I leave town and don’t see you again.” There’s not much I remember after that statement, apart from the crying and begging her to stay.
While I may not remember what else happened in the moments following my mom’s statement to us, I now realize as a man how that moment caused me to believe some things about myself that were not true. This happens to a lot of us. Not this specific scene, but a scene or multiple memories that invite us to believe a lie instead of the truth about who we are. Being able to identify events in our past that have had a profound impact on how we see ourselves is one thing. However, creating time and space to get at these lies and replace them with truth is an important step in learning to really believe who God is, what is true about us, and that we are completely and fundamentally loved.