I took a 6 year break from the dentist. It was all because when I had my wisdom teeth out and it was an experience. I had a hook on a tooth. The root had grown into a hook shape. I won’t describe to you the process of getting it out or talk about the fact that I was awake the whole time, hence the 6 year break.
But that memory reminds me that the lies we believe have hooks on them. The longer we let lies live in our hearts and minds, they will form roots. Not spindly roots like small weeds, but big gnarly roots that you can only get rid of with a chainsaw.
The hook has tentacles, grabbing hold of of the memories and thoughts. Like a disease this lie begins to infect everything. We don’t even realize it. We go about day by day, living a life shaped by the lies. We make decisions and move forward believing false things about ourselves, the world and who God is.
This could be believing the lie that we have to live to impress other people or we are what we make and do. This could be that marriage will make us complete or that we are only good parents if our children are always well behaved. Or even believing that we aren’t worthy of love or acceptance. That we aren’t beautiful or created perfect.
Whatever the lie, it doesn’t have to define us or hold us hostage. Thankfully, the roots don’t have to stay in us. God is a rescuer.
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
(ESV) Psalm 40:1–3
But in our world, we are really good at the self-help talk, the positive mantras and the affirmations to say daily. There are people who make millions of dollars in the self-help industry. Sure those can work, but those don’t mean anything if they aren’t based in who God says you are.
The best kind of weed and root killer is one of truth.
His words are the strongest and will carry the most power. His word brought about the earth, it carries enough power to combat the lies.
For God’s Word is solid to the core;
everything he makes is sound inside and out.
He loves it when everything fits,
when his world is in plumb-line true.
Earth is drenched
in God’s affectionate satisfaction.
The skies were made by God’s command;
he breathed the word and the stars popped out.
He scooped Sea into his jug,
put Ocean in his keg.
Earth-creatures, bow before God;
world-dwellers—down on your knees!
Here’s why: he spoke and there it was,
in place the moment he said so.
(MSG) Psalm 33:4–9
Also God understands roots, His word is filled with the all sorts of root imagery.. He talks about being planted and rooted next to streams of living water, about being rooted and built up. All of these things have to do with growth in our faith and belief.
Being planted and rooted, is powerful and painful. Think about it. To be planted, means to be dug up, to be buried again, to breakthrough. To uproot something, to dig out means pain. To break free of the old roots meant to walk through pain.
But when it is your heart that is broken and wounded, where do you even start? When I started digging out the roots of lies, it left me broken, depressed and hopeless. That felt worse.
In the midst of the brokenheartedness, I tried to live in the same way as before. I tried to be the person I was before I dug out the root. It didn’t work. I felt fake and like a liar all the time. I tried to mask it. That just wasn’t me. I held on to other lies in the midst of that season. “I can’t let anyone see me weak.” “I have Jesus, I can’t be sad.”
The deepest wounds don’t heal overnight and not on their own.
You can’t self-heal. These wounds take care and procedures, medicine and rest, giving the place of the wound a break from the constant stress and strain of use. Funny thing though, just as it is really hard to do a medical procedure on yourself, we won’t be able to remove the hook on our own. Mostly we won’t get all of the root. Healing comes in time. And often you aren’t the same afterwards.
It’s like I needed a physical therapist for my heart. I needed someone to show me how to be wounded and yet still heal.
What it took was, first to say it out loud, to tell my people. And to be honest, it was to find the people that I could trust to help, to walk with me as I continued to do the work. It was the people that I could be broken around and they accepted and even welcomed my brokenness.
So many of us are walking around wounded and broken, looking to the things of the world to heal. We busy ourselves, try to live out of old patterns, and just get through. Waiting for the next weekend, next vacation. We distract ourselves from dealing with the wounds.
Friends, don’t wait, don’t hold back. Don’t wait until the wound is infected. Dig it out now. And don’t do it alone. The enemy wants us to believe that we have to live alone in our pain and brokenness. That because of that we aren’t love and accepted. But we are…we are chosen and loved and welcomed in. Brokenness and all. Not because of anything we did, but because of the one who opened the door for us, the one that has the power to dig out those roots and help us establish new ones.