This lesson is a how-to regarding letting go of false beliefs. I am going to defer once again to the workbook - quoting directly.
As strange as it may seem, getting rid of false beliefs is difficult. These beliefs seem normal and natural to you. Your feelings and actions make sense because of them. Some of the false beliefs may seem as true and obvious as the statement that the sky is blue! To declare them as untruths will feel strange and phony. As you learn to take a stand on the truth, you will find freedom from the old negative feelings and actions.
For victims to recover, they need to discover what false beliefs they hold and then rid themselves of them, permanently. Telling Yourself the Truth, a book by William Backus and Marie Chapian, discusses the necessity of telling yourself the "real" truth. If whatever you are thinking about yourself has been distorted by abuse, they emphasize, you must solidly determine not to agree with those thoughts or statement. The real battle is lost if you begin to agree with the negative attitudes caused by the abuse. Naturally, at the start you will have no will to stand up adn say, "Oh, that isn't right! You're not worthless, you are special!" You must therefore develop the skill of standing up and saying that for yourself. You must choose diligently to seek God's help so that you will believe the truth.
Five important steps can help you let go of the false beliefs. You have already used them as you completed the exercises in this unit.
1. Identify the False Belief
As you identify the false beliefs, write them down. Then for each one write a scripturally-based truth statement to counter the false belief.
As found in the Search for Significance -- (FALSE) I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself - results in fear of failure. (TRUTH) I am completely forgiven by and fully pleasing to God. I no longer have to fear failure. (FALSE) I must have the approval of certina others to feel good about myself - results in fear of rejection. (TRUTH) I am totally accepted by God. I no longer have to fear rejection. (FALSE) Those who fail (including myself) are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished - results in guilt. (TRUTH) I am deeply loved by God. I no longer have to fear punishment or punish others. (FALSE) I am what I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless - results in shame. (TRUTH) I have been made brand-new, complete in Christ. I no longer need to experience the pain of shame.
2 - Look for the Root of the False Belief
Identify the underlying factor that is causing you to maintain the false belief. Which of these may have been introduced into your thinking by authority figures in your life - parents, teachers, employers, pastors, spouse, or other adults - or suggested by the abuser or significant others in your life?
3 - Recognize that the False Beliefs Are Lies
Identify the false beliefs and the experiences or influences that gave life to the false belief. Then, with the encouragement of your support people, you can become more objetive in your thinking. Seek to recognize intellectually and to accept emotionally the fact that these false beliefs are lies.
4 - Relinquish Your False Beliefs
Pray. Ask God to help you let go of your false beliefs and help you believe the truth about yourself. Record your actions and progress. Begin to keep a journal or notebook. Write your thoughts, feelings, and prayers in your journal or notebook. Keep your journal in a private place.
5 - Use Scripture as the Source of Truth
Learn to take a stand, even argue against yourself, in order to develop a belief system based on truth and not rooted and grounded in sexual abuse. Learn not to be so harsh and critical of yourself, but rather to love yourself.
Select one false belief that you have held and that has affected your life. In your journal, describe as fully as you can the consequences of that belief.
You may have written something like, "I never join in conversation because I don't believe I have anything worth saying," or "I believe no one will listen to me." Never joining into conversations can lead to loneliness and isolation. As you move toward recovery, you will exerpience less and less of those negative consequences.
This part of your recovery is difficult. You may only now be beginning to discover the full extent of the harm sexual abuse has caused in your life. You may be experiencing feelings that seem more overwhelming than those you experienced at the time of the abuse. You may be starting the process of experiencing those emotions and feelings that you began to hide while your abuse was taking place. Because of the possibility of experiencing overwhelming flashbacks, we strongly urge you to seek professional evaluation and assistance if you have not already done so.
A prayer to keep you going
Dear Lord, Thank you for making me a prized treasure with a special plan for my life. Thank you that you have equipped me with everything I need to achieve the goal that has been set before me. Thank you, Lord, that when I stumble, you life me up; when I try to run away, you come after me; when I am defeated, you cause me to persevere and to triumph. Thank you, Lord, for your perfect love for me.