Tag Archives: lies

“It’s All in Your Head”

“It’s all in your head.” Doctors say this, maybe family too, and whether or not they intend it, you hear a dismissive tone. A put-down. A message that says “it’s your fault, you caused it, and it won’t go away until you decide to stop it.”

In all fairness, what a good doctor probably means is, “It’s outside my expertise to help you with something that’s generated in your mind.” The tone is probably genuine regret that s/he can’t help.

Let’s not get into the debate over whether it truly is generated in your mind. Doctors have been known to write off tangible physical responses to environmental and food sensitivities because the tests don’t show any proof. And other things actually are products of the mind.

The fact is, we’re still stuck with the problem until we get help. If a medical doctor can’t help, perhaps a naturopath or counsellor can—or a prayer warrior.

Today I’m thinking of the kind of thing that actually is all in the head: the lies or worldviews that we internalize and believe that limit and damage us. The garbage that needs taking out.

Cover of "Battlefield of the Mind: Winnin...

Cover via Amazon

For me some of that is self-pity, self-focus and just plain self. I found Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind a very effective removal tool, and I need to read it again.

It’s important to recognize the mental crud, agree with Jesus that it doesn’t belong there, and then cooperate with Him to replace it with wholesome, holy, healthy thoughts.

If it’s all in my head… that means it’s not a tangible disease or limitation. Real, but it doesn’t need a scalpel, drugs or a prosthesis to fix. It just needs realigning my mind to God and cooperating with Him.

I find that liberating and encouraging.

God bless Peter Furler for his song, “All in Your Head,” where I first heard the encouraging tone and the assurance that “it’s all in your head” means “nothing’s really holding you back” and I could push through the blockage.

Oak Island Revenge, by Cynthia d'Entremont

Review: Oak Island Revenge, by Cynthia d’Entremont

Oak Island Revenge, by Cynthia d'EntremontOak Island Revenge, by Cynthia d’Entremont (Nimbus Publishing, 2012)

It’s 1958. Fourteen-year-old Jonah Morgan and his best friend Beaz live on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia (Canada). Nearby Oak Island is forbidden territory, so naturally it’s a rite of passage to row to the island and search for the legendary treasure.

This summer vacation, Jonah and Beaz are set to hit the island, but they’ll be even more secretive about it than most teens. Jonah’s mom is overprotective since his older brother died, and he’s pretty sure Beaz’s mom is abusive.

What they find on the island piles secrets on secrets. Jonah doesn’t want to lie, but he can’t tell the whole truth. When missing 16-year-old Charlotte Barkhouse turns up dead, surely what Jonah knows wouldn’t make a difference. Would it?

His parents and his dead older brother seem perfect, and Jonah can’t measure up no matter how good his intentions. As he wrestles with how much truth to tell and how much to hide, he begins to suspect that everyone has secrets of one sort or another and that life is more complicated than it looks.

Oak Island Revenge is a coming-of-age story that evokes the feel of 1950’s small-town Nova Scotia in a mystery for young adult readers. It’s one of those satisfying novels where all the threads weave in perfect balance to make an organic whole.

Author Cynthia d’Entremont has a fresh, vivid writing style with a satisfying splash of humour. She’s also the author of the award-winning young adult fantasy novel Unlocked.

[Review originally appeared on the Maranatha News site. Review copy provided by the author.]

Feelings and Emotions

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Isaiah 53:3, NIV*

I’ve been writing a lot lately about the deceptiveness of feelings and how we need to trust God instead of ourselves. I’m still learning, thinking it through on-screen, discovering what it means in my own life.

For me, the emphasis has been on not believing false feelings: the vague unease, dissatisfaction or sadness that can have me living “in the dumps” instead of in the confidence in my heritage in Christ.

Then there are true feelings, and I’ll call them emotions to help me see this clearer. Things like grief, fear, loneliness. Anger. Happiness—why does that one not come around as much as the others?

Jesus experienced emotions. There’s nothing wrong with them, and I think they’re a key ingredient in what makes us human. It’s not healthy to suppress or deny them, but we still can’t let them rule us.

Recognizing them can help us rely on God’s sustaining grace in our daily lives. In the words of author/speaker Grace Fox, if we feel fear over something God calls us to do, we need obey anyway—to “do it afraid.” Or sad, or whatever.

And He is calling us to do things. If angry, we’re still responsible to refrain from delivering a sinful response. Grieving, to treat others in love.

God our Maker, You know our weakness and You promise to give wisdom when we ask. Teach us to discern between deceptive feelings and genuine emotions. Teach us to rely on Your truth and to reject the lies. And help us rightly handle our emotions so we’ll live as genuine humans who trust Your care, neither denying what we feel nor being ruled by it. 

There aren’t a lot of songs about true emotions and about the lie that we shouldn’t express them. Here’s Don Francisco’s “It Ain’t No Sin to Get the Blues.”

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Fear and Lies

You grumbled in your tents and said, “The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.”
Deuteronomy 1:27, NIV*

It seems we have a propensity for believing lies over the truth.

I’ve been working through the study material with Robert S. McGee’s book, Search for Significance. This week’s lesson included listing some of the lies the devil has told us. Identifying them is the first step in replacing them with truth.

With that in mind, Moses’ words above struck a chord. He’s referring to the people’s reaction to the spies’ report of the Promised Land, when instead of entering the land they ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years. (See Deuteronomy 1)

Wow. We’re not usually so open in articulating the issue, or at least I’m not. I’ll feel anxious or put upon, maybe discouraged or even resentful, and in the past I haven’t investigated the feeling’s origin to root out the lie.

You can hear the fear in the Israelites’ words. And there were indeed giants in them-thar hills. But instead of bringing their fear to God, remembering that He’s bigger, relying on His promises, they went the other way with it and accused Him.

We may be more subtle, but don’t we do the same? Too often we listen to the doubts and believe the lies instead of standing on the truth.

Holy and sovereign God in whom is no lie or shadow, if not for Your grace, patience and love, we’d be doomed. Teach us to recognize the enemy’s lies and to rely on Your word and Your character. Thank You for setting us free; now help us learn to live in that freedom and in confidence in You.

This week’s song is Casting Crowns’ “Voice of Truth.”

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Believing the Truth

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV*

Tuesday morning, yesterday now, I curled up with my Bible and journal, tea at hand, reminding the Lord that I still didn’t have anything for today’s post.

Since He nudged me into blogging in 2008, He’s given me a devotional thought to share each week. Sometimes it comes early, sometimes it’s pretty close to the finish line, but He provides every time.

I don’t fret about it anymore, although I do like a few days’ breathing space in case something else in my schedule goes boink. So no stress on that account, but something else was bothering me this time.

When I tried to read the day’s psalm, my spirit felt tight, shrink-wrapped. Instead of pushing on, I stopped to pray. “Lord, there’s some kind of blockage. I feel… well… like You’re holding out on me.”

Everything seemed to hush.

Okay.

I knew that lie! It’s so old, it goes back to the Garden of Eden.

Truth defeats the lie, so I asked God to give me a verse to counter it. I knew He wasn’t holding out on me, because He’s not like that. He gives good gifts. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV*)  That was my answer, although I didn’t remember the reference.

And if we ask Him for bread, He won’t give us a stone.

“Recognize the lie—defeat it with truth.” I’m hearing that a lot lately. It’s one of the things God is working on in me, but it’s also something to share today. I’m not the only one learning this particular lesson.

God who is holy, faithful and true, You know we’ve accepted lies and they’ve diminished us. Some of them are so rooted-in that we think they’re true. Shine the light of Your Word into our darkest places, reveal the deceit, and help us to replace it with Your truth. Teach us how to believe and rely on Your Word.

Jonny Diaz’ song, “More Beautiful You,” counters one type of lies we face. The line “Don’t buy the lies” applies to them all…

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Friday Friends: Author Sandra Orchard

Sandra Orchard is a Canadian author whose debut novel, Deep Cover, releases in early September from Love Inspired Suspense.

Janet: Welcome, Sandra, and thanks for taking time to join us. Was it only last year you were a finalist in American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis contest for unpublished novels?

Sandra: That was actually in 2008. It led to a number of requests by editors, but no sale. 

Janet: It’s a pretty prestigious contest. Well done! And congratulations on your first novel! Tell us a bit about Deep Cover.

Sandra: Maintaining his cover cost undercover cop Rick Gray the woman he loved. Sweet Ginny Bryson never really knew Rick–he never gave her the chance. Not then, and not now, when he’s back with a new alias to gather evidence against Ginny’s uncle. The man’s crimes led to Rick’s partner’s death, and Rick wants justice to be served. But his investigation is stirring up trouble, and Ginny is in the middle of it. Someone wants Ginny to pay the price for what her uncle has done. But how can Rick protect her without blowing his cover, jeopardizing his assignment…and risking both their lives?

Janet: Where did the story idea come from?

Sandra: I wanted to explore the complexities of trying to make a relationship work while living a dual life, compounded by the dangers the undercover life poses to real relationships, as well as to explore the question: Is it possible to be a man of honour and live a life of lies? The Bible says, do not lie. Undercover cops play a vital role in bringing criminals to justice yet they’re faced with the need to lie day in and day out. How does a believer reconcile the two? The original title for the story was Shades of Gray, because Ginny is a black and white kind of person, while Rick lives in shades of gray. But if he’s going to win the girl, he has to realize that there’s no room for shades of gray in his heart.

Janet: The cover’s very attractive—looks like an ocean shoreline. What’s the setting?

Sandra: The series takes place in a fictional town called Miller’s Bay on the shores of Lake Erie in the heart of the Niagara Region of Ontario Canada. The view of the lake is used a number of times in the story to deepen the emotions of the characters. I love the mix of ominous looking clouds and rough waters, with rays of light reaching down. And if you look closely, you’ll see a dove. The dove is a recurring symbol in the book of God watching over them.

Janet: I see the dove now, and I’ll be watching for it when I read Deep Cover. The next title in your Undercover Cops series is Shades of Truth, due out in March 2012. Are you already hard at work on that?

Sandra: I handed in revisions on that manuscript June 1st and am now hard at work on revisions to the third book in the series. That one’s tentatively called Dose of Deception, and it will release later in 2012.

Janet: Good, more books to come…. The Novels page on your website gives sneak peeks at your upcoming Undercover Cops novels, but it also lists two unpublished manuscripts: Escape to Terror won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier (unpublished) award, and Murder by Marigolds which is looking for a publisher. They’re all intriguing, and I hope we’ll get the chance to read them some day.

I’m impressed by the endorsements you’ve received from respected writers in the Christian fiction field. What’s the path to publication been like for you?

Sandra: Writing is an emotional rollercoaster ride, from the thrills of editor requests and contest wins to the disappointment of rejections and criticisms from readers. But God always gave me just enough encouragement to persevere. I have met so many wonderful people, made dear friends, learned tons about writing, people, and life. While in the throes of wondering if I’d ever sell a manuscript, I longed for validation for the tremendous time and effort I was pouring into my novels. But I am so glad that God made me wait for that first coveted contract. I still have much to learn, but I am far better equipped to meet the challenges of writing to a deadline now than I would’ve been if I’d sold my first manuscript.

Janet: That encourages me as I continue waiting for a publisher. God’s timing is everything, and there’s definitely lots to learn. Back to Deep Cover, what do you want readers to take away when they’ve finished the book?

Sandra: Everyone is in a different place physically, emotionally and spiritually and what each of us get from any book we read will be as different as we each are. What drew me to inspirational fiction was the hope I felt in seeing characters grapple with a lot of the same kind of issues I was facing in my life and experience victory. Some stories cause me to rethink how I look at things, or give me hope that circumstances will improve, and some prompt me to make changes in my life, while some are simply a few hours of pleasant escape. I would be thrilled to know that in some small way my readers are touched by the experiences of Rick and Ginny.

Janet: Are you a writer who likes to immerse herself in details of the setting while incubating the story idea?

Sandra: Setting is one of the most difficult things for me to write so I probably don’t do this enough. But I did go sit by the lake to watch and listen and inhale the scents, while brainstorming metaphors that related the setting to the characters emotions. Restaurants are another great place where I find myself absorbing story ideas. People do a lot of quirky things in restaurants. <grin>

Janet: In your research, what’s the weirdest bit of trivia you’ve picked up?

Sandra: I’m not sure it qualifies as weird, but while doing research for my murder mysteries I discovered a lot of cool ways to kill people that are difficult to trace. Hee, hee, hee.

Janet: I’ll try to stay on your good side! Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?

Sandra: Hebrews 10:35-36 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Janet: Definitely a good verse for perseverance! What do you like best about the writing life?

Sandra: I don’t have to drive to work.

Janet: What do you like least?

Sandra: The criticisms.

Janet: What do your family think of your writing?

Sandra: They are incredibly supportive. My youngest daughter (18) is a writer, too, already published in magazine articles and short stories. She’s a wonderful critiquer. My eldest daughter helps me with my website. And my son and hubby don’t complain about the dust bunnies or late dinners when I get caught up writing a scene. In fact, when my hubby is home during the day, he’ll always make me lunch, and when I’m really caught up in writing, he’ll offer to order a pizza for supper. <grin>

Janet: Writers are told to read widely and voraciously. I think that’s one of the perks of the deal. What are you reading these days?

Sandra: I got a Kindle last year for Christmas and I love to read books on it. At 44 my eyes aren’t reading the small print in books as well as they used to. Every week I download the latest “free” offerings that appeal to me so I’ve found myself reading a much wider variety of novels than I used to. I do love the fast pace of Love Inspired Suspense, and am thoroughly enjoying the historical line. Generally, I like to read novels that have a little more going on than just a straight romance.

Janet: What are you listening to?

Sandra: I can’t write with music playing in the background so I don’t listen to much. The one exception is a Robert Alexander CD I picked up called Happiness. It has easy-to-listen-to piano solos that I don’t associate with any lyrics so they don’t distract me. I find them very soothing.

Janet: What do you like to do to get away from it all?

Sandra: I love to go to the lake. There’s something about the smell of the air and the sound of the waves lapping on the shore that soothes the soul.

Janet: What’s the most surprising/ zany thing you’ve ever done?

Sandra: At university, my roommate and I snuck into the room of one of the men in the same dorm as my now-husband and magic-markered tops on a poster he had on the wall of women riding bikes topless. He was so not impressed!

Janet: Not “deep cover” but cover of a sort! Thanks so much for taking time to let us get to know you a bit, Sandra. May the LORD continue to bless you and make you a blessing to others—in every area of your life.

===

I caught up with Sandra for a chat at Write! Canada this June. Thank you to Ray Wiseman for taking our photo. Stop by Sandra Orchard’s website to learn more about the author. You can also find Sandra at her blog, Conversations About Characters, or on Facebook.