7 Lies – A Spiritual Reflection
Taylor Marshall is a Roman Catholic, (and former Episcopalian priest) who is the President of the New Saint Thomas Institute, an initiative offering theology classes to over 1,100 students in 24 nations. He appears regularly on Catholic Answers, EWTN, and Relevant Radio with 98,702 people following his web page about Catholic culture. He and his wife Joy have seven children (four boys and three girls) and make their home in Dallas.
He recently pod-cast “7 Lies We Believe About Our Failures.” Since Satan is the “Father of Lies,” (See John 8:44) it is important that we remain aware how the devil can use an assessment about ourselves to pull ourselves away from a relationship with Jesus Christ –“The Way, The Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6)
If you’re interested in hearing the podcast yourself, you can go to the link here. Taylor introduces the podcast with a number of other items which you may, or may not, find interesting. If you want to skip ahead to the “meat” of the talk, go to the 12:00 minute mark of the podcastpodcast.
7 Lies About Why You Fail.
1. “It’s not my fault. I just had bad luck.” God has given meaning to an ordered universe. God is in charge and nothing happens by chance nor without God’s providence. Look at Romans 8 especially Romans 8:28. (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”). We know that God has called us to make decisions and to live intentionally, not according to “luck”.
2. “Other people had it out for me and undermined what I did.” This involves the virtue of “prudence” which involves planning ahead. It also involves the virtue of “fortitude” where you are called to build the “fortress” to protect yourself, your family/friends and your enterprises. Now, one has to consider that, in certain circumstances, there are people who might have engaged in underhanded practices that affected you in a negative way. Nevertheless, if this “lie” sounds familiar, it might be a good idea to examine your conscience and ask where YOU might have played a role in the entire process.
3. “I deserved it” (God is settling a score because of my sinfulness) or “God isn’t happy with me” or “God isn’t listening to me” or “God, don’t you see all that I’m doing for you?” This is a spiritual and psychological set-up. It ALWAYS leads to depression. God is constantly showing favor to people who are messing up (Consider Jesus reaching out his hand and saving Peter from sinking after Peter “failed” to walk on water). It can also be a symptom of someone who is simply floating along in life and not focused on, and intentionally discerning, God’s purpose in their life. Taylor Marshall has another podcast dealing with this topic entitled: “Am I Missing God’s Plan For My Life?” – the link which can be found here.
4. “If I hadn’t failed back then, I would be more successful (and would not have failed) now.” Consider the Old Testament story of Joseph (Genesis Chapters 37 – 50). After numerous betrayals and failures, he was appointed Second-In-Command in Egypt and eventually saved his family and the entire Hebrew people. God always uses what is broken to accomplish his greatest works.
5. “I’m entitled to whatever I lost or didn’t achieve.” This “entitlement mentality” also leads to bitterness and depression. It is an attitude that is 180 degrees opposed to Scripture and Christ’s teaching in the Beatitudes. Everything is a gift. We are owed nothing (except death and Hell). The proper response is to move into a gratitude mentality. Do the “A-B-C Prayer of Gratitude:” I’m grateful for the Apple I just ate. I’m grateful for Beth, my wife. I’m grateful for the Children I have who are healthy, …..” Go through this drill and see, once you get to the end of the alphabet, how the blessings in your life have piled up. This will shake you out of any depressed state or attitude of entitlement and into a “Eucharistic” mentality (from the Greek word eucharistia, meaning “thanksgiving”).
6. “ Because I messed up SO badly, my sin is SO bad or because my failure is SO great, I’ll never recover.” We believe in a God of miracles. We believe in a God who says, “See, I make all things new!” (Revelations 21:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Isaiah 43:19 among others). God can overcome the addictions, the mistakes, the poor choices of our lives and lead us to a new place of hope and joy.
7. “I can’t help it; I was born this way.” This is a “lie” that is becoming more prevalent in American culture, but it’s really just another version of “I deserve this” (#3, above). Look at it from another angle – You were born with wonderful gifts that no one else has!” The parish recently sponsored a “Called and Gifted Seminar.” People who attended found out that there were not one, but several, areas in their lives where they were gifted. God balances any shortfalls with natural- and SUPERnatural gifts. St. Thomas Aquinas says that in God’s world, “grace builds on nature.” Thus, in our life, God can take what is ordinary – and make it awesome!