I've heard it said, and I believe it, that perception is everything. Perception may not be what's true, but I think it's what matters most when that proverbial stuff hits the fan in our lives. Attached to those situations is an invitation to answer the question:
What will you believe?
The ultimate questions we have to answer center around what we believe after something happens to us. Two people can experience the same event, and while one is traumatized for years the other may recover fairly quickly. Perception/belief can be the difference.
As I see it the three big questions we have to wrestle with are:
1. What do I believe about the situation? Do I see it rightly or are facts skewed by emotion or past events?
2. What do I believe about myself because of what happened? What we say about ourselves is probably more important than what others say.
3. What do I believe about God? This one is the most important, obviously.
We will all work through things differently based on how we answer these questions. For example, after a divorce; after the loss of a loved one; after a rejection; after a failure; after an abuse: what do you believe about God and what do you believe about yourself?
Where was He? What does He think? Is He angry with you? Is He willing to show mercy? Is He good?
Are you unlovable? Are you a failure? Are you not good enough? Was it your fault?
The other important factor is who we surround ourselves with. Without question, other trustworthy people are essential to getting through the hard things. Isolation will leave us stranded in the mire and so will negative people.
If we can find one or two people that can listen to our story, who love us, who are wise, we need to take advantage of that. Anything kept in the dark will fester and grow and rob us of joy and life. We need other people to speak truth to us: about who God is and about who we are.
Speaking from experience, there is great power and freedom in talking about the things we'd rather cover, hide or avoid. It's rarely as bad as you think it will be.
We will live "below our privilege," so to speak, if we believe the wrong things about God and ourselves. We can't live above what we believe in our minds.
Freedom is a daily choice. We have to take the steps and the risks, but it's so worth it.
So, what do you believe?