Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Lies Women Believe About Themselves, Part 1

Leslie Basham: The lies we hear about ourselves at a young age can stick with us for years. It's Monday, January 28. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

I'm not worth anything. Have you ever had that thought? Today we'll hear how the truth can counter feelings of worthlessness. Let's join Nancy as she begins a new series called Lies Women Believe About Themselves.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Sometime ago I began to have an irritation in my eye, and it was very annoying. It was bothering me so much that I could hardly wear my contact lens. I assumed I was having some sort of allergy attack and began to take some allergy medicine, but the irritation persisted. I could hardly keep my contact lens on my eye.

After a few days I was able to get an appointment with my eye doctor, and after a brief examination he determined that the problem was my contact lens. Something had happened to the lens, and it had become misshapen. It had become flattened out so it was rubbing against my eye in a way that was irritating the eye. I had to take the lens out and actually get it replaced so that I could see properly.

As I thought about how that irritation was caused by a lens that wasn't shaped correctly, I thought about how true this is of our view of God--and ultimately our view of ourselves. If we believe things about God that aren't true, we're going to see through a lens that is going to make everything else look distorted. It's going to irritate our view of everything else.

The problem is a lot of times we think that what's irritating us is the people, the circumstances, the things around us, when actually we're seeing things through a distorted lens. That's why our view of God is so important because if we don't see Him correctly, then everything else is going to be out of focus and is not going to be in the right perspective.

This week we want to examine some lies that women believe about themselves--things we often believe about ourselves that are not true. If we're going to have a right view of ourselves, we have to start with a right view of God.

Our culture today has done two things that are very dangerous. First of all, it has humanized God. It has brought Him down to our level--tried to bring Him down to our level, not that we can. And it has lifted up and exalted man as if he were God. If we don't see God in His right perspective--as exalted, as He really is--then we're going to have an incorrect view of ourselves.

This comes out in many places of Scripture, but one passage that comes to mind is Psalm 135, where the psalmist talks about idols. Idols are simply replacements for God. People worship them as gods, but they are not true gods. There are things that people have fashioned that they think are god.

The psalmist says in chapter 135, "The idols of the nations are silver and gold, they're made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but they cannot speak, they have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths." Now here is the point: "Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them" (verses 15-18).

When we fashion for ourselves a god who's not the true God, we will become like the thing we fashioned. We cannot ever see ourselves as we truly are if we don't know God as He really is. If we have a god who's weak, who's impotent, who is not in control of every detail of the universe, then we're going to see ourselves as being helpless. We're going to be overwhelmed by the storms and circumstances around us. If our god is worthless, then ultimately we will come to see ourselves as worthless. "Those who make them [these false gods], will be like them." If we believe lies about God, we will ultimately believe lies about ourselves.

I think one of the most common lies women believe about themselves is this lie: I'm not worth anything. In fact, we surveyed several hundred women as I was writing a book Lies Women Believe; and we gave them a list of lies and asked them, "Which of these have you found yourself believing?"

Almost half of the women we surveyed said they had believed this lie. This is a very powerful lie. Let me read to you some of the things women have written about what has happened in their lives as they have believed this lie: I'm not worth anything.

One woman said, "Feeling inferior has been a lifelong struggle. Many times it has caused me to withdraw from relationships, even though I am a 'people person' and outgoing."

Another woman said, "Because of the hurt in my marriage, I felt that I was useless, and that nobody--not even God--could love me."

In many cases--and there are those in this room who can relate to this very specifically--those feelings of worthlessness are often the result of believing things that we have heard from others, especially in our childhood. Isn't it amazing how something we hear on a playground as a child, or in a classroom from a teacher, can stick with us?

It was years ago that perhaps you heard that statement, but you've taken that statement with you through life and found yourself believing it. I see some heads nodding in here.

One woman wrote and said, "I was told as a child that I was as worthless as tits on a bear. I soon believed that I was. I still have trouble with this at times."

Then this woman said--and here's a statement that she heard as a child that has haunted and plagued her for years. (This was an email I received.) She said,

I have a memory of being about six and being told that I have no right to live, and that I should never have been born. I don't remember who said it, but I do remember my mother just standing there and not doing anything about it. I became very withdrawn and it was extremely difficult to talk to people.

Now follow the progression here. First she's told this terrible destructive lie. Then she begins to dwell on this lie. She said,

By the time I was to start seventh grade, it was decided I belonged in special education. I was accepted into the classes, but there wasn't room so I went to the normal junior high school. But I never believed I belonged there.

As she began to dwell on this lie, she began to believe it--because she did not know how to counter the lie with the truth.

Then she said,

Until this weekend, I have believed that I was stupid, not normal, and that I should be locked away somewhere. In junior high I had no friends and people went out of their way to hurt me. As a result, I withdrew even more. I became very depressed, and I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up.

You see what happened? She listened to the lie; she didn't counter it with the truth. She was told that she should never have been born. That's a lie. She didn't counter it with the truth. She dwelt on the lie. Ultimately she came to believe that's really what was true about her. Then she acted on what she believed as inevitably we always do.

She said, "I became very depressed and wanted to go to sleep and never wake up."

The tragic consequences of listening to a lie--what we believe about ourselves--determines ultimately how we live. If we believe lies, we're going to act on lies--and we ultimately end up in bondage. Listen to how these women expressed that believing this lie (of their worthlessness) threw them into bondage.

This woman said, "For the longest time I thought I was not worth anything. Even after I was saved, I thought I was equal to pond scum."

That's a lie. We're going to look today and tomorrow at what God's Word has to say about who we are in Christ.

But she said, "I believed this--that I was equal to pond scum. This threw me into depression."

You see the depression was really her acting on--emotionally--what she had come to believe that was a lie.

She said, "I began to isolate myself." Now she's continuing to act out the lie that she's been believing.

Here's another illustration of the bondage that results from believing and acting on this lie.

This woman said,

I am not worth anything is a lie that I believed. I've always struggled with this lie and with the constant need for the approval of others. It got to the point of being maddening, and believing lies ultimately really can drive a person to madness.

These letters and so many others describe what many of us have experienced, and that is this desperate longing and drive for affirmation. So many of us are trying to balance the scales of the negative input we have received from others against the positive input that we hope to get from others.

You know what's interesting? I find with many women who've have bought into this lie, that no matter how many positive things you tell them, they don't believe it--because the lie has become so deeply ingrained in them. They can hear a hundred compliments; but then one family member says one hurtful or critical comment, and they're devastated. You know why? Because they're letting others determine their worth.

First Peter 2 tells us that Jesus was rejected by men, but He refused to believe something that wasn't true. Instead, the Scripture says He was chosen by God--rejected by men but chosen by God. And therefore Peter says, He was precious.

What determined Jesus' worth--what men thought of Him or God's choice of Him? He knew that He was God's beloved, chosen Son; and He chose to believe the truth. His worth, His preciousness, His value was not determined by what others thought of Him; but rather by the truth that He was chosen by God.

Leslie Basham: Jesus' life is an example of how to respond to cruel words from others. Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with some final words on how we should respond to the rejection of others.

Maybe today's program has helped you to recognize that you've been listening to lies more often than you realize. We've created a tool to help you identify lies of the enemy and to combat them with the truth. It's a video called Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. With this video, you can review Nancy's teaching on the subject at your own pace and follow along with the study questions that are included. It might be the perfect study to embark on by yourself or with a group a women.

The video Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free is available for suggested donation of $15. To order you can visit our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

All this week we'll be in a series called Lies Women Believe About Themselves, and we'd like to know how it's touching your life. You can send a letter to Revive Our Hearts.

We often entertain lies, not by allowing them in through our intellect, but by our emotions. Tomorrow we'll hear how to battle lies even when we don't feel like it.

Now to close our time, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I'm looking into the eyes of some women who have experienced deep, painful rejection--rejection by a mate, by a parent, by a sibling. You've been rejected. Have you found yourself believing that determined your worth? I want to encourage you to consider the fact that if you are a child of God, you have been chosen by God. It's God's choice of you that determines your worth. Who are you going to believe? Are you going to believe what the world has said about you; or are you going, by faith, to believe the fact that God says, "I have chosen you, and you are precious to Me"? 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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