True confession: My printer hasn’t worked for a couple of months. It just stopped working one day, and I’ve been dreading trying to fix it, so I’ve simply put it off. The printer seems to be working, and yet when I push “print” on the computer, nothing happened. Of course, I’ve needed to print things in the meantime, so I had to learn how to send my items to be printed at a local store.
It wasn’t laziness or even active procrastination that drove me. There were simply so many other things that were more important, things that felt more urgent and demanding. So I’d get busy and simply forget that my printer needed attention. But then when I needed it, I really needed it, and I didn’t have time to stop and figure out what the problem was, so I had to find workarounds.
This week, though, the cost became too great to ignore any longer. I needed to print two sheets of paper, and I refused to pay for the printing and drive to the store to pick it up when I had a perfectly good printer sitting right next to me. So I set about my mission. I reset the printer, uninstalled the program, and then reinstalled it. But the same problem persisted. My computer simply wasn’t communicating with the printer, no matter what I tried.
At that point, I, of course, turned to the manual we all know and love: Google. And lo and behold, a fix presented itself. It turns out that a few months ago my computer automatically updated, and within that update there was a small line of code that made it impossible for the computer to communicate with the printer. I had to locate the line of code (following the excellent instructions on Google), delete it, and then restart my computer. And just like that, my issue was fixed!
It really got me thinking: How often do we do an “update” in our lives and unintentionally internalize some small message or reality that actually holds us back? Meanwhile, we hum along focused on how this update is improving our lives, not realizing that this messaging has actually hijacked some of our most basic functions. When we finally realize something has gone wrong, we have to backtrack and figure out where the problem originated.
This has happened to me more times than I can count. Last year, for instance, I was in a difficult situation at work. I worked hard to figure out how to best deal with the situation, trying to do the right thing, and honestly felt like it was looking better. In the meantime, though, I had internalized the message that I was just too much to handle, that I actually needed to fundamentally change parts of myself so as not to make others uncomfortable—not a good message to internalize. I would never have been able to verbalize that I’d internalized this lie, but my actions betrayed what I truly believed about myself. I had to backtrack and root out this lie in my life, choosing to believe God’s truth about me. There is always room for each of us to grow and mature, but believing that we are fundamentally too much (or too little!) is simply false. God says we are made in his image, beloved, and created for good.
So what about you? Have you picked up some unnecessary, even harmful, “code” along the way?
Maybe you’ve started believing that you can’t make good decisions, or your incapable of doing anything right, or your needs aren’t as important as others’ needs, or you’re only worthy of love if you do favors for others first.
What lies might you need to root out of your heart and mind so you can more fully embrace the truth of who God says you are?
Amy Jackson is founder and director of The Perch.