Sometimes, it’s real cute and I like to “ooh” and “ahh” when the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“Awww, he’s so intentional…just like his mama.”
“Oh goodness! He is so affirming with his words….just like his mama.”
“Man, he’s really in-tune with the feelings of others…just like his mama.”
I like them seeds and those apples sown. Good, pleasing, delightful apples…I’ll claim ’em!
But then there are the other times and those other apples. The times when I’m pretty much in denial, swearing up and down to every tree in the forest that my tree has grown no such apple and has passed on no such seeds.
Deformed and bitter apples? No way!
Yucky worms and rotten cores? Nada!
Tough peels and dry flesh? Not from my tree!
The truth is…I want all the apples that fall from my tree to look nice and be nice, but that’s not realistic. Why? Because no tree bears good fruit all the time.
And that’s just where I was this week when I realized that an apple, one that has been learning and growing from my tree, had fallen. And folks, it wasn’t the kind of apple that you want in your bushel. No, it was the kind of apple that you want to chuck into an open field while driving 72 miles an hour.
“Every single time I always make mistakes; I will never be on a team!!!”
Oh. my. word.
You always make mistakes?!?!
You mess up every single time?!?!
You will never be on a team?!?!
Get. a. grip.
I was so annoyed with his dramatic over-reaction to his inability to perfectly dribble a basketball; I was so irritated by the “all-or-nothing” thinking that was spewing from his mouth; and I was so saddened by his unfair and untrue assessment of himself.
“Caden, you need to stop right now. That is absolutely ridiculous. It’s not true that you always make mistakes. It’s not true that you mess up every single time. It’s not true that you will never be on a team. There are many times when you do succeed and you do make progress. You might make mistakes and you might mess up as you practice, but that doesn’t mean you will always fail and that you will never be on a team.”
As the words tumbled from my mouth, my heart was immediately humbled and convicted.
UGH. Cognitive Distortions…YUCK.
Cue: fallen apple
I could spend all day trying to pretend that baby daddy spread those seeds, but I would be a liar trying to fool myself. Those are Mama’s yucky seeds, and sometimes they bear yucky fruit.
Now, I realize that it’s very possible that my dear
apple son genetically received these fallen genes in the womb (nature), but I also believe that it’s very possible that he has also heard those fallen genes in action (nurture).
Because I, too, struggle with seeing things in black or white as opposed to shades of gray.
I, too, struggle with using terms like “always”, “every” and “never” when assessing myself and describing my actions.
I, too, struggle with adopting and believing distorted thinking.
I, too, can easily fall into the trap of trading the truth for a big, fat, terrible lie.
Because sometimes in my distorted mind…
I’m always letting someone down; I’m always failing; and I’m always falling short.
I’m never getting it right; I’m never doing it well; and I’m never hitting the mark.
Because every single time, I am messing it up, screwing it up, or mixing it up.
And if I’m not on my guard and setting my mind on truth, Satan will rally an army of my cognitive distortions and before I know it, I’m fighting and believing the terribly, untrue lies that I will always be _____ and never do _____ because every single time I will probably do _____ or probably be ______.
And that’s crappy…that’s really, really crappy.
So what do I need to do when I’m tempted to adopt these lies and exchange the truth for a bunch of bogus deceit?
I need to do exactly what I so easily did with Caden.
I need to CATCH the lies.
“Caden, you need to stop right now. That is absolutely ridiculous. It’s not true that you always make mistakes. It’s not true that you mess up every single time. It’s not true that you will never be on a team.”
I need to CHALLENGE the lies.
“There are many times when you do succeed and you do make progress.”
I need to CHANGE the lies.
“You might make mistakes and you might mess up as you practice, but that doesn’t mean you will always fail and that you will never be on a team.”
And how do I do that?
I need to pray for discernment to IDENTIFY the truth.
I need to pray for strength to BELIEVE the truth.
I need to pray for wisdom to ADOPT the truth.
And I need to surround myself with others who will help me LIVE the truth.
Because though God has not called us to think with a rose-colored, unrealistic, Pollyanna brain, He has certainly not called us to believing dramatic, untrue, and unfair lies either.
No, He has called us to the following:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8