What do you do about a lie? What do you do when a lie has taken hold of you, when it has wormed into your heart and mind and sunk in its claws, when it colors all your thoughts down to your basic view of the world? How do you get rid of the lie? How do you see the world as it really is?

Because, you see, I think that there is a lie at the heart of most of our lives. It might be different for everyone—one might think that she’s the center of the universe, another that she’s not worth anything at all; one might think that money will bring him happiness, another that the perfect relationship will. You probably know what lie has a hold on you. It’s what keeps you awake at night, what sends you into tantrums, what drives you away from the people around you. It’s that one thought that you can see poisoning the world around you, but that you can’t get rid of. Or maybe you can’t see the poison of the lie, but people have told you. Your mentors have urged you to think things over again. Your Christian friends have gently told you that you are wrong. You’ve read the Bible, and you have the sneaking suspicion that this one idea doesn’t fit in that well with the kingdom of God. So, what do you do?

Christ Healing the Blind Man, by El Greco

First, pray. You pray, “God, even though I know that this idea is a lie, right now I am completely convinced that it is true. Wake me up. Help me to see the rock-bottom reality of your love for me, your death for me, and your resurrection.” Because lies, in the end, all boil down to lies about the kind of God that we have. And you keep on praying, even when you hate it and see no way on earth that you ideas about yourself or the world can ever change. Find people who will pray with you, even when you are certain that it won’t work. Read the Psalms and find a prayer that seems to fit your situation. Write blog posts (like this one) about the necessity of prayer, in the hope that after exhorting the whole Internet to do something you’ll feel guilty about not doing it yourself. Find what works, but pray. In my experience, it’s easy to accuse God of not answering prayer when you’re so busy complaining about him that you never actually pray.

Second, find people who will look you in the face and tell you that the lie you’re carrying around is—well, a lie. These people might be friends, mentors, Bible study members, pastors—but you need people who can with utter conviction remind you, on a regular basis, of what the real world looks like. You need people who can tell you that you’ve latched on to a distorted version of reality, because without reminders your lie is going to look extremely convincing. Of course, these people will have lies of their own that need dealing with—who doesn’t? You will have to remind them of the truth just as often as they will have to remind you—and in reminding them, you will remind yourself.

Third, as far as you can, take yourself out of situations where you’re tempted to believe that the lie is true. If you feel absolutely secure in your perfection, don’t spend a lot of time telling everyone about your accomplishments. Similarly, if you think that you’re a complete failure, don’t pore over your disappointments and build up elaborate visions of the future that picture you living in a box under a bridge. Know yourself, and know what activities and situations make your lie seem stronger and more convincing. Avoid them—even if it’s not always easy to do so. Why make yourself an easy target for untruth?

Don’t just give in to the lie. Don’t let it engulf your life. Help one another to see true reality. Our God is the Truth, and he will open our eyes.