Good morning, ladies!
So, yesterday we introduced the concept of the normalcy bias and how that can keep us from growing in our faith. Let’s not let the unfamiliar words leave us confused (yesterday, my husband said, “I loved your post about l;ksdjfoawiejfalwkefj”) but instead just try to break down some simple truths. Normalcy bias is, simply put, a person’s tendency to “normalize” things or events that are out of the “normal.” To begin, we talked about how the world we live in is anything BUT normal, and when we dull God’s majesty, our growth can be stunted.
Moving forward now, I want to talk about what I have observed as two very powerful types of normalcy bias in my own spiritual life. These little nuggets are so precious to me, as recognizing them in my life has helped me to move past sin and into stronger relationship with Him.
If you haven’t been introduced to Saintly Sally yet, please start there. I’m going to use her to illustrate.
Remember Sally? She was moving down the Faith River when she hit a dam, or wall, that kept her from moving closer to her destination, Maturity. Let’s take it back to the dam and have a look at how normalcy bias can mess Sally up.
So, our friend Sally comes to a dam. For me, these dams generally are one of two things:
- An area of sin that either needs to be confessed or demolished or both (usually both. In fact, pretty much always both.)
- A command from God. This is usually something that I feel God has pressed on my heart to do or say (never contradicting scripture).
Now, I want us to look at the two types of normalcy bias. Remember, these are just observations from my own tendencies, not necessarily hard and fast truths across the board. There are probably many more types!
- Type 1- This type of normalcy bias happens in FRONT of the dam (before the thing is demolished).
- Type 2- This type of normalcy bias happens BEHIND the dam (after the thing is demolished).
Let’s look at Type 1 today and what it looks like when the dam is sin, and what it looks like when the dam is a command. Enter Sally. Here’s what she might be thinking to herself in each of these situations:
Type 1 Normalcy Bias with SIN that needs to be CONFESSED:
Sally: “Ugh. This thing is just wearing me down. I feel so guilty. But, was it really all that bad, what I did? I mean, Worldly Wanda does it all the time. You know what, if I confess this sin, all it’s going to do is bring more harm than good. It’s just going to really hurt someone’s feelings. It would be better for me to just shoulder all of the guilt of it for the rest of my life so I don’t have to hurt So-And-So. Yes, I will be the martyr. I will just hold it in to spare so-and-so the pain of knowing what I have done. After all, I’m never going to do it again anyway. It was only that once. Oh, and that other time too. But that’s it. I think. Well, maybe more. But it doesn’t matter now because I’m not going to do it again anyway. You know what? All this guilt is not good. I don’t think guilt is from the Lord so I am just going to have to do my best to forget about this nagging guilt. Get really busy. Think about something else. I know! Maybe I can do something really nice for so-and-so! That would make me feel better, AND would be lovely for them! Yes, what a great idea. AHH there it is again! That constant nagging! Think about something else….Disneyland…Disneyland….Disneyland….”
Now, not that I have aaaaaaany experience at all with what Sally is thinking, but I wonder if any of you do…….?
I LIE! I have SO much experience with that one! GIRL let me TELL YOU! This is the ONE AREA that continually lights me on fire. Normalcy bias tries to take healthy conviction and shove it under the carpet. Then, the conviction turns into GUILT because more and more sin is being committed each time it isn’t confessed! The BIGGEST PERIODS of growth in my life have happened DIRECTLY AFTER I have just humbled myself, said “you know what, God? I don’t even care anymore! I just want to live for you, and I’m going to trust you to clean up the mess that I’ve made.” My heart starts beating reaaaaally hard and fast, I confess the thing, and even if the ramifications of my sin are hard to deal with, I generally enjoy one of these periods:
Type 1 Normalcy Bias with SIN that needs to be DEMOLISHED:
Sally: “I really shouldn’t do that. I know its wrong. I know what the Bible says about it. Oh, shut up. It’s not that big of a deal. Look at Wordly Wanda! She’s such a ******. She does it way more than I do. What a moron. She really needs to get that under control. I need to get that under control. Wait, what? No, seriously. It’s not that bad. You know what? When I get older, I’ll stop. I just need to XYZ first. Then I won’t do it anymore. I’m still young, and I’m just having a good time! It’s not a big deal. Stop being so legalistic. Eww. Yeah. After I XYZ, then I’ll stop. Because then, it won’t matter anymore anyway. I am a Christian. I may not be the best one around, but I do believe it. Maybe I’ll start going to church soon, even. So my sin is covered anyway. No big deal.”
I really have no idea what Sally is thinking about here, but if I did, I would tell you this: THESE TRAINS OF THOUGHT are straight from the PIT of hell. They are designed to keep you from freedom in Christ. They trick you into thinking that being a believer is restrictive and no fun. The truth, my friend, is that SIN is BONDAGE, and RELEASE from sin brings freedom. God LOVES you and wants you to be free from slavery! He’s already paid the price to set you free! But we walk right back into the jail cell and willingly put back on the shackles of sin. “Ugh, why does God want me to go out THERE? I’m happy right here in my cell! Joe-Schmoe is in here with me! And he’s so cool!” Seriously. We are so lame. And your enemy just sits back and snickers. Like that stupid dog. Teeheeeheeehee.
Here’s the deal. If this is where you’re at, and you’re letting these types of thoughts pile up in your brain, you are being massively deceived, loved one. Get mad at it. Get mad at your sin and come boldly face-to-face with the truth. If you think you might be ready to face your junk, let me recommend something to you that has helped me to see it all more clearly. Go to a quiet place and look in a mirror. Who is looking back at you? Is she the woman that God wants her to be? Is she the same woman on Friday night that she is on Sunday morning? Take stock of where you’re at on the walk. And, if you’re not where you should be, it’s time to do some Dam Demolishing. Do you remember how we do that?
Scripture. Look up a topic that is relevant to your situation in the back of your Bible and start to just let some truth sink into your brain. It will probably sting a little, or maybe a lot, but there’s healing on the other side of that sting. You can even just Google “Bible verses about such-and-such.” This requires some boldness, sweet one. Sometimes facing the word is the hardest part. But no matter what it is, sex, addiction, drunkenness, lying, pride, food issues, pornography, guilt, lust, idolatry, manipulation, a combo of those, all of those, whatever…God provides you a way out. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (2 Corinthians 10:13) (Two things here- #1- don’t focus on a smaller issue to try to divert your attention from a larger one. #2- don’t look at the list and think “Well I don’t have that problem…it’s not so bad….all LIES. Don’t ask me how I knoooooow.) He is so good to us. Can you just let yourself be UNCOOL for a minute, get bold, and face your sin? But, sorry. I won’t be able to help you. I have never dealt with any of those things. Okay, maybe one or two. Or maybe all of them. I don’t know. Normalcy bias LIES to you and tells you that your sin is okay and not that big of a deal. Who is the father of lies? (John 8:44) Let’s not give him any more power over us.
Okay- that was a lot. I don’t want to move on to the Type 1- Command issue and possibly give you something to divert your brain from the sin issue. Not that I know all about that little trick or anything. So I’m going to leave it there today. This is a big deal, loved one. I remember facing some of my biggest dams and just getting into a hot shower, letting the water wash away the tears and shame of my sin. Take it down the drain. Maybe you can let yourself do the same today. I am so praying that the Holy Spirit’s power is woven through the words of this post and that He does a mighty work in someone’s heart today. I am praying for your strength and for your boldness.
“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:2-10
**If you need prayer, please always feel free to contact me. Leave a comment or use the link at the top of the page. Feel free to leave your name anonymous if you’d like, or, leave your name but your prayer request unspecified if you would like to. Either way, know that I am right there with you, I’ve been there too, and through His power and grace, you can be free! Wheeeeeeeeee!