Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Self Defeat: Believing Our Own Lies

There is something in me that hates me. I think it might BE me. I think I might hate myself... well, at least some part of me seems to be committed to my own failure. We all have that voice inside of us. Not the one that says very quietly, "Go say sorry," but the one that says very loudly, "You are not important." Who is this voice? Why won't it shut up? And more importantly, why am I so quick to believe it?

I wrote a journal entry called "My Own Worst Enemy" a few years back, but it was more about my outward behavior than my inward struggle, so I feel like this post is justified as it is more focused on that lying bastard inside my head.

A few minutes ago I was inspired to write this because I was filling up my coffee pot at the sink and myself said to myself, "Our band is just one of those bands that nobody cares about."
This statement is one of many that have been playing in my head for the past few weeks. My mind tells me almost daily that I'm not driven enough, talented enough, capable enough or faithful enough to create anything of timeless value. Sometimes I'll fight back and say, "Wait a minute, I'm pretty proud of this specific thing I created," and then the voice will come back and remind me of every criticism I ever heard about that piece, and convince me that these criticisms are mostly true... and I believe it. I believe that even my proudest moment was probably not very good. If I combat this voice even more and convince myself that "Hey, you know what? It WAS good, I don't care what they say." Then this voice will tell me, "That was then, this is now, you're probably all dried up."

This damned voice. What makes me believe it? I believe it because it is me. It sounds like me. It's the me who hates me. Some more religiously charismatic than I might say it's the voice of "evil" or "Satan," but I don't think so. I think it's me, my flesh, a manifestation of my dirty human depravity. Plus, I think I've heard the little demon on my shoulder before, and his sales pitch is much more eloquent than mine. I don't believe him at first because he doesn't sound like me so he needs a trickier approach. I am quick to believe this other voice because it is my own.

So what happens? Well, after awhile you start believing your own lies, which all essentially say the same thing: "I'm not good enough." Suddenly, and unknowingly, you defeat yourself. Has anything positive come from guilt and shame? Has any life flourished after believing that it was worthless? The only thing left after believing our own lies is our own defeat. 

We humans are built to withstand so much, pressing on at the top of the food chain for thousands of years, so it's true that the only thing that can stop us is ourselves. Our complex brains coupled with our innate desire to self-destruct can prove a treacherous adversary in matters worth pursuing. Nothing worthwhile was ever done without this nagging, lying voice shouting the whole way that it is unattainable, that we will surely fail because we are not "good enough." I suppose the best defense is to hear this voice and to blindly believe the opposite, regardless of the facts it presents us with.

May the Truth inspire us beyond our own petty defenses.


  1. Really great stuff. I've felt (and currently feel) the same way. This helped, thank you.

  2. ...Wow. I usually don't comment on your blogs, but this one I feel compelled to comment on, because this has been on my mind a lot lately. It's amazing how we are often our own worse enemy... and as much as we complain that people lie to us and hurt us, at the end of the day no one is better at lying to us or holding us back than we are. And yes, I think Truth is the only defense, because Truth is stable no matter what we feel or think.

    Actually, the other night while I was wrestling with this issue, one of the things keeping me sane was some of your music. Funny how that works.

  3. I know exactly how you feel. The past couple months have been even more difficult than usual; and it makes it harder when those thoughts of self-doubt creep in on top of everything else going on. I just try and remind myself, though, that I am not alone and can express my feelings; and reading yours and others stories about similar circumstances helps. Not that i wish turmoil inside of everyone else (obviously), but that we are all human and are the only species that can feel this way...it's kind of humbling

    always enjoy reading your posts

  4. Cool. This totally relates to what I blogged about earlier today.

    Also, you should check out Abba's Child by Brennan Manning. It deals with this idea of the 'impostor' who tells us lies about ourselves.

  5. I love the brutal honesty of all your posts-- this is something I've definitely been dealing with as well. Keep heart. And your band is DEFINITELY something that many care about. You don't know how many times your songs have played to the soundtrack of my life! And I'm sure there are many, many others who would say the same : )

  6. I hate you. For an "honest" man, you sure are quite the liar. If this voice isnt the "devil" tryin to ruin what you are going to create and it truly is you, then you are full of week and undignifying lies. And your lies are hurting people. So screw you; I dont know about every other person who has been entertained by your art...but me, you saved my life (in more ways than you can think of). Now "your" lies are getting in the way of that, stopping you from building building others and insulting those who you already have.

    If this voice is you then you admit you are a liar. And your lies hurt those who you have touched and will touch (as if who you are and what you have done mean nothing (then i am nothing of a man thanks to you?)). This whole post is a lie and you are full of them "apperantly".

    you cant do shit without who works through you. And your lies are hurting him too. So stop

  7. I believe you speak on behalf of most of our species.

    We go through tough times of doubt and it works out that you should be no different. I don't know that we ever truly see ourselves for what we really are, Matt, but you and the rest of the band have changed several lives in the words you write. Your honesty in the music goes beyond just listening; you hear it- of that makes sense.

    It's my opinion that all amazing bands have it rough before they're noticed for their hard work. If you think about the people who have over-night fame, it's clear to see how ephemeral it is.

    Keep being true to yourself. You've most certainly changed my life.

  8. This is kinda weird for me, i'm not the type to comment on these sorta things, but i just gotta say that your music/lyrics have really inspired me. When i have had similar thoughts of doubt or despair, i really felt the Spirit of God speaking through your words. It was the touchy feely type of crap that most people play on the radio, its down to earth, honest and that reality that we are all flawed, all liars and theives and yet there is still redemption and life lft in us yet. I appreciate your openness in this blog and in your post, dont let anyone bring you down or take you away from what you do, i think you all have a much bigger influence that you realize.

  9. sorry i meant to say that TCC's music isnt like the usual superficial positvie music on the raido, in case i wasnt clear

  10. TCC has changed my life, as well as you. I think I know what really matters in life & I'm only thirteen.

  11. I just finished a bible study by Beth Moore that deals with this very thing, that we spend our time "wall papering" our minds with lies which hold our thoughts captive, imprisoning us and separating us from Christ. The key is to seek the Truth to tear down the lies and "re-wall paper" our minds with the Truth, once our thoughts are surround by the Truth we gain strength in Christ and we will be freed from captivity!

  12. I know this may not be exactly what you're getting at, but I heard a sermon last Sunday in which the pastor explain our flesh vs our spirit. Using scripture he explained that when we're made new, He transformes and renews our spirit but our sinful will and flesh will constantly battle that until He returns or we go Home. It explained a lot to me and your post seemed to coincide with the idea. Anyways, just thought I'd share.

  13. oh Matt, you strike a chord in me pretty much every time I read one of your posts. And honestly, I have to say, that it's good though. This right here, couldn't better explain how I feel at times. I get that same voice, except it's "my voice". Especially since I'm trying to create music too. Almost every time I post something new, or write something. I am quick to criticize it. Or criticize myself, with something like, "that's it?? that's the best you can do?" It's definitely a process to ignore that voice. I use to listen to it all the time and believe it, but recently, I've gotten a little better at rebuking it. I pray that you get better at rebuking it too. Because if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have some of the influence I have. So thank you man! You are enough. You are awesome.

    Erik VanHoozier

  14. Why such a sad post after Valentine's Day? As I suggest before in the previous blog, if you don't have a record company breathing down your neck, why don't you take some time off for charity work or just go on a vacation with Kristie? Otherwise, go out and play a show anywhere at all; your fans can assure you that you are not talentless or worthless in any way. Last but not least, spend much of your time with the Words will help. As more of Christ get in you, all the negative aspects (sins, doubts) will disappear. I'll pray for you more, oh my favorite frontman.

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  16. Just a little status booster for you...I keep telling my friends at school about your guys stuff and they love it...They wanna borrow all my cd's!!!!

  17. I know that a measly comment from an anonymous reader doesn't stand for much, but you need to know a few things:
    One, I can't think of a single person with more talent than you, lyrically and vocally.

    Since I am anonymous, you can't possibly know what that means, coming from me, but take my word for it; I've never said anything like that before.

    Secondly, you have created something memorable, because I will always remember your concert as being the greatest concert I've ever been to.
    It's one of those highlights in life that you never forget.

    Again, that's saying a lot.

    Third, I hope you don't drag yoursef down so far that you never recover. Please don't do that to yourself. The world would be a sullen and drab place if you ever stopped singing.