4 Ways False Assumptions Imprison You, and How to be Free
- Katie M. Reid
- 2016 8 Jan
For over a decade I assumed my friend thought my singing skills were lacking.
We were college roommates when she asked me if I would, someday, sing in her wedding. I can’t remember if she was even dating her future husband at the time, but I was flattered and looked forward to it—whenever it might be.
Fast forward to my roommate’s engagement. Instead of asking me to sing, they asked a talented, voice-of-an-angel type instead. Not only were my feelings hurt, but I felt like the decision was a judgment on both my voice and our friendship. I assumed her husband-to-be didn’t like my voice or at least liked it less than the person they had chosen to sing. I assumed my friend felt the same way he did, and I was devastated.
For ten years I felt resentment about their decision. I didn’t think about it all the time, but it was there, buried deep in a cloak of insecurity.
One day my former roommate and I talked about honesty in relationships and clearing the air. She was coaching me through the tension I felt in a different relationship, but her questions prompted me to bring up what I believed about the singing situation.
When I finally had the courage to ask her if what I had presumed was true, I discovered I was wrong.
For years I thought her decision was a direct attack on my talents. But she reassured me that it was an oversight and she didn’t even remember asking me. She didn’t know she had hurt my feelings.
I had wrongly assumed what her actions meant and let it hold me captive for over a decade.
I was embarrassed that I had not spoken up sooner. Even if she did prefer someone else’s singing voice to mine, my act of assuming sabotaged a part of our relationship that could have been restored a long time ago.
The enemy likes to lie to us. When we fail to communicate and clarify with others we can easily fall prey to his schemes as we assume the worst.
Assumption can be dangerous. It can:
1. Mask the truth: When we assume, we view situations from a limited perspective—ours. Our vantage point might illuminate a particular angle, but we might not have an accurate view of the whole picture. A portion, or a majority of the truth, might be masked when we rely on our own perspective to interpret a situation.
2. Build walls: When we wrongly assume we erect barriers between ourselves and others. Our imagination sometimes fills in the gaps with all sorts of assumptions. We find ourselves creating distance and a self-protective stance against those who have offended us or passed us by.
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3. Rob us of growth: Assumptions can keep us stuck in the past. Our growth is stunted when we presume we know the facts and act on them as truth.
4. Hold us prisoner: Not only is our forward motion disabled, but we can be held captive by false assumptions. We accept speculation as fact and find ourselves tethered to the heavy weight of offense.
Clarification can bring freedom. It can:
1. Illuminate the truth (even it it’s hard): When we clarify with others we may be surprised to hear that we were wrong in our assumption, or we may have been right. Either way, when we clarify, we can be confident that we know the truth and know where we stand.
2. Build bridges: When we clarify we open the door of communication and are able to see through to the other side of our assumption. Getting to the truth, by comparing our perspectives with the other person can create a strong platform for moving foward.
3. Help us to grow: As we commit to improving our communication—not just silently nursing wrong assumptions—we find ourselves in a healthier place. We are able to navigate the weeds that threaten to choke us as we push through rocky situations and learn from our mistakes.
4. Set us free: When we abandon assumption as our go-to response we are positioned to walk in freedom. We move past false perceptions and improve our emotional maturitiy as we clarify with others. The enemy likes to plant little seeds of doubt that hold us back from the truth. Even if the truth is hard to swallow, it can set us free.
Let’s be known as people who have open and authentic relationships. Let’s not waste time believing wrong assumptions or being held prisoner by offense.
We confess the times that we have assumed the worst. Forgive us for listening to the slithering tongue of the serpent instead of immersing ourselves in Your Word. Help us to trade our assumptions in for clarification. May we have the courage to calmy ask for clarification—not accustatory, but humbly—wanting to know the truth, so we can walk in freedom. Thank You that You clarifited Your love for us, from the manger, to the cross, to the throne of Heaven. You are able to free us from old mindsets, bad habits and the negative thinking that chains us. Deliver us from all that holds us back. Help us to go forward, led by Your Spirit and tethered to Your Heart. We love you. Thank You for silencing the accuser with Your sacrifice on our behalf.
In Jesus’ Name,
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Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her husband, four children and their life in ministry. Through writing, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She has an album, Echoes of My Heart, and is a writer for God-sized Dreams and Purposeful Faith. She blogs at katiemreid.com and can be found on Twitter @Katie_M_Reid