Real Talk with Mary Ellen: The Bottom Line

I know I’m in good company; you know, those of us who think of the thing they wish they had said but an hour later or a day later!  That’s me this week.  I had a blast getting to preach the sermon on Sunday. AND my Enneagram “1”-ness is playing a familiar tune: “I wished I’d said…”

I preached about our identity as sisters and brothers of Jesus closely intertwined with but superseding family, racial, and social identity. I talked about how we are formed and informed by the influences or voices, if you will, surrounding us.  New Yorkers now believe we are tough, smart, disciplined and loving because the Governor told us that every day for 108 days!  We believe what we hear.  And unfortunately, if we tell ourselves lies, we tend to believe those too.

I challenged us to download (by journaling) the messages we notice circulating in our minds. Notice if lies have become uninvited guests in our brains. In some circles, these lies are called “limiting beliefs.” And because a brain tends to believe what it hears, a brain, sadly, even believes the lies we tell it. A supernatural vacuum to suck up lies would be nice! I’ve heard of these kinds of lies-as-resident:

I can’t do it; I’m not smart enough. (a dose of Bill Murray’s What About Bob and baby stepping ought to resolve this limiting belief!)

He’ll never notice me, I’m not cute. Instead: I’ve got lots of things going for me. I choose friends with care because Mary Ellen was always telling me how we believe things we hear; I want to choose truth telling, wise, kind friends.

With all this invisible virus, being locked up inside, I’ll never get out! Instead: The whole world is in an expected detour from business-as-usual.  I’m taking one day at a time, one step in front of the other.  God goes before me and I will stand firm in the faith.  Smart health experts are reporting a way forward and a way to be safe.

Get rid of lies occupying your mind. Carefully choose who and what influences  your mind.

Paul has something to say about that in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

The bottom line? Cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that truth resides in your heart and mind.

I found truth and nobility in some new places recently. 

Malaya Gaboury has a wonderful blog.  She deeply encourages me.

Elie Cacciatore mostly makes movies about her equestrian pursuits.  But this recent one moved me.

My Abby’s art always takes my breath away.

Recently developed Prayer Pods at All Angels’ have connected me to praying people in important ways.  Do you have one? Request one at

Did you know All Angels’ has  a YouTube channel with a growing inventory of sermons and songs including Eric Alderfer’s Best Of! You can subscribe.

StoryMakers NYC is hosting a live VBS on Calvary St. George’s FaceBook  this week.  It looks fun for kids.

Share your favorite sources for lovely, pure and noteworthy in the comments section.

Author: Mary Ellen Lehmann

Director of Children & Youth Ministries at All Angels' Church in New York City. Mary Ellen and her husband, Mike, have been married 30 years, and have four children. Several of them are adults.

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