Have you ever had a case of “Assumption-itis”? What is that? Its a condition that causes you to assume what other people are thinking without any actual facts or logical basis. It can lead to feelings of paranoia, fear, or inferiority. Extreme cases may result in making stupid decisions based on unfounded thoughts or assumptions. Need an example? Well the other day I was reading the book of Numbers (the interesting part after all they count everybody and measure the Temple.). In chapter 13, there’s a familiar story where Moses sends the spies to scout out the Promised Land. Their mission: “Go north through the Negev into the hill country. See what the land is like, and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. See what kind of land they live in. Is it good or bad? Do their towns have walls, or are they unprotected like open camps? Is the soil fertile or poor? Are there many trees? Do your best to bring back samples of the crops you see.” (Numbers 13:17-20). So off they went—to explore the land God had promised to give the Israelites. As they went through the land they discovered that it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G—-everything they ever could have dreamed of. When they got back home they told their fellow Israelites: We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. (Numbers 13:27) It was an awesome land—-God certainly hadn’t exaggerated it. It had everything they could want. As proof they brought back a cluster of grapes that was so large it took 2 men to carry it home! The problem was that unfortunately the spies didn’t just bring back samples of fruit from their trip—-they also bought back a bad case of Fear and “Assumption-itis”. Look at the rest of their report in verses 28-31: “The people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley….We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” Now you might be thinking, “‘Des, all I see is some pretty justifiable fear…I don’t necessarily see ‘Assumption-itis’”. Well, for most of my life neither did I. Until a few weeks ago when the Holy Spirit pointed out this verse to me during my daily devotions: “So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: 'The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!'” (Numbers 17:32-33) I’m sorry, but how did they spies know what they people in the Promised Land were thinking? Did they have a conversation with them? (I seriously doubt that these wimps even spoke to the people in the land. If one of the giants spoke to them, they probably would have needed to change their pants before they could continue on. These guys weren’t exactly the picture of bravery.). No, I’m guessing that their own fears and sense of inferiority (remember, they felt like grasshoppers) caused them to ASSUME what the people in Canaan were thinking. The more they let their fears and assumptions run wild, the more discouraged they became until they eventually came home and said, “We can’t do it!! I’m not going anywhere near that Promised Land.” Can I be really vulnerable here? The reason these verses stood out to me in my devotions was because when I read this passage, I, too, was about to give in to a severe case of “Assumption-itis”. It was a familiar story for me. My brother and I were invited to an event. As soon as I found out about it I thought, “Yeah—-skipping that—-not going—-no way, no how, never.” When I was later told that the “invitation” wasn’t optional, I knew that it was time for me to do some business with Jesus as to why I didn’t want to go to the event. There was a part of me that wanted to say, “I’m just an introvert”. (Although my Myers/Briggs test says I’m an extrovert—-I just don’t agree) And yet, after spending time with Jesus, it was clear that the basis for my desire to stay home was clearly a case of “Assumption-itis”. Being completely honest with myself and the Holy Spirit, I had to admit that in my heart I really didn’t feel like I belonged. (I guess I felt like a grasshopper). Even more, I assumed that the other people who would be at the event felt the same way and that one of them would inevitably say, “What are you doing here? You don’t belong.” In an effort to preempt the rejection I was sure I would face, I decided I’d rather just avoid the situation all together. Much like the spies I let my fears, my inferiority and my “assumptions” control my life rather than the direction of the Holy Spirit. Like the spies, I was wrong. You see the truth is that none of us actually know what other people are thinking. The spies didn’t know what the giants were thinking. In fact, fast forward 40 years to the book of Ruth and we see that the people in the Promised Land were actually afraid of the Israelites. How do we know these same fears weren’t controlling the giants 40 years earlier? We don’t. The spies just assumed. Rather than assuming what the spies (and I) needed to do was stop worrying about what other people are or are not thinking and start focusing on what WE are thinking. You see the problem wasn’t how the giants saw them (they actually had no idea). The problem was that they saw themselves as grasshoppers. They were controlled by fear. They were controlled by inferiority. These were the issues that needed to be addressed. Honestly, these were the issues that needed to be addressed in my life, too. I needed to spend time with Jesus asking Him why I was so afraid. Why did I feel like I didn’t belonged? As I spent this time with Jesus, He brought a few memories to my mind that I needed to recall, showed me that I needed to forgive the people who hurt me, and move beyond. I needed to deal with these issues from my past so that they didn’t control my future. Then, I needed to realize that even though these things may have happened years ago, times have changed. God has done miracles and revolutionized my life. He’s not only changed my circumstances, but he’s changed me and I need to start seeing myself in the reality of today rather than the shades of the past. I needed to stop “assuming” what others were thinking and start changing my own thinking. Unless I wanted to repeat the actions of the spies and miss all that God has for me as I follow Him, I needed to lay aside my fear and get back on the bus of walking in faith. Because ultimately, that’s what “Assumption-itis” wants to make us do—-cower in fear rather than following God in faith. The question is do we want to be like the spies who let fear deter their journey, or do we want to face our fears and feelings of inferiority head on and overcome them? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want ANYTHING to keep me from all that God has for my life. Hence, I need to get over each and every case of “Assumption-itis”. Instead I need to obey the principle in 2 Corinthians 10:5 and “Take every thought captive” only be led by the Holy Spirit. So that’s what I’m working on. Today, if you’re suffering from a case of “Assumption-itis” I encourage you to do the same. As yourself: -“Is this a true thought or an assumption? -Where is the proof? -Where is this assumption coming from? -What is truth?” Then spend some time with Jesus working through the root of the problem so that you are not led by the enemy’s lies, but only by the voice of the Holy Spirit. That’s how you overcome “Assumption-itis” and find healing.
To Read More About Overcoming Your Past , Read Finding Healing