As little girls, we believe the lie that everyone in this class is better than us. In ballet class, they're better at the pirouettes. At the playground, they're better at the monkey bars. Some other little girl's dress is prettier and more twirly than ours. At a very young age, we begin to compare our bodies and our clothes and we believe this lie that is whispered to us that we are not pretty enough. As we grow older, these lies continue and morph and spin out of our control. In Middle School, we spend hours obsessing over how to tame our frizzy hair, how to paint on a pretty face, how to put up a facade that everyone will fall for. We spend so much time worrying about being smart enough to make the grade, athletic enough to make the team. We base our entire existence on being accepted by this invisible audience. We play a role, dancing and twirling around the stage. We try and we try, but we just end up collapsed in a heap in the middle of the stage with the spotlight shining straight on us. And there we lay. Vulnerable. Weary. Overwhelmed. The serpent whispers in our ear "Darling, you will never be enough. God is hiding something from you, you're just not good enough for him. Trust in me, I won't fail you. I won't hide the magic cure from you. Take this fruit...and eat.". And just like Eve, we fall for his trap.
He's an awfully good manipulator. We believe his lies with all of our heart. We live a life of fad diet after fad diet. We restrict what we eat, and punish ourselves when we eat "bad foods". We run after this false ideal of perfection- if I just reach this weight, if I just can wear this pants size, if I can just get noticed by someone...I will be enough. But, the fact of the matter is...nothing you do will ever be enough. You might reach that goal weight, but the serpent will whisper in your ear "Just five more pounds". You might suddenly be able to squeeze into your "skinny day jeans", but the serpent will whisper to you "You're still not enough. See that muffin top? So unattractive". He'll plant lies into your head:
- If you eat that, you're going to get fat.
- If you get fat, nobody will like you.
- You seriously just ate that? Go throw that up. You know the drill. You don't deserve food.
- So what if they say you're skinny? Behind your back, they're probably whispering about how ugly you are.
- If you just get skinny, boys will like you.
- If you just lose some weight, you'll have more friends.
LIES. All of them. This serpent that we allow to linger in our lives is a horrible friend. He's not looking out for our best interests. He's a toxic and abusive relationship that we choose to remain in. We find comfort and security in him. Even though he treats us horribly, he still sticks around. And, it's not really that bad, right? Losing a little weight isn't a horrible thing. It's not bad to work hard to achieve success in academic endeavors. We rationalize our dear friend's horrible behavior. The serpent whispers seductively in our ear, "I won't hurt you. I only want what's best for you. Trust in me." But, it is time to fire back. It is time to tell that serpent who's boss. We need to stand up and be assertive and tell him, "Nope. Not gonna listen to you. Not gonna trust you." Will he like this? Probably not. But, that's where we can change our story and stop the lies.
In the story found in Genesis, Eve falls for the serpent's trap. She ate of the fruit and then she felt ashamed. Rather than getting up and confessing her sin, she stayed trapped in her shame and guilt. She made clothing out of fig leaves to cover up all she had done. She saw that she had been lied to, but she didn't run away from her serpent friend. She rolled around in her shame and guilt and let it consume her. She wasn't ready to face God and say goodbye to the serpent. We can learn a lot from this. Finding free means finding freedom from these chains that have bound us, these lies that we have believed. This means that we have to acknowledge that we had a thought (such as, "I am not pretty"), and then move on from that thought. Thoughts are not fact- lots of them are lies. We need to let go of these false thoughts. They're just holding us back.
Here's the thing: God loves you, no matter what you've done. We base our entire faith around the principle that we do not have to be enough. There's this not-so-tiny concept called grace. We celebrate the Lenten season and Easter to remember all of what Christ has done for us. If we were "enough", he wouldn't have had to come down to this crappy planet when he could have been partying it up with God in Heaven. But, he chose to die for us. While the serpent whispers in our ear, "You will never be enough", Christ tells us that it is okay for us to not be "good enough". In Romans, it says that ALL have fallen short of the glory of God. But, that is why Christ died for us! It's this wonderful thing that we need to celebrate! You do not have to be enough. You don't have to live up to unrealistically high standards. You are beautiful just the way you are, because you are made in the image of God and he loves you! You don't have to live in the embrace of the serpent any longer. You can choose to walk awy from that relationship and start a new journey on the path of freedom. Freedom from the lie of "not enough". Freedom from the lie of "not pretty enough". Free from the lie of "if I just lose five more pounds." Free from the lie of "if I just make the grade, make the team". John 3:16-17 reveals this wonderful truth
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.We are free. We are free from these unrealistic, unattainable lies that have taunted us since the day that we came into this world. God didn't send his Son to condemn us. Jesus didn't come to Earth, see us in all of our brokenness and say "Ain't nobody got time for that!" and walk away. No. He came to heal. He came to restore. He came to bridge the gap so that we could be forgiven and have eternal, everlasting life! You are enough to him. Let that sink in for a moment. You. Are. Enough. For. Him. If you were the only one on this planet, he still would have chosen to come down here to save your soul. You don't have to lose five pounds to gain his acceptance. You don't have to get accepted to an Ivy League college. You don't have to be the prettiest, smartest, or most outgoing to gain his acceptance. He loves you for you, not for what you have done or what you will become. You don't have to work for it. You don't have to strive for perfection. You can be you and just love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength...and that will be enough.