Geez. I swear it seems like the world is set up to crush you, you know? Every day I am bombarded with messages about how my wrinkles need erasing, my hair needs fixing and I need to lost weight, not to mention I’m probably failing my kids in some way, slacking at my job somehow, and really haven’t achieved that much compared to so-and-s0. That’s just from the advertisements I see–and I don’t really watch TV! It’s virtually impossible to go through a day without seeing an ad, a billboard, an article at the check-out stand, or a social media post somewhere that is designed to tear at my psyche.
Multiply that over the years, sprinkle in a healthy dose of my own wrong decisions and hard circumstances, and it’s enough to destroy the soul. Honestly, it makes me mad! Mad at consumerism and a society that’s constantly telling us to be dissatisfied, and mad at myself for getting sucked into the lies they both peddle. I think we’re all sold a bill of goods that tells us if we do steps 1-5 and react in just the right way, we will feel joy and happiness. So we keep striving, keep working, keep on keeping on but nothing really changes. It tears my heart that suicide and depression are on the rise, that there’s constant judgement and sensationalism and lack of compassion all around us, sometimes even by the very people who should be promoting the exact opposite of all of that.
In the midst of my struggling and wrestling to find what is true in my life, to honestly grab a hold of who I am before God, I have found my most powerful weapon to be truth. Yeah, I know the lies pretty well. “You’ll never have enough money. You don’t really matter. You’re not intelligent, capable or driven enough. You have made too many stupid choices to ever experience something different.” But the truth, God’s truth, is so remarkably different. For every lie, God is right there telling me who I am before Him. You’ll never have enough becomes “Life doesn’t consist of and abundance of possessions, and I will provide you with what you need” (Luke 12:15, 22-34). You don’t matter, you’re not enough and you can’t change is replaced with, “Don’t be afraid. I’ve called you by name and reclaimed you as my own. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead-end. I paid a huge price for you! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you” (Isaiah 43:1-4).
God’s word is like a balm to my soul and I find if I don’t read it often and keep it in front of me, my truths get drowned out by the constant, blaring discord of life. I don’t read my Bible out of a sense of religious duty or legalistic ritual. I read my Bible because it is my lifeline, the lone voice of reality in the midst of this world’s ongoing lies about who I am and who I’m not. There are times I can battle anxiety, depression, fear, loneliness, self-loathing, and apathy. But the cool thing I’ve discovered is that when I fight back with scriptures, my inner story begins to change. Sometimes the change is instantaneous. Just being reminded of my value to God is enough to turn around my moment. Sometimes I will have to wrestle over hours, days, weeks or even months, but throughout the process I can see my growth, feel the peace and joy in my heart spreading, and experience the tangible benefits of trusting God’s direction for my path all around me.
If, like me, you feel like you’re getting sucked into all of the negative lies around and within you, remember who you are! You are precious, valued and loved by a God who has given everything to hold you up. He is able and strong enough to help you move forward. Dig into your Bible! Find those verses that really resonate with you. And then post them all around you or memorize them so you can be strengthened by the power they contain. If you’re able, look for ways to build into others with that same message of hope and love because the truth is I think we all need it! Let’s never allow each other to forget that while we will never be perfect on this earth, we can still find healing and growth and blessing through a transformative relationship with Jesus who shed His blood to set us free from the discord and bring us back into harmony. That is our truth!
For Further Thought: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (Romans 12:2). Find a new scripture this week that tells you the truth of who you are before God. Feel free to use one of the scriptures listed above, or go to www.biblegateway.com and read Romans chapter 8, or explore a topical study on God’s love for you and grab on to a scripture or two that really speak to you personally. I’d love to hear which scripture(s) you found most valuable for you!