this past year i've written about all kinds of weighty things, like depression & diagnoses. about God's love for you & i, about redemption in marriage. And about lemon loaf.
so today i'm just gonna go ahead & bust open a can of New Years worms & speak about what's been brewing in my heart.
i've had so many conversations this last year with incredible, magnetic, inspiring women and i've learned something: we are believing lies. about who we are, and about who God is, and about who He says we are because of who He is. i yearn for the day we will be whole, we will be in His presence without doubts and lies, anxieties, depression and sadnesses. and yet, while we're here, i want to approach these in hopes we'll talk about them. and in hopes God will move us from places of disbelief to freedom. so without further ado, let's jump in .................. Lie #1:
GOD DOESN’T REALLY LOVE ME.
this is a big one. i’ve talked with countless women the last few years who say, at the root, the same thing with slight variances in language — God is angry at me. God doesn’t even like me. God is a cruel Father. He left me. God just isn’t there.
these words all say the same thing, ultimately: God doesn’t really love me. and so so many of us are passing through our days, walking to our jobs, making meals for our families, going on vacations, having hard conversations with our husbands while carrying the heavy weight of this lie around. it grabs hold of us, it angers us, it breeds despondency and despair. it breaks my heart.
this is a lie that facilitates addictions and harbors self-hatred. i believed this lie for a long, long time. and i lived it out in my life by sleeping with whoever i felt like, perpetuating sexual addiction, because why? because God was mad at me. and really, He didn't like me and surely He couldn’t love me. so why even try? this lie kept me tangled up in barbwire, in a ferocious, mad cycle of doubting Him — doing something blatantly wreckless — then hating myself — then back to believing He hated me too.
oh, how i needed to know He loved me. i had grown to hate him, after all. and i didn't want Him. and i surely didn't need Him. until life crashed down all around me and left me on the living room floor with nothing left to give, and nothing left to get. it's then I started reading the Psalms, and God, through His Spirit, graciously and tenderly gave me rest. the words say:
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good .
He crowns us with steadfast love & mercy....
He satisfies us with good.
and we as women are in such desperate need to know this... to really know He loves you in your deepest, tucked away, raw, messy, painful places.
my hope is as you ruminate on these words, take them in and digest them, they will become real to you. And God's love for you will be real to you. and you will know surely without hesitation of His steadfast, unfailing, unwavering forever love for you. which leads me to lie #2 -------
i JUST need to love myself MORE.
i write this to you as gingerly & tenderly as i can, at my kitchen table, with winter’s sunlight streaming into the window.
self-love is a myth, and will always leave you feeling jipped.
there, i said it. i believe this is the most intricate and deceptive lie to untangle ( along with lie #1 ), because it feels like it feeds us such goodness, such energy, such power & motivation. the downfall of believing and pursuing this lie is this: we are faulty lovers. we are broken, we are sinful, we are selfish, we are fickle, we are swayed by fads and our fault lines run more deeply than we want to admit. and our ability to love other people, as well as ourselves cannot be satisfied by such a wavering source. we will always want more. we will do more, try more and try harder. but our wells are too deep to be filled with fresh water by our strong armed efforts. and our souls, which are created for & crave more than human affection and love aren’t assuaged by trying harder to hug and adore ourselves.
God is all too gracious and good to ask us to even attempt to be the ones who love ourselves.
He has given us Himself, as our Love, as our crown, as our Joy, as our Radiance. His love for us permeates who we are & shines out our faces! because it’s so dang overhwelmingly real & captivating. He is meant for our all, and in turn, because of His perfect and complete love for us we are then able to freely & graciously love other people, and our little selves. it is freeing far beyond our grasping attempts to fulfill our longing souls. which brings us to lie #3, super close friends with lie #2 -------
I’LL BE TRULY HAPPY WHEN ______________ .
oh, the sooner we just toss this one aside, the sooner we can move on to the real goodness & depth of our life. this has been a tough lie for me to shake… (see story of hoping to be married someday above). and although sometimes it’s the big things like: when i have kids someday. when we get that house i’m dreaming of. when we finally pay off all that debt. when i finally lose those pounds i’ve gained. it’s also small things too like when i finally have the perfect bedroom oasis. or when i get that handmade leather bag that will make me look amazing.
but we may not verbalize these desires as the markers of perfect happiness in our minds, but often when i stop myself from reeling over what i want so badly i realize there’s a place in my heart believing my happiness depends on the bag & the bedroom & the house & the fit body. and every time, we come up short. we come. up . short.
our God & Maker who loves us so, says “I am your all.”
I am the feast you’re craving, I am the Hope you’re mustering.
I am the Fullness you are chasing after.
He is drawing us & calling us into the real guts of life, while we prefer to keep skimming the surface and settling for the lie that we can hunt down & give ourselves ANY thing & EVERY thing we want. but you’ll notice that thing we strive for soon metamorphisizes into the next thing & the next & the next and our spirits aren’t settled and we’re tired. we're exhausted from our own petering efforts. and the truth is, Jesus can be your all. He made you to rest in Him as your all. this is such good, good news for our weary and flighty eyes & hearts.
finding love will be the ultimate experience.
our last lie is a sexy one. because if you finally find love, it is sure to give you completeness, fulfillment, the truest of truest loves we could ever dream up. but this is a lie that not only lures us in, but also often cultivates a sense of helplessness & despair. so many times i’ve read on blogs young women writing about how desperately they want to find love, how somehow all their friends around them got married and they got left behind and their twenties are sneaking past them smirking & doing the evil laugh while they suffer, alone, on weekends and holidays. i know, because I WAS ONE OF THEM!
i met Christopher when i was 34 and he proposed on my 35th birthday. thirty-freaking-four, you guys. a little “late” by some standards, but God brought him to me nonetheless, and i was blown away by God's goodness. but let’s be honest here - this lie isn’t just for you beautiful single women, it’s also for us married women, too. because we can idolize our husbands to be the ultimate prize. and let’s be bold -
finding love does not fulfill our deepest need or bring complete peace to our spirits.
and i can say that openly because my dear sweet husband who i’m crazy about and who is just plain wonderful also happens to be a human. a broken, messy soul & body who has the same need i do - to be loved unconditionally, perfectly, unfalteringly. and he nor i are the ones who can give that to each other. your deepest longings for intimacy and love in your beautiful, broken heart of hearts will only be met and mended by your Maker, your God, the One who is the Constant Pursuer.
oh sisters, and maybe some brothers too, i know i've only begun this conversation, and it's one we'll be engaging with for our lifetime. i'm praying if you happen to stumble on this, and you read these paragraphs and words from Scripture, your heart will be provoked, to ask what lie or lies you might be banking on, and the places God wants to meet you and find you and redeem you.
Send me a note too if you'd like to engage more deeply... i'd love to connect with you.