There’s a lie circulating. It’s out “there” and it’s in “here” and while everyone has heard it, maybe women hear it loudest. (Maybe not, but because I interact with many women, I know it’s reaching us loud and clear). It’s pretty and covered with flowery words meant to encourage, inspire, unite and cause us to emerge from the weight of the burden of performance and perfection driven living. The problem, though, is that in effect this lie actually discourages, demeans, divides us with comparisons and competitiveness, and keeps us burdened in performing to the point of exhaustion. I know this because I, too, have lived out this lie.
Until I can’t anymore and in the dark and quiet places I’m plagued by the anxious realization that in my very deepest parts I know it’s not true. No matter how many times I tell myself and others otherwise. In the dark the counterfeit mocks.
The lie is two-fold and is this:
While I understand the positive motive behind these untruths, the reality is, when I am alone and contemplating life, or when I turn on the news, or when I cry with one who is struggling to make it through another day, I am pummeled with the awareness of its deception. The realization that telling myself this lie perpetuates the very burden it is designed to release me from causes greater anxiety and feelings that I am “less than.” If everyone else is actually able to believe they are enough, then why can’t I just get my act together and be enough?! What is wrong with me? I guess I just have to work harder.
This is the enemy’s battle strategy in this spiritual war for our souls. The lie prevents us from acknowledging the truth, admitting the reality of our brokenness, and thereby disables us from receiving help. We are driven to keep quiet about our inadequacies because we aren’t supposed to be broken and we’re supposed to be enough. And so we keep performing. God help us if I am enough. I know it’s not true. My husband knows it’s not true. My kids, my friends, my colleagues know it’s not true. More importantly, God knows it’s not true. It’s a false hope and we erroneously sustain it.
The truth is this (and I’m not making this up—this is what God says): “I AM broken” and “I am NOT enough.” The Bible tells us that brokenness is a result of sin and it is inherent in every one of us (1 John 1:8, Ephesians 2:1,3; Galatians 5:17; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23). Our very human nature lives in contradiction to God. While we are made in His image with the capacity to choose Him, we are utterly incapable of helping ourselves out of this situation. When we try of our own volition, we just prove how utterly incapable we are. None of this is a surprise to God.
In the last number of months, my eye has caught sight of a number of articles, blogs, and books written by professing Christian women stating and implying things that are in direct contradiction to Gospel truth. They offer lovely sounding false gospels, that point to self and keep us worshipping idols. When an author states that people are not broken, she is negating the Gospel. If we are, in fact, unbroken and whole, what do we need saving from? What is the point of being rescued by a Saviour? If we are enough, then why would we need the Holy Spirit’s help to live out the Gospel? If the only way to deal with being human is to forgive yourself, how do we adequately receive self-forgiveness until we’ve been forgiven by God? How can I extend grace unless I’ve first received perfect grace from God Himself?
When I keep the focus on myself and not on Christ, I have actually missed the whole point of the Gospel, which tells us that at just the right time, when we were unable, powerless, weak, hopeless, unprepared, helpless, rebellious, broken and sinful, Christ selflessly died for us (Romans 5:6,8). Living the lie makes us like the Old Testament Baal worshippers dancing around, cutting ourselves, and bleeding without any purpose. God doesn’t ask us to perform or cut or bleed. He does not demand the impossible from us. He is fully aware that we are broken and never even close to being enough. He showed us great mercy by offering us His Son who is more than enough. Here is the truth—we don’t bleed to save ourselves; Jesus does.
Women, let’s beware of false gospels, false hopes, and empty counterfeits. The Message says it like this: “You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages.” (2 Timothy 4:3,4 MSG) The mirage is the placating, soul destroying deception of self-focused hope. Our salvation does not rest upon us thank God. It is not accessible because of who we are or who we’re not, or what we have or haven’t done. It is wholly because He loved us (1 John 4:10). It is for this reason that we remember the bread and the cup: HIS body broken—HIS blood shed.
I AM BROKEN
I AM NOT ENOUGH
PRAISE GOD, JESUS IS!