The tendency of the human condition is to want to be the god of our own lives, fix our own problems, change people to fit our preferences and find security in the things of the world. It’s our greatest struggle and leads to many of our downfalls. It doesn’t take long in our human experience for tragedy, heartache and deep loss to demonstrate that we are not in control. But unfortunately, many will spend a lifetime fighting against this truth as we seek control, security and self-worth in jobs, physical beauty, money, kids, relationships, social status, fame, possessions - all in hopes that the big void inside of us will be filled.
All our worldly and fleshy attempts for significance, peace and joy will only provide fleeting and temporary fixes, but the God-sized hole within each of us can only be filled with and by God. It’s like putting a bandaid on a wound that needs to be stitched up. I see this all the time in women on a weight loss/health journey, seeking out the next diet to lose the weight so they can finally prove to everyone around them and themselves that they are worthy, lovable, successful, beautiful, enough, etc. Ugh. They may feel a shred of peace about their worthiness when they hit that magical number...until that too isn’t enough and they shift their focus to the next thing they need to change or fix or they turn their fixation to the obsession to maintain the number. And the cycle of insanity never ends. I’ve not only seen this, I’ve lived it.
I realize now that it wasn’t about changing the number on the scale as much as it was about feeling that if I could change the number on the scale then I could change what was wrong with me. That somehow the number was going to give me what I lacked. Dieting made me feel like I could become someone else because just being me never felt like enough. Can you relate at your attempts to lose weight or get healthy coming from a place of seeking significance?
It took me over 30 years of painstakingly striving for evidence that I was enough before I reached the point of exhaustion and waved the white flag in surrender. At the end of my own strength, I finally got it. I struggled with feeling “I’m not enough” because my whole life I had been going to the wrong source for validation of my self-worth.
- People rejected me, so I felt I must be defective.
- People had abused me, so I must be dirty and weak.
- People left me, so I must be unlovable.
- People hurt me, so I must be insignificant.
- People died tragically, so my life doesn’t really matter.
- People compare me to other women, so I must not be beautiful enough.
And I was always measuring my value against worldly standards that defined beautiful that were always a moving target based on who’s hot and what’s not. I remember when wearing a size 6 was considered being thin and now it’s a size 0 or 00 or even 000. Is that really a thing? Or when bushy, natural eyebrows were all the rage so you were told to never pluck and then thin eyebrows were in and everyone plucked them all off and now you get them stenciled on because they never grow back big and bushy after you pluck them, do they ladies? Or when wide hips and athletic thighs that rubbed together (hello, Marilyn Monroe) were attractive and now thighs aren’t supposed to touch (says who???). The standards keep changing, but guess what? Our true identity does not. I am not my thighs. So the question is, do you know your true identity or are you realizing that you are on the hamster wheel of never good enough in the eyes of the world (or your mom, or your ex-husband or whoever told spoke into you the lie that who you are is not enough)?
If people didn’t make me then they don’t get to define me. In the words of Steven Furtick, “my Maker is my mirror.” People don’t assign our value, but how often do we act like they do? Have you given power to someone in your past to define your value with their words? Have you allowed what someone did to you out of their own brokenness to define yourself as broken? We forget (or perhaps have never known) who we are is rooted in Who made us.
The Creator knows what He put in us. He gave us everything we need to do what He has called us to do. This is truth and wisdom for those of us who are seeking it. What if you lived this truth?
The world wants us to compare ourselves to past versions of ourselves and everyone around us (who are also trying to prove who they are) so we do more, buy more, post more, eat more, diet more, go to the gym more, accumulate more - do you see a theme of consumerism? We are being consumed by things that can’t satisfy what our appetite is really for - to be fully known and loved, which can only be fulfilled through God.
When it comes to identity, we need to know
- we have been created in the image of God
- we are protected and identified by our faith in Jesus
- every deliverance is in our salvation
- we have access to everything we need to have life abundantly
- the GREAT I AM will fulfill our every need perfectly and completely
- we are not defined by what we do, but by Who we belong to
...then we never have to strive for approval, people please for acceptance, use food to cope, drink alcohol to numb, step on a scale for validation, compare ourselves for significance or manipulate for intimacy.
Let’s talk about food for a moment. God made food for us to nourish our bodies, give us strength and celebrate this life and enjoy the people we love. But the world has made food an inconvenience, commodity, distraction and a weapon to battle and control our bodies. Food has taken on roles it was never intended for. And I believe, something deep inside of us wants to enjoy it and use it to take care of our bodies, but our culture has wrapped fear, control, obsession and guilt around it.
The bible says that God will be revealed in things seen and unseen. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20. Science reveals God. More now than ever before, Science is proving the God of the Bible. Astrophysicists who are atheists are now admitting the existence of something beyond the expanding Universe. Laminen, which holds every cell in our body together like a stitch, is in the shape of a cross. The smallest particle is a pocket of light energy - does “let there be light” sound familiar.The Bible is the only “religious” book that chronicles the creation of the universe, earth and all its inhabitants (including us) and does it accurately even though over the last 3,000 years many theories (that were thought to be absolute truth like the world being flat) have come and gone, but as we get closer to the truth we are seeing that the Bible got it right. It use to be believed that the mind was plastic and could not be changed, but science has revealed that the brain can be rewired (called neuroplasticity) and the Bible has always said, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Amazing.
That whole paragraph was to lead to this. Science is designed to reveal God, not BE god. Science reveals that foods have incredible properties to nourish, heal and nurture our bodies. Real, whole foods were made to perfectly support our bodies. Thank you God for this perfect system. But then we tried to do it better, cheaper, quicker, right?
What we have now is science no longer just reveals the presence of God, but science now focuses on changing what is already perfect. Now, science creates food. Additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, genetically modified foods, flavors, etc. are being sold to us as “improvements” to our lives, but improvement of what? To allow us to do more at work instead of spending time preparing our own meals? To allow us to enjoy the pleasure of taste without any calories? To allow us to feed the hungry who are now suffering from western diseases such as diabetes, depression and heart disease? To overproduce and over consume so we can now obsess about our weight and create more lifestyle diseases that take us off purpose? Seriously. You can’t perfect what God has created.
Joy and peace in every area of our lives is available, but it may not be accessible. We don’t just get access to the joy and peace we desire. We have to access our freedom. My passion is health - mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. I cannot give the women I work with a bunch of how-to’s and a ra-ra session each week and expect them to live free from what has held them captive in their weight/self-worth/confidence/identity. They need revelation and transformation that is only possible by tending to the wounds that got covered with a bandaid, but never healed.
A wound that isn’t properly dealt with becomes an infection. The infections from our wounds leads to displaced identities. Many of us are walking around with invisible bleeding that is leading to a slow death of hope and our faith. Changing the number on the scale isn’t the solution, it’s changing how you view yourself, how you use food and how you live on purpose. This happens through the process of redefining your identity so you can access the power of God that lives inside of you. God doesn’t want you to “do”, He wants you to “be”. The goals is not to find your purpose, it’s to be who God has called you to be - then you will live in your purpose.
Whew. This was a hard one to write. I struggle to find the words in the human vocabulary to explain the eternal implications of letting go of worldly identification and fulfillment. There’s more to this life than the sufferings, the struggles and the pressure. There is beauty, love, hope, faith, freedom that is uncovered and revealed when we allow God to work through the pain. If you would like to know more about how I support women on this journey, perhaps you are ready for a free coaching session with me ---> here.