I’m not good enough. No one likes me. I don’t fit in. I’m too fat. I need to lose weight. They’re talking about me. I’ll never make it. There’s no way she likes me. I’m not worth it. I can’t get through this. They’re just pretending to like me.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Crushing the Culture of Comparison
I dare you to say these things out loud.
They sound ridiculous. They sound like things a middle-schooler would worry about all day. But we’re not in middle school anymore. And these are the kinds of lies that we believe about ourselves. We’ve been raised in a culture of comparison and live with an enemy who is ruthless. He’s the best liar I know.
I’ve been super passionate about lies lately.
I’m not an angry person. I get passionate about things at times, but I’m not someone who experiences a lot of anger on a regular basis. But lately, I cannot help from becoming infuriated at the lies that we believe about each other and ourselves, and the way they separate us from so much goodness.
Here’s the sitch: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10) and he, unfortunately, is good at what he does. He is manipulative and divisive. But the other half of that verse says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The kicker, and the thing that keeps breaking my heart, is that we have potential for such goodness in our lives. We have a huge, arms open wide invitation for a full life. But it gets lost in confusion the second we start believing anything but truth.
I am starting to notice a pattern among myself and my friends.
The community that I am currently a part of is one of the best things I have ever experienced in my life. I live in a place and with people who are constantly encouraging, supporting, and challenging me in ways that force me to grow, that bring joy to my life, and a real sense of purpose and excitement. I feel like I’ve been drafted to this all-star team, but we keep losing people to this divisive thief and his ridiculous schemes.
Think of a lie or an insecurity that you might struggle with. Maybe you feel like the people in your circle of friends don’t truly care about you. Maybe you think you don’t fit it or you’re not as important or pretty or skinny or talented or stylish as someone else you know. Now, match that insecurity with a recent even like a human mistake, a slip of the tongue, a failure to invite, a funny glance, some whispered words in the corner, and suddenly you no longer have one little insecurity that you typically battle, but a rush of lies flooding your head. Suddenly you’ve gone from feeling ok in the place where you are to drowning in lies about your self-worth.
And the pivotal moment of his scheme: do you believe the lie? Do you choose to agree with the outrageous untruth that is being thrown at you? Or do you stop for a minute to look around at the people that are currently with you? Do you pause to remind yourself how much these people mean to you, and the gift that they are in your life? Do you remind yourself of the One who gave you the blessings of this community, and the way He laid down everything because He says that He wants you to have life to the full?
When we choose to believe the lie, we instantly separate ourselves from this goodness. I’ve watched so many friends believe lies about themselves. And in that pivotal moment where they could reach out to the community that is so ready to embrace their hurt, they back away. This is the jab to the heart for me – to stand in front of someone, speak truth and love to their face, and have them pull back because they choose to believe the lies instead. What a kicker – that you can stand in the middle of the community God has given you, a real fleshed-out example of His love, and instead of running toward grace and healing, pull back because of lies.
When we believe lies, we separate ourselves from God.
We separate ourselves from love.
We separate ourselves from community.
And when we are separate from these things, it only leaves room for more lies.
When we believe that we are unloved, unattractive, and not worth it, we deny His truth, which is love and healing, and we give more power to the one who destroys.
So I get angry. I get upset that we let him separate us from goodness.
I get angry that there are times when I actively choose to believe the lie.
I get passionate when friends that I love find themselves believing that they don’t belong or aren’t cared about.
I find myself raising my voice not because i'm mad at a person, but infuriated that lies are whispered and truth is forgotten.
It breaks my heart when I see someone back away from the goodness of God’s love within a community because of these schemes.
The good news is that truth has power.
The good news is that there does not have to be any fear of lies because, as cheesy as it may sound, good will always triumph over evil if we stick to our guns.
But you have to be willing to toughen up a bit and tough it out.
You have to stick to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Because truth says that we are the recipients of a full life.
So I’m choosing truth.