I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.
~ Psalm 119:45
I have spent the better part of my life trying to live up to the standards of others. I have compared myself to my friends, family, strangers. Constant need to be like others is like being bound by chains without a key to open the lock of oppression. It is stifling and suffocating. It leaves your bones feeling dry and crushed. Striving to be what you aren’t is akin to wearing a mask…all of the time.
I was raised to compare. I learned from an early age to compare my ‘behind the scenes’ to the ‘highlight reel’ of others. In church my mom would point out the ‘fantasy family’. The family whose father attended church with his brood; the mother-daughter pair perfectly coiffed in complimentary outfits. Sons sitting at attention with hair perfectly placed. I longed for that family. Had my mother not pointed them out, perhaps I would have never noticed. But, as I longed for their family…was someone longing to be part of mine? We do that; we take ourselves out of our own families; placing ourselves (if even for a moment) in someone else’s life. We dream and fantasize about what it would be to be someone other than who we are. I still do that. I think it’s less about wanting to be somewhere else, but rather being anyone but me. It’s a reality I run from daily.
The idea of pictures posted in social media fills me with anxiety…what if I am judged for the tummy that never seems to shrink…or the hair that always seems frizzy? What if they see that we don’t have ipods and ipads and a Pottery Barn life? What if the pictures reveal the struggles we have endured? What if I am rejected because I am not ‘her’ but just ‘me’? What is the fantasy? What are we trying to achieve? What are we striving for, if not for Christ?
Christ could care less what we wear or sit on. He doesn’t care if the house if filled with technology and fancy things…He wants it filled with love. He doesn’t care if the tummy hasn’t shrunk…He cares that it has tenderly carried two healthy babies. The frizzy hair? Doesn’t make my thoughts of Him any less. He sees me as beautiful. All the technology in the world doesn’t draw me closer to Him. Paul and Elijah and Moses didn’t have Apple this or that…they were wired with Christ long before the world was wired by Steve Jobs. He doesn’t need fancy or fantasy. He needs open hearts and minds.
I am learning when I compare myself to others; I draw away from the Lord. I make those things idols. I set my heart on what I will never be…or have. What a shame! Christ must weep at my desires. He must grieve when He sees me rejecting who He created…me.
So, I read this verse…”I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.” When I am walking in the freedom of Christ I am liberated from the chains that bind. I am free to look at myself, my family, our condition and see the hand of God working to make us vessels of His abundant love. I am able to be grateful for what others have separate from who I am. The Lord’s blessings are just those…blessings. He blesses us all differently. He encourages us to use what we have and what we are to further His kingdom. I rest in that freedom.
I repent of my idol-istic tendencies. I give You all of me…I thank You for who I am. I thank you for the person You created me to be. The ipads and ipods may just be distractions. The matching outfits and perfect hair are lovely ideas…but I am more a frizzy hair, bohemian kind of girl. You made me in Your image. You created me for a time such as this. I pray that I may see me as You do. I am beyond grateful for the life you have given me…help me to live it fully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.