Have you ever been made to feel “less than?” I think that it’s just part of the human experience (not necessarily specific to your relationship status). Other people will find any excuse they can to put you down, especially when you’re doing well (or at least projecting that you are doing well, even if you’re crumbling inside). The world tells us daily that we aren’t enough. We aren’t pretty enough. We aren’t strong enough. We aren’t skinny or fit enough. We aren’t smart enough. Our hair is too curly. Our skin is never the right shade. Our accomplishments are always lacking. I have news for you, my friend. Every single one of those statements is a big. Fat. Lie!
You may have been made to feel this way by a former boyfriend or girlfriend, a co-worker, a “frenemy,” or even a family member. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of believing these lies! You may be like me and not even be able to tell 100% when something you believe is a lie because for so long it’s been part of your truth!
I’m going to ask you to do a little exercise with me. Bear with me, because, I’ll be honest it’s kind of a weird thing to do. I promise you though, that if you truly do what I ask you to do, you will be able to better recognize how a lie feels inside.
Ok, now that I have you intrigued (hopefully), let’s begin. I want you to think of a statement about yourself that you know with 100% certainty is absolutely NOT true. If you can make it something about your inner character or a deeply held belief this will be much more effective. Now, I want you to say that statement out loud 10 times. I’ll pause here so you can find a secluded area of your home so your roommates and/or family don’t hear you talking to yourself. When I did this exercise with my therapist I was planning to say that I’m a short person (because it is pointed out to me on a near daily basis that I am in fact a “very tall lady”). My therapist did not think that lie would be sufficient for this purpose, so she made me say, “I hate puppies.” Let me tell you, when you love dogs as much as I do, that was really just an awful thing to have to say that disturbed me deep down inside, which made this somewhat of an uncomfortable experience.
As you shout your very obvious lie out loud try to notice how your body feels. Physically you probably felt some kind of tension rising somewhere inside of your body. For me, I always end up feeling the tension in my upper chest and sometimes into my shoulders. That feeling that you noticed is what a lie feels like.
I know, mind blown, right? Perhaps you are more self-aware than I was before I completed this exercise in my therapy session, or perhaps you didn’t feel anything and have no idea what I’m talking about. The point is that lies can take up residence in our minds, our bodies, and even our souls if we are not prudent to remove them before they take root. Lies are like weeds, once they have a root, it takes muscle power and intention to remove them forever. We need to be sure to always root ourselves in truth, God’s truth, so that we can combat those lie weeds before they take over everything!
Lies can lead to shame and as a beloved child of God, I want you know that Jesus took your shame upon himself at the cross. All of the ridicule, all of the deep aching shame that we carry around, all of the embarrassment that our families, friends, and society project onto us will no longer stick because Jesus took that upon himself for our good. Because of Jesus’ selfless sacrifice, we are free to live without the shame that the world casts upon us day in and day out. The shame that you may feel when your mother asks you for the 80th time why you’re not married yet. The shame you feel when your significant other decides that you are just “not enough” for his/her needs and breaks off your relationship. The shame and embarrassment you feel when putting yourself out there to talk to your crush, but he/she won’t give you the time of day.
While our lives on earth may be marred by shame, embarrassment and suffering, it’s always good to dive into the scriptures to see what God’s message for us will be. In 1 Peter 5:10, he tells us “… the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” So no matter how we might see ourselves at our lowest point (too fat, too ugly, too needy, unworthy of anyone’s affection), God loves us more than we can ever comprehend. He has called us each by name to be His children and through Christ we have been given a precious gift. God will not allow us to suffer forever (although in our feeble human minds, it might feel like forever). On the contrary, the bible tells us that God will restore us! He will make us strong, firm, and steadfast! God will give us what we need in order to fulfill His work here on earth and in heaven, and in our case He has gifted us with a time of singleness.
This time is meant to help strengthen us, mold us, and refine us into the people who God has called us to be without the influence of a spouse or significant other. Zechariah 13:9 states “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'” We, as believers, are the one-third of the flock that remains. We are the ones that he wants to keep in order to refine us through our trials. Gold and silver are precious metals that need to be placed in the heat and put under pressure in order to become the beautiful things of value that we see. We are much more precious to God than any gold or silver trinkets could ever be, so it makes sense that He would refine us in similar ways to be His shining lights who represent Him to the world. He allows us to go through trials (whether those be periods of loneliness, shame/ guilt about our past relationships or mistakes we’ve made that have led us to where we are, or even the anger or sadness that comes about after a hard break-up) in order to refine us for His good purpose.
I know that this may not make trials seem any easier (and it’s not necessarily meant to), but just know that God is the one in control. He wants to refine you through your experiences, not destroy you completely. God is not an apprentice metal worker. He is the master of all master workmen, so there’s no way that His “fire,” “pressure,” or trials will ever completely crush you. He loves you and He needs you. He so desperately wants to be in a relationship with you that He sent His only son to be the greatest sacrifice. A sacrifice that takes away all sin, all shame, everything that stands in the way of God having a true connection to your heart and soul. He did this so that we may live in eternity as God’s beloved children with the greatest love ever known.
I encourage you to give your shame and guilt to Jesus. Don’t believe the lies that the enemy feeds you daily. Shame is not something that you deserve because of your previous actions and it’s not something that you need in your life. Do not let it stand between you and God any longer. Jesus came so that we could live in the confidence of God’s love because we will always be enough for God, despite what people may say. We don’t need to live a perfect life, because God knows that we, as humans, are not capable of doing so which is why He sent us Jesus in the first place. So go out in confidence and be a light to the world. And while you’re out there be sure to invite everyone to share at the table of the Lord.