Can I be transparent with you for a moment? Maybe peel back the facade and show the gag reel instead of the highlights (that’s what Facebook is for). The real me struggles with constantly comparing myself with you, with that adorable couple two tables down, and with the charismatic extroverts who can walk into a crowd and literally talk about anything. One of the side effects of a devastating divorce is that I all too often feel “less than”, like a failure at life. That I’ve let my kids down, because more often than not, the time I spend with them is breaking up one petty argument after another. Anxiety and loneliness are frequent guests.
Don’t take my confession the wrong way. Not fishing for encouragement. I have a strong support system of friends and family who care about my heart. They’ve walked by my side every step of the way, remind of God’s grace and have pulled me from the mire, even when I wanted to withdraw.
The problem is that I listen to the wrong voice. I’m prone to it and have a hunch that I am not the only one. We are all familiar with the story of Adam & Eve. The serpent deceives Eve, she eats the forbidden fruit, Adam follows and they realize for the first time in their lives that they are stark naked. Embarrassed by their exposure, they immediately hide in order to medicate their shame. I love God’s response:
He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” – Genesis 3:11 ESV
God knew they were naked. He’s not stupid. But the call to action is “What voice are you listening to?” The Serpent led them down a path of doubt, distorting their perspective of God’s motives. What was intended for liberation (i.e. you are free to eat…) became in their minds limitation (i.e. God just doesn’t want us to become like Him).
There was a critical moment in the Eden narrative. It’s the same moment we all experience where we choose to engage in the wrong conversation. It’s sort of like my cell phone. If I receive a call from someone who is not in my contacts, I don’t pick up. I know that if it is important, the caller will take the time to leave a voicemail. If they don’t leave a message, did I really miss anything? Choose instead to actively ignore the voice that tells you are less than, so that when you see your Heavenly Father on the caller ID, you are more than elated to pick it up and be encouraged.