Small confession: I do my best thinking/venting/stewing through imaginary conversations…typically with people I would never in real life bring up the particular topic. Earlier today, I was having one of these…conversations…about one of my oh so favorite topics. The topic with which some of you must think I’m obsessed. I promise I actually do think, talk, and write about other things (scout’s honor!). That’s right! you guessed it! Being single!!!
Before you roll your eyes and close the tab, give this post a chance.
So, I was thinking about how many beautiful, intelligent, absolutely fabulous single women there are in my church back home in DC. I mean, if I were a guy, I would be in heaven. Every single one of the single ladies is stunningly beautiful, in my opinion, and, when thinking about the type of work these women do, whether professionally, as volunteers, or in ministry, they are all literally world changers. Every last one of them. The shocking part is that I’m not exaggerating. If you don’t believe me, you can come meet us and find out for yourself.
And then there are the guys (I mean men). They are all equally as handsome and fabulous. I am being serious–drop dead gorgeous, every single one of them. They, too, are doing absolutely amazing things with their lives. But, like most churches in America, there are about twice as many single women as single men. Of the single guys who aren’t dating, some of them have legitimate reasons for not dating, and some of them think they have legitimate reasons.
As a single woman, it’s really easy to blame the single men, and I think the single women do this too often–obviously it’s the men’s fault for not noticing us, not asking us out, etc. Men are humans, too. So, I got to thinking about one of my guys friends and about one of the nonsense reasons he gives for not dating. While he doesn’t use these words, he basically says he’s not good enough. Thinking about him made me realize that many of the men in my life basically don’t think they deserve the kind of woman they want. Today, it made me particularly angry. If I were in the same country as them, I would walk up to each one of them and say, “This is what you always say about yourself. Who lied to you?” Whoever it is, I kind of want to beat them up. These are my friends, nay, brothers, and I happen to love them pretty fiercely.
It was in this moment, though, that I think Holy Spirit whispered in my ear. What is happening here is literally the oldest trick in the book. Go back to Genesis to the fall (it’s in Genesis 3). How did it all go down? The serpent convinced Adam and Eve that God had somehow made a mistake and they weren’t good enough. And, what was the question God asked them afterward? “Who told you you were naked?” What He was really asking was, “Who lied to you and told you you weren’t good enough?”
We all have lies we believe about ourselves. For women, a lot of times it’s that we aren’t skinny enough or pretty enough. In every aspect of our lives, though, we have lies, some of them are little and some are big, that we believe. We’ll never get that promotion, pass that class, get into grad school, go on a date in this decade, get married, have kids, get that dream job, find a job at all, etc. In some area in each of our lives, we believe the lie that we will never be good enough. In order to not believe a lie, we have to know what the truth is. For some of us, we know the truth but just don’t believe it to be true about ourselves. It’s true for everyone but us. For others, we believe the lie out of habit. I think the majority of us fall somewhere in between. In terms of which should come first–breaking the bad habit or believing the truth–I’m not sure what the order is. Do you have to know the truth in order to break the bad habit, or do you have to break the bad habit in order to believe the truth?
Honestly, you probably have to work on both simultaneously. Supposedly, it takes 90 days to break a bad habit or start a good habit. 90 days. It’s really not that long of an amount of time, but we are working against years of lies. The worst thing is that most of these lies are based in some amount of truth. For Adam and Eve, it was believing they weren’t good enough because the serpent convinced them they should be something else. Of course they weren’t exactly like God and didn’t know everything He knew–they were never intended to. However, that doesn’t mean they were defective.
We all probably have multiple lies we believe. We are aware of some of them, and others we are not. So, take one you know about–something you believe you will never be good enough for. First, find the truth. If you aren’t sure what the truth is, find that friend who is always honest with you. They will tell you the truth. May you really won’t pass that class. It may be that you just haven’t been studying enough and the semester is almost over and it’s going to take everything you can to squeak by with a D. Or, maybe underwater basket weaving just isn’t your thing. As much as you want to follow the family tradition, not everyone was made with hands nimble enough to accomplish the task. It’s OK if you are one of those people. Maybe you don’t think you are skinny enough. Look up the ideal weight range for your height and then weigh yourself. If you are in that range, maybe you just need some good friends to help you boost your self esteem. If you are over that range, maybe you need to get off the couch and eat less cheesy poofs. The thing is, we tend to believe we can change the things out of our control or believe there is no way to change things that are actually completely within our power to change.
So, find that one lie you want to get rid of the most. Then, be completely honest with yourself. Ask a friend for help if you need to. First, find out what the truth is. Maybe even write or find a mantra to repeat to yourself every time you find yourself believing that lie (Psalm 139:14 is a good place to start). Second, still being completely honest, decide whether or not you can actually change the situation. If you can’t, part of the truth is understanding and accepting you can’t change it. If you can, actually take the steps to do something about it. What you have to remember is, whether you are accepting things can’t change or taking a step to change things that can, it is completely mental. Next, you need to make a plan. Maybe you do need to lose some weight. If so, make a plan that is actually attainable. Maybe you you haven’t gotten that promotion because you turn in projects late–try getting to work on time on Mondays. Start small. Once you meet that goal, make another small goal. Small goals are attainable and build confidence to meet those bigger goals. Make sure you have a few friends who will both be supportive AND keep you accountable. Ones that continually speak only truth into your life. Make sure one of those friends is someone who has accomplished the goal you are trying to meet. They will know the struggles and won’t give you the cheery answers that don’t actually help when you are thinking of quitting.
Once you get moving in the direction of meeting your goals and believing the truth about yourself, there are two very important steps which you must do. These two steps are the most easily forgotten, but you will never be able to fully get over the lie without them. First, if there was a specific person who lied to you, whether it was a parent, teacher, ex, bully, or even yourself, you need to forgive them. Second, you need to repent for believing that lie. Without these two steps, you can never fully heal because you will be preventing God from coming into your life and healing those old wounds.
So give yourself 90 days. By then, hopefully, you will realize you were never naked to begin with.