(By Mike Foster)
Today I want to begin with a harsh truth that I must confront about myself and also see in others around me. Most, if not all, of us believe what I call the beautiful lie.
The lie says this is what really counts: to be wealthy, powerful, influential, attractive, admired, talented, connected, known, popular and, above all, valuable.
We must make a life that is worth something to others. We must work at, even compete, to be worth more than others. The world screams at us to hurry up and matter. Our lives become a reaction to this lie.
According to the lie, we cannot allow ourselves to be nothings. To be good for nothing is to be as good as dead. The death that says our lives have no value.
So, we weakly thrash about in a pool of comparison and one-upmanship. Our lives become burdened by the heaviness and unhealthiness of living in this lie. Our joy becomes little to none and our hearts slowly dry up. The only possible outcome of this hurry-up-and-matter hustle is the slow crushing of our souls. We do not realize how sick we are and in need of healing.
God has a truth that He offers. It is real life. A place where our brokenness is redeemed and we are healed! He says we can abandon society’s beautiful lie and He will breathe new life into us, and we can live in wholeness and healing.
I think of the passage in Ezekiel where the Lord leads the prophet through a valley. Ezekiel wrote: “God’s Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of a place where there were dry bones, a graveyard with skeletons piled everywhere, dry and dead. He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun” (37:1-2, MSG). That’s our condition. We’re like dead, dry bones.
And yet God tells Ezekiel to prophesy—to reveal something by divine inspiration—over these bleached and broken things. The prophet does. And in the story the bones come alive. Broken things are made beautiful. Healing is miraculous!
Here’s the point: God breathes life into our dead and imperfect things. So, if we feel that we don’t measure up, that doesn’t mean we have to climb onto the build-your-worth treadmill. We already have worth in God’s eyes, by God’s doing. And our worth is permanent, lasting far longer than any worldly attempt to uphold the beautiful lie.
Are you seeking your wholeness and self-worth through Jesus Christ or through striving to gain others’ approval? The first is healing and wholeness the latter is certain sickness and death.