“Me do it all by myself!” my two year old daughter exclaims as she pushes the kitchen stool towards me. I’m at the stove scrambling eggs, adjusting my supplies on the counter so as to give her some room to assist. It’s rare that she’ll ask for my help these days, even when she can’t do it on her own. Her independence is bold, maybe a little cheeky, and sometimes just a little bit bitter; just like the coffee I brewed this morning.
I don’t have a problem with her autonomy; but I do often fret about it.
I am a wife, a mom, a friend, a writer - a woman. I am loving a leader, raising the next generation, invested in authentic and vulnerable conversations and I am daily showing up to my home, my marriage, my friendships, my neighborhood, and this laptop. To what end, you might ask? For me, it’s to let Jesus work through me and to see hope and love prevail through these troubling times.
I am a threat. And as such, I am a target.
We all are. My daughter, included.
The problem is that we either might not see ourselves as such or think that we’re immune. We think that the monster that’s trying to destroy us only takes residence outside of us — that it’s only at work in our politics, our churches, our government and our communities. We live in denial of how easily compromised we can become if we take lightly what we consume — what we watch, what we read, what we listen to, and eventually— what we believe. When we’re not viligant, we’re more apt to let the monster in.
I’ve done it. I’ve attempted to feed her and she’s ravenous. She’s swallowed me whole and she’s spit me out. She feeds on this inner desire to know myself more, to love myself better, to feel like I’m capable and qualified. She snacks on my surges of independence and “can do” attitude where I lean hard on my assets and ignore my deficiencies. Her hunger cannot be satiated, it cannot be sustained and always, always - she wants more. It’s never quite enough.
It wasn’t ever supposed to be.
And yet, my daughter and I both live in a world where we’re told that independence is the holy grail of womanhood, where worship songs reflect more self-love than God-love, and where many spend far more time seeing the scriptures through who we are right now (and what we want right now) instead of who He is always and forever more.
Listen, I’ve found myself walking down the path towards self-destruction more than once because I was too busy listening to the applause of those around me, chanting my name, validating my dream and screaming, “YOU DO YOU, GIRL!” I’ve tripped and stumbled because I’ve been too consumed with where I’m going and then in the process, missed where Jesus went. I’ve listened to the Gospel of Me, Myself, and I and often, I’m the one perpetuating it. I’m the first to admit that I like messages that are easy on the ears and junk food for the heart— ones that empower me to believe my own truths and go my own way. After all, I get to decide how to live my life. I am woman. HEAR ME ROAR. Right?
We are not just the target. We are the weapons of warfare in the battle for our hearts.
Can you see it?
We do not need more girls who are self-consumed, self-obsessed, or self-sufficient. We need more women who are wholly consumed with God, obsessed with Jesus our Savior, and who rely daily on the One who is all sufficient. We need more women who lean not on their personal strengths, or daily affirmations, their ever changing enough-ness or even their enneagram number but who are deeply rooted in the Word, who are not offended by the world’s view of them, and who regardless of what others say of them fully believe what God declares over them.
We need fewer girls who are pursuing their self-realized dreams and more women who are obedient to God’s call. We need fewer girls who find satisfaction in being basic and more women who pride themselves on being not of the world. We need fewer girls who want to be self-fulfilled and more women who want to die to themselves in order so that they can live — for Jesus. It’s certainly not the American dream, but it is the Kingdom’s.
We don’t have to squander our time on fighting for our equality, our influence, our prosperity, or our reputation. If we could live assured of our position, if we could live confident in who He says we are, if we could work from a place of God-given promise — then out of the overflow would come the change we are all so desperately seeking.
I think many of us are tired— tired of coming up short every single time we try to be the very best version of ourselves. We’re tired of looking at all the stuff we have to sort through to get to the other side of healing and honestly, we cannot see how to even begin. We’re tired of marching around trying to find ourselves and make our names known. We’re tired of trying to be all the things, do all the things, and accomplish all the things. Mostly, I think we’re tired of trying to find ourselves in a lost world.
The reality is, no amount of self-care or self-discovery will ever save us. Nor will it ever sustain us.
Fortunately, Jesus offers the solution.
We’ve got more important work to do with these lives we’ve been given. Work that deserves our full attention. There are people in our lives who’ve never heard about Jesus and there’s a world that’s dark with injustice that so desperately needs to see the light.
It’s about time that we got over ourselves. Jesus is the only one who can save us. We will never come close. No matter how hard we try.