I used to worry a lot. I don’t know what I worried about, I just remember labeling myself as a worrier. After a while that habit subsided and I lived happy carefree years trusting in the Lord and skipping through fields of flowers (ok, maybe I just dreamed the part about the flowers). But within the past couple of weeks I have noticed that I have picked the habit back up. The worries have multiplied and taken over.
I worry that I am not thin enough and I worry that my apartment should be cleaner. I worry that all my friends will eventually realize I am weird and decide not to be friends with me (no exaggeration) and I worry that the text/email/message I just sent was super dumb as I chastise myself for not being cooler. I worry that I will never find time to do laundry and then I will have to wear all the clothes I don’t like and then of course people won’t want to hang out with me anymore...get the picture? I have been consumed by these superficial worries that cause me to always second guess and apologize for myself. I have self-labeled it as a fear of inadequacy but I don’t know where it is coming from. Why now? What happened to the carefree fields of flowers?
Then I begin to think. In my classes on poverty and development we discuss the lies that the poor believe which contribute to their marred identity and resulting poverty. Marred identity is in part only realizing the bad parts of your story, the darkness and the pain. The lies that the poor believe come from the powerful, the non-poor, and inadequate world-views, and as I listen in class this idea of marred identity makes complete sense to me in terms of the poor. I take copious notes and I make extensive plans for my future ministry, and I praise God for revealing this knowledge to me.
But never once have I sat back and realized that it is not just the poor who are believing lies.
Perhaps it isn’t such a stretch to say that this white, middle-class, American, Christian that sits in the chair at Fuller Seminary also has a bit of a marred identity at the moment. Perhaps I have begun to listen to the lies that say I’m not good enough the way I am, or the lies that tell me my personality is somehow undesirable. It is the lies that say my worth is found in my humor, my outfit, my texting skills, or whatever else you want to fill in the blank with. The fact of the matter is that I too have a marred identity, and I too need to write a new narrative. It seems that I might need to take what I am learning in class and actually apply it to myself (who knew!).
The truth is, just as I seek to empower the poor, so too do I need God to come into my heart and empower me. I can’t be super woman and “fix” the poor, but I can walk beside them as we both figure out what lies we have held on to, and as we both work to let those lies go and let the truth of God seep into the scratched pieces of our hearts.
I will conclude by saying this: Satan is good at lying. And I don’t think it is a coincidence that at the same time that God gives me a serious, practical vision for serving Him, I have begun to doubt myself. It is no coincidence that when God tells me “You are able, you can do this” that a little voice also says, “Yea, but if you say that stupid thing no one is going to like you.” Satan is sneaky and when we aren’t looking he will strategically try to throw you off course. But I serve a God who is bigger. I serve a God who made me just the way I am because He has a plan for me. I serve a God who blesses me with friends new and old who support me and value me as much as I value them.
So I started this post off with a worry problem and I end it with the truth of God revealed to me. It is time to start reconstructing the narrative of lies with a narrative of truths. It is time to finish well and happy here at Fuller, because my life is good and awesome.
And let me tell you, happiness and joy are way more satisfying than worry.