Category Archives: Culture

Lies that Bind

Self 365Scarcity is a mind-fuck.

At some point, we have all bought into the lie that says we don’t have enough. I’m not just talking about stuff, although there is some sort of frantic urgency to get the newest electronic toy phone, snag a copy of the newest hot book, attend the newest conference. We may not be caught in the craze for things, but we have still believed the lie that who we are isn’t enough. We need to be more, to do more, to prove more of ourselves worthy of a place to belong.

This lie, this scarcity culture, this demand to have more, to be more, to be worthy, this is the stuff of sin, the stuff that clings to us, hinders our lives and breaks our spiritual knees. I mean, think about it: if all I can hear is how I am not worthy yet, how I need to be more, how can I ever accept grace, hope, or love? This ravenous hunger to get more, to be better, to prove our worth is part of an overall lie we have wrapped around our hearts: You are not enough and you never will be. We will do anything and everything we can to not face the fear that we are not enough.

Let’s be honest, this isn’t a “we” problem. This is a “me” problem. I am the one who will do anything and everything to not face the fear that I am enough. I am the one that buys into the lie that I am not enough. I am the one who compares myself to those around me, choosing to only see how I don’t measure up. I am the one who scrambles to get more stuff and to somehow prove that I am enough to everyone around me. I am the one ravenous with hunger to get, be, do, and prove more and more. I am the one who is choking on the lies of sin, bound and gagged before the journey of faith even starts. I am the one who can’t accept grace, hope, and love.

I am the one who fears that I don’t have “enough” to keep my shit together.

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I was talking to my friend Esther about this. She told me something sacred, something I treasure, something I think we all need to hear.

The thing I say, over and over again, that I would say, over and over again also to you is: There is room. There is room for who you really are. The world may not think so. But the world is wrong.

I would like to believe that there was a wide open space for us all, an open meadow where we can run and be and be told we are enough.

I hope that what Esther says is true. I would really hate for my fears to be true.

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I really think that this over all mind fuck of scarcity is really part of the sin nature, or “the world” that Paul, James, Peter, and Jesus talk about. This is the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12.1). These are the lies that bind.

John gets it when he “all sin comes down to this: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2.16 – a paraphrase). If the payment for sin, brokenness, lies is death (just the natural result of them, this is what they bring about) then the lusts and pride that trigger in us that need to have more, that need to get it all together “like everyone else” those are the core of the sin nature in us. This is the nature that Paul talks about in Romans 7 “I do what I don’t want to do and I don’t do what I want to”. Paul is saying these lies, this nature, is binding to us. We can’t beat it on our own, we can’t get free of these chains, this scarcity.

So what the hell am I supposed to do?

The typical church answer is Jesus. Somehow coming to God will free us from these lies, this sin, this scarcity. Then again, the church and her culture are full of scarcity. So is more Jesus spirituality, more religion really the solution?

So what’s a boy to do? What’s someone to do who is caught in the mind-fuck, the binds, the lies of scarcity? The typical church answer isn’t going to cut it here. I can’t just slap on the balm of more religion to our addiction to proving myself worthy. There has to be another way, something that can free me from these damnable lies that eat at my worth, myself, my being.

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The thing about salvation is that it is only found by facing death.

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At some point, we just have to call bullshit on the lies. Sometimes, we have to admit our own complicity in perpetuating the lies. Calling it out, speaking the truth about the lies and our need is a freeing action. Truth telling does indeed set us free. It shines a light into the shadows showing the lies to be what they are: lies.

Which is why Jesus urges us to confess to him.

John again “if we confess our sin, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us from all broken relationships” (1 John 1.9 – a paraphrase). There is a freedom in the truth telling, but only if I am willing to face my fears. If I am forever running away from fear of not being enough, trying to feed the beast with accomplishments, stuff, lifestyle, money, sex, power, all I accomplish is deepening the shadows of shame. If however I face the fear, telling Jesus “I don’t think I am enough, and I do so much in my life to hide from that fear”, something happens to the shame, and I am able to hear the truth that I am enough.

Hope, grace, and love are given to me because I am me and God loves me. It’s not about my earnings, accomplishments, or bravery. It is about my being.

Esther is right: there is room for us all; we, they, you, me, he, she – it is enough.

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