Monday Manifesto #8: Today I Will Live Like a Lily

Author: Bo Stern | | @bolovesjoe

One episode of The Bachelor or Real Housewives of Virtually Anywhere, and I am convinced: This world is weird, you guys. It is full of toxic insecurity, steeped in the weighty sickness of anxiety  (Am I pretty enough?  Rich enough? Thin enough?)  and the frantic drip, drip, drip of  an invisible I.V. pumping lethal doses of competition and fear into the veins of the victims. And - plot twist! - we are the victims. I’m not a rich housewife, but my happiness has often been strangled by the very same cycle:  Comparison produces a sense of unworthiness which produces shame which produces criticism and hateful behavior toward those that seem to have more of what I want or less of what I don’t want.   

I’d like to blame this on our media-obsessed society, but it’s not actually new at all - it’s as old as humanity.  In fact,  Jesus addressed this very behavior and he gave it the perfect name:  Spinning. 

"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  Luke 12:27  (NAS) 

Though He promised my identity was secure, and that He would provide for my needs, still I spin. And work. And fret. And I don’t usually realize I’m doing it until I’m dizzy, disoriented and exhausted. So, just in case you’re a sometimes-spinner, too - here are a few signs to watch for:

  • We spin when we obsess over every detail of an outfit, every wrinkle on our face, and every extra pound we carry, feeling that our inadequacies disqualify or diminish us.  

  • We spin when we cater to the chants from the cheap seats.

  • We spin when we tear others down subtilely in order to feel better temporarily.

  • We spin when we sacrifice our true selves in order to conform to a label someone else has slapped on us:  The smart girl, the sporty girl, the pretty one, the funny one. 

  • We spin when we work, work, work for the approval of the crowd rather than the applause of heaven.  

  • We spin when we exaggerate our own accomplishments or downplay our own failures. 

  • We spin when we frantically curate our social media streams.  

This week’s manifesto is unique from the rest.  We usually give you several one-sentence word bullets to pick up and shoot into your mindset.  This time, we have a full paragraph - based on the words of Jesus - to memorize and keep at the ready to use every time you’re tempted to spin for survival.  Take it one line at a time, and before you know it you’ll be living it loud.  

Today I want to live like a lily. Lovely, because I am loved. I will not toil through the anxious fields, digging frantic through the dirt for my own security. I refuse to spin ‘round, ‘round, ‘round, in a mad rush to build my own back-up plans, lest the Creator’s promise of acceptance fall through. I will stand today in fields of grace, covered in His kindness and certain of His affection. Today I want to live like a lily.

We’d love to know in the comments if you’re brave enough to share: How are you going to live like a lily this week?

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Whitney Parnell2 Comments