Monday Manifesto #8: Today I Will Live Like a Lily
Author: Bo Stern | www.sheology.co | @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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