Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Failure (03/01/04)
TITLE: Releasing Me
By Sherri Fulmer Moorer
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We live in a cruel world that holds up an illusion of perfection that can never be attained. Everywhere you turn; there we are see standards set to show how close we are to approaching that illusion. Television, movies, magazines, and books offer advice on how to build strong marriages, families, friendships, finances, and careers. They tell us how to dress, how to act, and how we should look in order to be considered “beautiful”. They offer nuggets of wisdom on how to climb the corporate ladder, make more money, stay in shape, and do more for the people in our lives. Advertising is extremely effective in selling us the “American Dream” and telling us what we want and how to get it. The problem is, all of this self-help fails to achieve the goal of giving you true peace and happiness. It tells you how to be successful in the eyes of a materialistic society, but it never addresses how to be the person God made you to be. I find it ironic that as much as you hear about “finding yourself,” you are encouraged to be everybody but yourself. This advice is for finding yourself through society’s expectations of you, not for finding yourself through Christ.
God did not create us to serve the world, but to serve Him. God told Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5) , and this applies to each and every one of us. Each individual is a unique creation of God, made to serve a specific purpose in the world. You are who you are and where you are for a reason – because the Lord put you there to serve Him. Although we have free choice in how to live, believers make this choice based on the prompting of the Holy Spirit within us. Unfortunately, the world does not value things of the Heavenly kingdom, and the devil will keep using the world to pull you away from that purpose. We will always hear messages of how happiness comes through money, power and fame, but that is success with an empty soul. Satan is using this lie to keep people bound by greed, jealousy, anxiety, hypocrisy, and hate. Christians know this is a trap to draw people away from the power of Christ’s salvation. True happiness comes through being your authentic self and serving the Lord.
It’s no wonder we feel worthless when you think about the messages we get through the media. Everywhere you look, there are beautiful models with perfect figures, graceful actors that always save the day, millionaire CEO’s with spotless mansions, and creative musicians that never miss a beat. We see perfection, and taking in these images corrupts our sense of reality. If you think about it realistically, you realize that these images are polished. The models have personal trainers, the pictures are digitally corrected, actors work off a script, the mansions have a cleaning staff, and the musicians have deleted all the recordings with mistakes. It’s called editing, and it is done to excess to keep us running after the impossible. It’ s no wonder we feel bad about ourselves when we take in all of this perfection and forget the reality behind it. The sooner you remember that we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world, the better you will feel.
Real life doesn’t have designers, make-up artists, scripts, unlimited finances, hired help, or a delete button. We live in the real, imperfect world where all of us have occasional bad hair days, worn off make-up, cluttered homes, broken down car, burned meals, and those awkward situations where we are at a loss for what to say or do. Real life is a bit rough around the edges, and that’s what makes it so interesting. Sometimes the best times are the unexpected surprises.
My favorite Bible verse is Phillipians 3:13-14, which I think of as a guide to true living: “but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” The key to successful living is not making more money or becoming more powerful, but keeping your eyes on the goal, which is Christ. Be true to yourself and everything else will fall into place. The people that really love you aren’t concerned with your looks, financial situation, or housekeeping skills, but with how much you care about them. We are real people living in a real world for a real God, and part of living is accepting the rough edges. So please, release yourself from the unrealistic expectations of this world. Stop trying to be perfect in the eyes of the world and start being yourself through Christ. When you start to feel that you don’t measure up, ask yourself this question: “what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
I am not against the media at all; in fact, I believe it offers wonderful entertainment and allows people in that business to share their God-given gifts. Sometimes, though, I have to turn it off to regain my perspective. Taking time out releases me from the expectations of the world’s illusions and allows me to be the person I am through Christ. Be thankful for the blessings you have, and leave those images of perfection to the professionals, and let God run your show. There’s nothing wrong with taking time out to regain your perspective on reality. Don’t worry; it will still be there when you come back. In entertainment as much as real life, the story never ends.