Sarah Bessey is the bestselling author of Jesus Feminist. She is an award-winning blogger and writer. Her new book, Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith, will be released in November 2015. She lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia with her husband and their four tinies. You can find her online at www.sarahbessey.com or on Twitter @sarahbessey.
Aren’t we all ready for a detox?
Our vices may not be the usual ones we think of when we hear that word “detox.” Maybe we are the Pharisees, standing beside the alcoholics and the drug dependents, thanking God that we aren’t like these poor miserable souls. Or maybe we are the ones waking up in the morning, swearing that last night was the last time once again. Both so loved.
Perhaps our vices are more socially acceptable or easily hidden or even acclaimed by our culture. We are addicted instead to power. To buying more and dreaming of more to come. To confusing our worth with our net worth. To jumping from experience to experience. To looking a certain way in our jeans or to being able to run farther and faster. To adrenalin, to sex, to a sugar rush, to getting a few more thumbs-up likes on Facebook, to curating a version of our lives for Instagram, to being needed, to being the hero, to being productive, to devouring knowledge for our heads while never letting it seep into our hearts, to believing that our value rises in tandem with the addition of prestigious degrees, to certainty, to doubt.
The things we do to cope with our lives, to avoid obeying the sadness of our times, as Shakespeare wrote to wrap up King Lear, are exhausting. They bring a quick relief but they take more than they ever gave to us. The reasons why we engage in these behaviours, in these habits, in these secrets, are complex, I know. But part of me wonders if it is perhaps because we’ve lost our true identity: beloved.
In Christ, we are the beloved. We are the accepted, we are the rescued, we are more than conquerors as Paul said. And yet that feels almost trite, doesn’t it? It feels like someone saying something untrue because we don’t yet believe it, we don’t know it, we don’t live into our true identity—not yet, anyway. We are coping and we are striving and we are scrabbling and we are just trying to get from one end of the day to the other end of the day without feeling too much, except wanting to feel like maybe we are successful or worthy.
We may need to detox from the lies of our identity, from the labels and the tick boxes and the spreadsheets and the bank statements and the prestigious awards and social media and the scales, while we detox from the behaviours that lock us into prisons. But it's not behaviour modification that we're after—aren’t we all craving a real transformation?
Here is the truth then: in Christ, you have value beyond all of that. No matter your success or your failures as you perceive them, you are loved you are loved you are loved. In the Kingdom of God, you are enough. In fact, God is more than enough—a lavish giver of good gifts, a pursuer, a rescuer, a saviour, a consuming fire, a thirst quenched. Identity is sneaky—the lies seem to anchor like tendrils around the truth. It seems worthwhile to me to begin to sort out the lies tied to our worth and begin to untangle them, to unwrap them. May the Spirit give you courage and strength: this is holy work to look the truth in the eye without the shade of another credit card purchase or another book to read or another drink. More and more and more stuff won’t fix it. Less and less and less of your real human self isn’t going to fix it.
Oh, we are all addicted to something, we’re all in recovery.
And yet ours is the Kingdom of God.