There are 795 words after this. That’s under 3 minutes of reading for the average adult.
I write a lot about failure. Specifically, I write a lot about failure as it pertains to womanhood—because, quite honestly, I perpetually feel like a failure at womaning.
It comes up often in my head and heart with the words “not good enough”. Lately, those words have been playing in my head on repeat as I repeatedly come to terms with the fact that most of my friends are married and many are having kids. I want that so badly—but I’m not good enough. That’s why I’m 30 and am seemingly unwanted on the romantic front—I’m not good enough. (I’ll write more on that later. I can feel it welling up inside me like vomit.)
In my own head, I’m not good enough for a plethora of reasons. I won’t list them out here—a lot of them can be found in past (and future) blogs. Summarized, I am a shitty woman.
For a while now, I’ve been working through what’s going on in my heart to make me feel that way—and some of it is the lies I’ve actually been told in life—some of it, I believe, is the voice of The Accuser in my head. The rest of it, however, I’m coming to see is a solid case of idolatry. And the lies enable the idolatry—and the idol enables the lies.
The sermon was on Wrath & Idolatry this last Sunday—and I just so happened to be on the production team, so I got to listen to the sermon three times. Yay. Pastor honed in on Romans 1:25 where “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…”
I have this way of exchanging the truth of God for nearly anything but God’s truth. 1 Corinthians 10 talks about doing all that we do for the glory of God. I’m very good at replacing “for the glory of God” with some sort of self-inflicted KPI. I set my idols up on the shitty pedestals that I built for them—and wonder why they keep failing the standards I’ve set for them.
When I finally decide to examine those idols up close, and rip off the layers of pretty paper that I like to wrap my idols in to hide their filth, I always find the most disgusting version of myself at the core.
It’s like the kid from Sideways Stories from Wayside School who always wears a raincoat—but it’s later discovered that he’s actually just layer after layer of smelly raincoats surrounding a dead rat. It’s easy to call out the outer layers of an idol—food, comfort, lust, acceptance—it gets more uncomfortable when I peel back those smelly raincoats and find myself—the dead rat—at the core.
I am my favorite idol—and I am a terrible god.
The more I mull it over, the more it makes sense to me. It’s no wonder that I struggle so much with feelings of failure and not good enough when I am my own idol—because I am a terrible god. Of course my idols keep failing me (and I, them) because at the core, they’re no god at all. If I was a good enough god to really provide, protect, defend, save myself—I sure as hell wouldn’t need Jesus.
I feel like a failure because the god I worship (me) is a terrible god who can’t deliver on anything. I am my own failing idol. Of course I feel like a failure when I’m worshiping myself as god.
Because my feelings of failure run much deeper than merely believing lies—they are often idolatrous and sinful—a giant fuck you to the savior of my soul—correcting them requires repentance.
I heard Dr. Ben Gutierrez speak on Psalm 3 a decade ago. He spoke about how often in Christendom we think of “lifter of my head” as a “chin up, camper” sort of statement of encouragement—but that’s not at all what it is. The idea of “lifter of my head” is a statement of reconciliation. In that time, when someone had egregiously violated another person—when they realized what they had done, and if they were repentant of their wrong—the offender would kneel, head bowed, in front of the offended and confess. If the offended accepted their repentance, and desired to be reconciled, they would lift the chin of the offender and make eye contact with them.
The only relief I ever experience from those feelings of failure and “not good enough” are when I kneel before the only God worthy of worship, confess that I have chosen to worship myself over him, and he is faithful to lift my head every time—and in that moment when my gaze meets his and I am worshiping the Creator and not the creation (me), there is relief.