We live in a society that constantly confuses its identity. We are groping blindly in the dark for a place to belong. We have really taken the extra step to ensure that we don’t just have human rights, but we have a right to choose whatever identity we want. All you have to do is put your mind to it and make sure no one gets in your way. We think that if you are unhappy with yourself, it is probably someone else’s fault. If we fix what is wrong with everyone else, then maybe we will be comfortable with ourselves.
For example, we give all sorts of criteria to define men, from finances to behavior. We tell them that true men are successful. True men can control their women; they get lots of sex. True men are rough and tough. A true man can provide. A true man can lead. A true man is running from his past to get to something better. A true man seeks and does what he wants. A true man is confident in all his decisions; he doesn’t make mistakes. He is brave and stands up to the biggest threats, and still comes out victorious. He masters everything and is good at what he does. Ideally, he is so manly that every other guy hopes to one day be like him. If you don’t meet most of those criteria, then you are not a true man, and need to find another classification. This is all a distortion of truth.
We give, perhaps more, criteria to define women. We empower them with the assurance that they should be able to take care of themselves because sometimes men just don’t make the cut. A true woman, after all, is strong and independent; she doesn’t need a man to complete her. She is often alone, but likes it that way. A true woman is the perfect balance of beauty and brains. She is successful and decisive. She wont allow herself to be pushed around by anyone. When she does decide to allow a man to be in her life, she will settle down and become the perfect mother. She is the true parent; she takes care of and raises the kids, while providing for the family just as much as the father. She can cook anything, and knows everything. She has lots of friends, and is totally loyal to them. She takes care of her body, but not because she sees a problem with herself. She is happy with herself because society doesn’t get to define what is pretty and what is ugly. If you don’t meet this criteria you either need to find a different category in which to belong, or you are simply broken–not woman enough. This is also a distortion of truth.
What would you say if I told you that life wasn’t supposed to be this way? What would you say if I told you that the damsel in distress was always supposed to be rescued by the brave hero? What would you say if I told you that after her rescue, the damsel and hero live forever in constant adventure? You may think that these are just fairy tales, but that is actually what we were made for. And deep down, we know it’s true. Why else would we write stories about it? Why else would we be so moved when we see a movie about it? Why else would we want it so much? Then comes the bigger question: WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT?
You see, there would be no need to rescue the damsel if there was no villain. In our story, that villain is Satan. This villain came along while everything was going well, and imprisoned our hearts; he trapped us with dissatisfaction. “Is this really enough for you? Are YOU even enough for you?” This prison makes us ashamed of what we are. This prison teases us, promising that we can get out if we just try hard enough. This prison keeps us isolated by pointing out other people’s mistakes; it seems better to do everything ourselves. This prison makes us believe that this is all there is in life. This prison is sin. Jesus freed us from that prison, but it doesn’t look like anything has changed.
You see, we have been living in this prison for so long that we have forgotten who we are. The villain has successfully distorted our identities. Men have forgotten how to be men; they have lost the will to rescue the beautiful woman. They’ve chosen to be passive rather than passionate. Women have forgotten how to be women; they’ve lost all hope of rescue, choosing instead to hope that they can do it themselves or that maybe they aren’t in need of rescue at all. There is no hope of a romantic, shared adventure.
This is how Satan has distorted our identities. But if you remember, this would only be the beginning in a fairy tale. This means that there can, and will be a happy ending, but we will need to fight for it. Before anything, though, we need to WAKE UP.