Smoke and Mirrors

A friend of mine recently visited the Los Angeles area and decided to go on a tour of Hollywood. As the group approached the heart of Hollywood near the Walk of Fame the bus driver said “Whatever you expect Hollywood to be, go ahead and throw it out the window now. It will be nothing like you expect it to be.” As the driver warned, it was certainly not what she had imagined. The Walk of Fame was a full-blown letdown. She recognized very few of the names on the stars in the area where they were dropped off. When she asked where she could find some of the more well-known stars she was informed they were a few blocks down and were not in an area she would want to venture into as a tourist.

A visit to the famed Rodeo Drive resulted in further disappointment. The high-end designer stores were old, plain storefronts lacking in glitz or glamour. And what appears on TV as an endless array of upscale shopping is merely a small area of uninviting stores. Her next stop was The Grove where many celebrities are spotted shopping or surveying the fresh fruits and vegetables at the local Farmer’s Market. This location proved to be much more desirable and she even saw filming taking place for the entertainment show “Extra”. However, from the celebrities she saw that day to the tour of Hollywood, everything was smoke and mirrors. Nothing that she saw in person, including the celebrities, looked anything like they appear on TV.

As women we often hide behind the same smoke and mirrors. By all appearances everything is fine. People see us and we smile and put up a front that everything in our lives is going according to plan. We seemingly have it all together. But when the smoke and mirrors is gone and the mask we wear is removed, many times what is behind it all is a woman who has been robbed of her identity. She questions who she really is. Her identity has been found for so long in her children, her spouse, her position or her title that she’s forgotten who she really is. Women today are defined by images and portrayals in the media that do not line up with the image in which we were created by God. Among many of us today, there is an insatiable desire for beauty and a longing to “fit in” to a world we were never meant to fit into in the first place.

We place false expectations on ourselves that we must take on many roles (wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, worker, volunteer, student, leader, caretaker) and there is no room for mistakes or weakness. We are drowning in our attempt to be everything to everybody by taking on these many roles, many of which were not intended for us. And in some cases, women spend their entire lives trying to prove their worth and value based on a definition of who they should be and not on the biblical definition of who they were created to be. And in a futile attempt to cover up what society defines as weakness, we pretend that we are effectively doing it all and being it all without any negative consequences.

The identity crisis among women lies not in our inability to do all and be all. It lies in our inability to believe in the truth of God’s word. We have allowed ourselves to believe in the altered images we see and the false words spoken to us. Our own insecurities have kept us from the power and joy that comes from walking in the unity of authentic relationships with our sisters in Christ. God’s word says that those who believe in Jesus Christ are the righteousness of God in Christ. Jesus became sin for you so that you might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21). And that you are a child of Abraham by faith and therefore an heir according to the promises God made to Abraham. (Gal. 3:27, 29). You are blessed, chosen, predestined and adopted as one of His own and accepted in the beloved. And in Him you have redemption through His blood and forgiveness of your sins. (Eph. 1:3-7).  You are holy, chosen and a special treasure for the Lord. (Deut. 14:2).

Which definition will you choose to believe? The one masked in smoke and mirrors that isn’t what it seems to be or the one that says you are a treasured possession chosen by your Father in heaven? If your identity is in your role or title or how someone else defines you, you will always question your value and your worth. But when you know who you are in Christ you will know the peace that comes with knowing your true identity. You will know that you are valued and will find unspeakable joy in knowing that you are a treasured possession in the eyes of God. You are not who this world says you are or who someone else says you are. You are who God says you are. Isn’t it time you started believing it?

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