I’m going to a group study with some girls from work and we are reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. It’s about the fall of man and its affects on the human heart; particularly a woman’s heart.
Woman, in the garden, was made to be a helper, a beautiful life-giver. Women want to know that we are beautiful; and we were. We were the crown of creation, until the fall. Since the fall we have been cursed with dominating and desolate spirits; leaving us trying to control others, or leaving us with an overwhelming sense of loneliness, or a combination of both. That combination, is a recipe for ugliness. Let’s explain this phenomenon so we can start feeling beautiful again.
What made us fall?
The question of trust.
Can we trust God? Eve was convinced God was holding out on her. She wondered if she could trust God’s heart toward her. She wondered what God’s reasoning was when he told her not to eat this one fruit.
Eve couldn’t see that God’s request was out of love.
“Don’t eat the fruit, because you will die; and I want you to live.”
(Like telling a child not to touch something hot, because it will hurt them.)
Instead, she chose to see it as God withholding love.
“Don’t eat the fruit, or I will kill you.”
(Like telling a child if they touch something hot, you will kill them. Which is ridiculous!)
We continue to believe the exact same thing. We continue to question Gods commands and His motives! Why does he ask us not to covet, or lie, or have affairs? It can’t be that he loves us enough to warn us, because he knows that it will bring us death. It has to be because he wants us to suffer, and struggle, and fear his punishment. Well, which of these sounds like God and which sounds like the lies and perverted/twisted half-truths of the enemy?
What was the curse for our actions?
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” – Gen. 3:16
“the product of sin is death” – Rom. 6:23
Stasi, while contemplating this curse, states,
These things were not supposed to be so, but our sin caused them. Women today still struggle with this curse. We are cursed with loneliness (relational heartache), with the urge to control (especially her man), and with the dominance of men (which is not how things were meant to be, and we are not saying this is a good thing-it is the fruit of the Fall and a sad fact of history.)
Is your vast capacity for intimacy ever filled in a lasting way? Are you comfortable trusting your well-being to someone else? Most women hate their vulnerability. We are not inviting-we are guarded. Most of our energy is spent trying to hide our true selves, and control our worlds to have some sense of security. That self-protective way of relating to others has nothing to do with real love, and nothing to do with deeply trusting God. It is our gut level response to a dangerous world.
The lonely women are certain that if others really knew us, they wouldn’t like us-and we can’t risk the loss of a relationship, so we hide. We hide with angry silences and punishing withdrawals. We hide our truest selves and offer only what we believe is wanted, what is safe. Bringing us into many damaging relationships.
The controlling women, feel like they can’t trust anyone but themselves to do anything. Not allowing children to play, because they might make a mess. She believes that she had to take things into her own hands to get what she wanted. She took the fruit herself, because in her mind, God couldn’t or wouldn’t do it for her, and certainly a man could not.
Are we looking in the right place?
Whether we dominate and control, or withdraw in our desolation and hide, still the ache remains. When we feel the pain, we fill it with shopping sprees, second scoops of ice cream, romance novels, gossip, or anything else that can substitute-for a while-the real thing. But they never satisfy, so we have to continue to fill the emptiness with our indulgent bad habits; forming addictions and wondering if its possible to live without them. We take the fruit. We choose not to trust God. We get taken along the path to sin and broken relationships; And not until we finally break, finally realize that these substitutes will never cure us, do we look to God.
“I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” – Gen. 3:10
We hide from him and others. Masking our pain and unfilled desire for love, for freedom. And He seeks us out! He sees his lover and comes to the rescue
“God called to the Man: “Where are you?” – Gen. 3:9. “Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife” – Gen. 3:21
“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
God had mercy on us, to clothe us and to give us a hope in the image of the first sacrifice, foretelling his plan to come die in our place; to take on the price of our sin on the cross. Now Christ has cleansed us with his blood and clothed us in righteousness through his death. We now have his blessing, and the way out from under the curse that Eve’s/our sin brought. By looking to him we can find wholeness and abundant life.
“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.“ – John 10:10
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him“ – Col. 2:9-10
“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” – John 4:13-14
This past week, of seeking God, has filled every void of loneliness and every void for intimacy. The hunger to know Him, and be known by Him, has been more than enough to fill me up. Luke 24 tells us that a couple of the disciples were walking along talking about Jesus, then Jesus showed up and started explaining things. I had a similar experience yesterday. After thinking and studying the word for a week straight, giving God as much time as I would a boyfriend, He started talking to me. He told me one of his purposes for my life, which blew me away. He showed me the path that he’s had me on and how it would play into this role. He brought up talents that I have thrown away, that He wants to restore and use for His glory. He even taught me more about them and how to use them. He brought up, and cleared up, issues of confusion from past gifts. He is all-knowing. He is intimate. He wants to give me a good life. He has prepared the way. He is guiding me into it even now; even before, when I could not see. I can trust His plan for me. I don’t have to take control of the situation, and I don’t have to hide from him, because he is here to bring healing and break down walls and set up banners of victory. I don’t have to keep him out, because he is safe. He is love. And he is my fortress of protection.