The Garden of Eden. This was the very first place that a woman was lied to by Satan.
“But the snake said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die! God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.’” Genesis 3:1-5
Eve believed the lie. She disobeyed God as a result, and death entered the world. Satan singled out Eve to feed her deceptive lies about herself and about God. Today, this drama continues to play out in the daughters of Eve – you and me.
There is no way I can cover every single lie Satan tells us. I am simply going to share five lies that I believe are most common among women – from my own experience as a woman and the experiences of women around me. Then, I will share five truths to counteract those deceptions.
1. I am alone.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a woman say, “I just feel so alone,” I’d be a millionaire.
I haven’t met a woman who hasn’t felt this way at some point during her life. It’s one of the enemy’s most basic attacks because if he can isolate us with this lie – he can tell us even more lies and we won’t feel like we have anyone around telling us truth to combat them…because we are alone. Ugh. The vicious cycle.
I’ve absolutely fallen for this lie. Constantly it seems. The reason I know other women fall into it, too?
The few times I have actually conjured up the courage to share with other sisters-in-Christ that I’ve been feeling really alone…usually they all end up saying something along the lines of, “Me, too.” As soon as the light hits the darkness of this lie, it vanishes.
Nowadays, I just assume that when I am feeling crazy alone, it’s probably a good bet that other women around me feel similarly. By coming together, being vulnerable, and getting light on this area of darkness, we can expose this lie for what it is.
The Truth? As a member of The Body of Christ, I am never alone.
2. I must be perfect.
Have you looked in a magazine recently? How about got on Pinterest or Facebook?
Once, I had a Bible study do an exercise where I brought about ten magazines. Based on the images alone we were asking ourselves – what does it mean to be a woman?
The answers varied: tan, fun, spontaneous, smart, white-teethed, professional, witty, philosophical, positive, clever, well-traveled, pretty, mothering, in shape, fashionable, pimple-free, etc.
It was obvious that we, as a collective group, hardly met all the standards of what a woman should be based on these advertisements. If the group couldn’t meet all the standards, one of us on our own didn’t stand a chance. More than ever, I think women are feeling extreme amounts of pressure to appear perfect. It’s sometimes obvious of these pressures in “the world,” but this pressure for perfection can even disguise itself in the Catholic culture at times.
The Truth? God does not expect perfection from us—not this kind. Not even close. Why else did Jesus come to save us? The only perfection God asks from us is a reliance on Him who is perfect. As women, we need to be at peace with less than perfection…from others and especially ourselves.
To combat perfectionism and bring truth forward, part of the equation is being more vulnerable and open about our failings and weaknesses. That’s what breaks down barriers to freedom and allows others to be more themselves.
The challenge is this: Who will break down and admit their struggles first, opening the door for more sisters to walk into the freedom of a life in Jesus Christ?
3. I’ll be happy when _______.
Insert that thing you are currently living for: boyfriend, fiancé, husband, promotion, grade, job offer, medical cure, losing weight, buy a clothing item, have children, find my vocation, have a life others envy, etc.
Check this quote from C.S. Lewis:
“The Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most temporal part of time–for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”
If the enemy can get us to believe the lie to live for the future, he can totally rob us of present grace. Women love to dream about their future. Remember that game M.A.S.H. from grade school? That game where you sat down and listed out all your future life possibilities? Yeah…boys didn’t do that on a regular basis. We did. Because this desire to be deeply concerned about controlling our futures is a temptation for women.
The Truth? The old lie of “I’ll be happy when ____” needs to be replaced by the truth that we can be happy now and forever because Jesus Christ has redeemed us, and we are in relationship with him. And that nothing this side of heaven could ever make us happier than being in that intimate friendship with him.
4. God is actually not good.
When Eve was in the garden, Satan tempted her to doubt God’s goodness. How? By luring Eve to believe that God held out on her.
Most of us don’t consciously believe that God is not really good. And if we do feel it, we would never dare to say out loud, “God is not really good” because intellectually we know better. I think that deep within many of us there is this lurking suspicion that: God may be good to everybody else, but God has not been good to me.
I know I’ve completely identified with that feeling many times in my life. Most especially right now as my husband and I battle infertility. This lie has been so incredibly palpable in my life on a daily basis.
Our suffering doesn’t change God’s goodness. We experience suffering in this life because of the effects of sin, not because God wanted to send down a heap of suffering on us in anger/spite/malice/etc. Sometimes our circumstances just stink.
The Truth? God is still good and worthy of praise. No matter how we think or feel about our circumstances. This may be the hardest truth to remind ourselves of when in the midst of deep and real suffering. A few verses capture this truth about God’s goodness:
“Give thanks to him, bless his name; good indeed is the LORD.” Psalm 100:5
“He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” Romans 8:32
5. My past is unredeemable.
Remember that C.S. Lewis quote earlier when we talked about the future? Same thing applies to the past. The enemy will do anything to keep us from present grace, as that is where the Lord is.
This lie is typically deeper than a few others listed above because invokes deep shame within us for our past sins. It’s all too easy for Christian women who had some colorful life experiences “pre-conversion” to try and shove those memories as deep down as possible. To forget those darker times even existed because thinking about those times bring up feelings of shame.
It’s tempting then to believe Satan’s lie: “I have to bury the past because it’s just too bad.” If anyone really knew about it they wouldn’t want to be my friend or think I was a good Catholic. Even deeper – “God is upset about that part of my life, and it’s too bad for even him to touch.” Even if a woman’s sins of the past have been confessed and absolved, the enemy will still try to get her to believe this lie.
The Truth? The steps to replacing this lie with truth may be a long process. The Sacrament of Confession is the first place to start. There is no sin that Christ can’t forgive. There is a chance that counseling and receiving prayer from others may be necessary. Meditating on this verse and instilling it deep within will also counteract the lie:
“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor. 5:17