Beauty. That was all she wanted – the kind her older sister had. That desire consumed her so, that when she unexpectantly came upon a beauty spell in a book, she ripped out the page and later recited it out loud. She got her wish: to be beautiful, exactly as her older sister was. But she soon found that her wish resulted in the elimination of her own existence.
If you are a Chronicles of Narnia fan, as I am, then you probably already know that this description is about Lucy, the youngest of four siblings on whose adventures the series is based.
As Lucy stands in the mirror looking at herself and full of disillusion with her temporal, newfound beauty, the lion, Aslan, who guides her and her siblings throughout the series, appears.
“Lucy, what have you done, child?”
“I don’t know. It was awful.”
“But you chose it, Lucy.”
“I didn’t mean to choose all of that. I just wanted to be beautiful like Susan, that was all.”
“You wished yourself away and with it much more. Your brothers and sister wouldn’t know Narnia without you, Lucy. You discovered it first. Remember?
“You doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are.”
Child of God, what have you done? As life’s unexpected sucker punches have landed, as you have compared yourself to others, as you have tried to mask the sense of feeling less than – What. Have. You. Done?
Part of the profundity of the interaction between Aslan and Lucy in the aforementioned scene is that Lucy was not consciously wishing that she did not exist. She just wanted to exist in a different way – a way that she believed was better than the way she had been created. What Aslan revealed was that consciously or subconsciously, her desire was the equivalent to wishing herself away. Lucy confesses that she does not know what she has done, but that the experience was awful. Aslan helps her understand that however awful it was, she chose it. “I didn’t mean to choose all of that,” she says. All she wanted was to be beautiful like her sister.
Does that sound somewhat familiar? I didn’t mean to get addicted to drugs, I just wanted to be accepted by my peer group or to find some relief from life’s pains. You don’t know what I’ve been through. You don’t understand. I didn’t mean to fall in love with this person who I know is not good for me, I just wanted to be with someone, to be loved. I did not mean to distance myself from God, I just didn’t want to seem like a fanatic. I wanted to be relatable, in a contemporary way. I didn’t mean to turn my back on God’s call, I just wanted to be a lawyer, a husband, a wife, a parent, a professor, a law enforcement officer, a professional athlete, an entrepreneur. The list is endless.
Child of God, what have you done?
As many of us know or are soon reminded of when we make weakness-based choices, there is always more on the other side that choice than what was originally in our view as we pursued the desire. The beauty of this principle is that the opposite is also true! When we make right, Christ-based decisions, there is far more on the other side of those choices than we initially see. Hallelujah for that!
Recently, I had the opportunity to share this message during a group life coaching class. The topic caused the participants pause. A couple of people said they did not believe they had wished themselves away, but rather that they had suffered from a lack of identity. I reminded them that Lucy had not consciously wished herself away. Like them, she too, lacked as sense of identity. That lack led to her wishing for something that had nothing to do with who she was divinely designed to be. Has your area of lack caused you to morph into, wish look like, act like, live like, or to become something other than who and what you were uniquely designed to be … to doubt your value … to run from who you are?
As Aslan reminded Lucy, it was because of her that her brothers and sister found Narnia, a land where they are royalty and where they fight and overcome evil to help those who cannot fight (and win) for themselves. These innocent people’s destinies are directly linked to the willingness of Lucy and her siblings to answer the call. Whose destiny is tied to your willingness to welcome and embrace the you that was in the mind of God before He formed you in your mother’s womb?
As a culture, we think we know more than the One who did the creating. It shows up in our lives through fruitless chases after wealth and fame, through identity crises – sexual, gender, and otherwise – in romantic relationships where marriage is deemphasized, and in a plethora of other ways.
Hallelujah for Jesus! We have entered Holy Week, and none of our struggles caught Christ off guard. He knew, before we wished to be something or someone other than what and who He wanted, that we would face this dilemma. It did not rattle Him in the slightest. What it did do is compel him to clothe Himself in flesh, travel the painful road to Calvary, die for us, and rise so that we could have access, not only to eternal life, but also to deliverance, wholeness, and right perspective while we are here, in our unglorified human form.
In the words of the song, “Worth,” by Anthony Brown, He (Christ) thought we were worth saving! Knowing that one struggle of humankind would be the struggle of self-worth, He illustrated for us the ultimate example of understood worth – the willingness to not just die, but to first be tortured, publicly shamed, and then put to death – for us! Thank you, Jesus!
Sometimes we forget – especially when we take our eyes off Him and put them on ourselves, our circumstances, materials things, or others. In those times, it is easy to suffer from identity crises, a devalued sense of self, and ultimately to wish ourselves away.
It is when we focus on truth, not our truth, but on the truth that we are able to gain/regain right perspective.
As we move through Holy Week, which just also happens to be the end of the first quarter of this year, I encourage you to finish strong, get right perspective on you, and to enter Resurrection Sunday, which will also be the first day of the second quarter of this year, strong, renewed, and on the journey to fully appreciating the you that was in the mind of God before you were squeezed or cut out of your mother’s womb.
Then, when you are asked, “Child of God, what have you done?” You can answer, “I have embraced the beauty of me that I could not previously see, but that was always in the mind of God!”