Last weekend, I experienced my first women’s retreat at Harvest. I’m not gonna lie—women’s retreats are not my thing. And, despite my near break-down the Monday before the retreat, I survived the weekend, made some new friends, and, more than anything, heard incredible teaching that even still—one week later—continues to stir my heart.
So, the overall theme was simplicity, and we talked about simplicity being the singular focus on Christ, simplicity being not the opposite of complexity but rather the removal of duplicity: those false versions of ourselves. And honestly—while I don’t have the singular-focus-on-Christ thing down, I thought, eh, I’m okay; I am not a duplicitous person. In my mind, people who live a false version of themselves are those people who are performers, loud, in charge, center-stage: the extroverts, the story tellers, the drama queens; they are the ones performing a false version of themselves.
But what I learned is: duplicity is any desire to be more than I am. And any time I desire more, I’m living with a mindset of “lack.” And any time I’m living in lack, I’m living a false version of myself: duplicity. *Gulp.*
I often feel the need for more. More furniture, so people have more places to sit. More stuff on the walls. More curtains. More dishes. More coffee cups. And that’s not where the need for more ends: more beauty, more attraction, more personality. More. More. More.
I want these things because 1) I don’t feel like I am enough; or 2) I am comparing what others have to what I want. Although not consciously, I believe, if I just had more—more furniture, more hair, more personality, I would be more accepted, more fun, maybe have more friends.
Not only does He ask me to surrender the need for more in these areas—He wants me to surrender the greatest area of lack—the greatest desire for more. That desire when I look around, and all of my married friends—with the exception of a handful of newlyweds—have a family. They have 2.5 kids, and a dog, and a house with a swing set. And then I look at my own life, and I feel that deep, dark hole, that void—that area of lack, where I am not enough. When I look at my own life, it’s like check, check, check, oh, wait…
And remember my thinking that duplicitous people were those loud, outgoing, performers? Well, it turns out that any time I shrink back from me—when I’m shy, when I’m intimidated, when I’m afraid, I’m not being “me” either. People aren’t getting to see the real me, the me that Hal gets, the me my family and close friends get.
But God wants me to be content with all that I have—with my race and my season of life. God wants me to be content with me—to know the fullness of who I am in Him and to walk in that, not in a duplicitous version of myself.
Any time I am faced with the desire for more, any time I’m living a false version of myself, I’m not walking in the fullness of who He says I am: that, in Him, I am enough, that, in Him, I have all I need.
Reading through Colossians this morning, I felt overwhelmed by all God says I am. And because I like lists—and because my list of God’s words to me stays taped on my mirror—I created my own “Who I am in Christ” list:
I am qualified (Col 1:12)
I am redeemed and forgiven (Col 1: 14)
I am created for Him (Col 1:16)
I am sustained by Him (Col 1:17)
I am reconciled (Col 1:20-21)
I am holy and blameless (Col 1:22)
I have Christ in me—the hope of glory (Col 1:27)
I am complete in Him (Col 2:10)
I am made alive (Col 2:13)
I am freed from legalism (Col 2:20-23)
I am a new woman (Col 3:10)
Oh that my heart would receive all that He says I am, that I would walk in the confidence of my calling, that I wouldn’t shrink back from the me that so many don’t get to see, that I would run my race in my season of life, and that I would learn to walk in simplicity—in that singular version of me, singularly focused on Him.