Our culture is obsessed with exalting the self. We seek to feel valuable through our appearance, our careers, our hobbies...and the list goes on. The irony is that we live in an age that tells us that we have inherent, intrinsic value, just by being human. Yet, we strive to prove our worth on a daily basis. There is a part of our psyche that seems to testify to the need to have something outside of ourselves demonstrate our worth.
The great oxymoron of life is that we try to imbue an eternal human spirit with meaning from temporal things, things that ever fail and disappoint. And so we keep striving and we keep hiding.
Over the past month, several people told me that they were encouraged by my decision to go without makeup. They spoke of feeling the desire to do the same, feeling bound by the world paradigm that demands, "Prove yourself." But fear is a thief. Fear convinces us that the trade-off won't be worth it. That, if there is any hope of achieving true value, we must keep striving. And so the cycle continues.
The thing that struck me most over the past month is how the world so desperately needs authenticity. A vulnerability that says, "Although I strive, I am not enough." And neither are you. But, admitting vulnerability is not enough. If vulnerability was an end in itself, the human condition would be a shivering clot of insecurity. There is more to the story. Worthiness and value are a reality for the human spirit, but the eternal can only derive meaning from the Eternal.
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. (2 Corinthians 3:4-5).