When I was a little girl, probably somewhere around 9 or 10, back when the Devon Sawa and JTT heart throb phenomena hit like a hurricane, I got swept up in the rush like every other girl my age. I bought all the Tiger Beat magazines, tore out all the pictures of Devon and JTT (Andrew Keagan was a close third) and plastered them all over my closet walls which I had created as a small, sacred space dedicated purely to daydreaming about my future marriage to one of these two heroic men. When the movie “Casper” came out and my future husband, Devon was in it, I swooned. The dramatic and romantic scene where he, still in ghost form, says to Christina Ricci, “Can I keep you?” had me in tears and my heart beating outside my chest. I felt like he was speaking straight to my soul. I was so jealous of Christina! Didn’t she know that that was my future husband!? He was supposed to want to keep ME! To this day, she’s not my favorite actress. ☺
Lines like this from movies stand out and become famous, in my opinion, not just because of how romantic they are, but because they speak straight to the deepest desires of every woman’s heart. The desire to be desired. God created us, women specifically, with this deeply hidden craving to be pursued and sought after. Yet it’s more than just a want, it’s an ingrained need. The mistake we make is not pursuing the fulfillment of that need within us; the mistake is in whom we try to find it.
Finding love and being fulfilled/completed by someone else are common themes in society found almost everywhere. From commercials to Hollywood movies to reality TV, the overwhelming message is that we are not enough. We are not good enough as we are and the very core of who we are is somehow flawed and incomplete. Left to our own devices, without the help of a product, a man, a few less pounds, a few extra degrees, a better job, another title, etc we are simply inadequate.
This fallacy was planted in my heart from a very early age. Various experiences and events helped to water that seed throughout my life and eventually, I had grown an immovable tree of self hate, rooted in rotting soil, fertilized with lies. The fruits of that tree were shame, guilt, disgust, fear (of all kinds), perfectionism, self sabotage, codependency, and a constant vein of feeling disposable and not good enough. I felt like a second rate walking disappointment that was not enough and too much, all at once. I felt like I took up too much space and was not worthy of the time and effort I required. I felt like I never measured up and good was never good enough. I did not believe I was worth pursuing or keeping, and I certainly didn’t feel I’d ever be truly seen or desired by anyone. These lies all came straight from the pit of hell, but I adopted them as my truth and gave them a home in my heart.
The word “captivating” has always been one of my favorites. The root “captivate” means to attract, hold the attention of, fascinate, enthrall, charm, dazzle, enchant, please, allure. I have always wanted to be those things, not only to those around me, but also to the world and even to God. Yet I felt I was dreaming an impossible dream. “How will I ever be captivating to anyone? I’m at the very most tolerable.”
I find it interesting how such a beautiful word is so closely connected to a much darker, uglier word. “Captive.” Captive means slave, physically held by force, ensnared, enslaved, caged, bound, imprisoned, restricted, confined.
The lies satan places in our hearts are used to hold us captive. To keep us bound by fear, false beliefs, criticism, comparison and defeat. He has to keep us in bondage in order to stop us from fulfilling our purpose in the kingdom. Satan captivates our attention using anything and everything he can to keep our focus off of God. We, yes all of us, are a threat to his ultimate mission of death and destruction; so the tighter bound he can keep us, the less likely we are to run free for Jesus. The bigger the calling, the tighter the binding.
The good news is that there is nothing in this world that God has not already overcome. That includes satan and all his lies. Just as Satan tries to hold us captive, God does too. But not in a thief in the night, prisoner of war type of way. God does it in a charming, dazzling, heroic way, where He captivates our attention so our eyes look to Him and our hearts beat because of Him. He does it in a way that gives us the freedom to choose Him. We are held captive by satan, but we are captivated by God. Once God captivates a heart, no power of hell can ever take that away. We choose Him because He first chose us.
One of my other favorite words is “redeemed,” or “redemption.” Redeemed means to buy back, to free from what distressed or harms, free from captivity, release from blame or debt, free from consequences of sin, change for the better, remove obligation of payment, exchange for something of value, to make worthwhile.
It has taken me a long time to understand, and I’m still learning to fully accept the truth of God’s character and His heart for me. For years I believed that God hated me as much as I hated me. That He looked down on me in constant disapproval and disdain for the sorry disappointment I was. That He, at best, put up with me. I did not believe he could fully redeem or restore me. I accepted that I may never be fully set free, and that He would likely never be very proud of me. I believed even though I was saved and would (hopefully) still go to heaven, God probably wouldn’t be all that happy to see me when I got there. He would probably look at me with disapproval and say, “Well, you sure screwed up a lot down there. Pretty much failure after disobedient failure. That was tough to watch. You can still come in I guess but you certainly don’t deserve any wings or jewels.” I struggle even still at times to believe God even likes me, much less delights in me or finds me captivating.
I think it has been difficult to release so many of the lies engrained in my heart, and I think I found relationships and continued destructive behaviors that confirmed my worthlessness and not good enoughness, because it was a way to avoid facing myself. If I fully accepted myself, believed the truth that I was worthy and that God delights in me, desires me and is captivated by me, then I’d have no choice but to step outside of those familiar chains that have kept me bound and I’d have to truly live in freedom. Living in complete freedom is a scary thought because it calls me to a bigger purpose. I think I have feared my own freedom and therefore clipped my own wings because I was afraid of how high they might take me. God has sought after me, and for years has tried to set me free; yet I continued to stay in the cage, terrified of my release into true freedom.
The most amazing thing about God is that despite all the ridiculously obscene lies, He continues to relentlessly pursue my heart. He continues to show me truth and awaits my acceptance of His grace.
God has never given up on me, and He never will. He has patiently, lovingly, mercifully and gracefully called me out of the cage and I finally hear Him clearly saying, “Its time to be set free. Fly with me my child. I gave you those wings and I know their capability. Trust me.” I have begun to not only understand but feel that God does see me, He does delight in me, and He is captivated by me. He wants to be my knight in shining armor and my primary love interest…my Casper.
God is teaching me that whether I ever find that need and desire of my heart fulfilled on earth by another human, He is the ultimate desire of my heart. He says, “I created you. I know you. I’ve loved you since the beginning of time and I will love you until the end of time. You, my daughter, are the desire of my heart. You are enough for me, you are good, and I am enough for you. I am enthralled by your beauty. I am for you. I love you because you are mine.
Can I keep you?”
God is the ultimate redeemer. He is more than able. My weakness is not too great for His strength. My failure will not trump His success. My false beliefs cannot negate His truth. My captivity does not hinder His ability to be captivated by me. Nothing changes the fact that I belong to Him and because of that, I can begin to live in freedom.
And so can you!
Just for your listening pleasure, here is a song that so eloquently sums up the message I want to send.
http:// Bethany Dillon – Beautiful – Lyrics HD: http://youtu.be/qadiYVV6n9w