I could feel their eyes on me and as they huddled together I knew the sheepish glances my way included conversation. I tried to fill my mind with other things and not the assumptions that were multiplying and emptying me of any self worth I'd woken up with.
I felt less than.
Dawn spent time with some close friends and as they tucked themselves into their hotel room she turned the lock on her own door. Alone. Wanting to be part of a couple. Knowing she'd been forgiven of two failed marriages yet letting the loneliness creep into her heart again. "My flesh haunts me. I feel like I've worked through it but sometimes, because I'm not married, I feel less than."
Jennifer compares herself to other people and even to past versions of herself. The comparison game makes her feel less than.
Jess married a little later than society expects and felt out of sorts over it. Even now, married just a few years and enjoying time with her spouse without having children makes her feel less than in the eyes of others.
Sharon feels the sting of less than when people in her congregation tell her she will never be like the pastor's wife that was at their church before her.
Adessa feels it when she looks inside. The good, the bad, and the ugly taunt her and tell her she is less than.
Shelli feels less than when in conversation with someone and they focus elsewhere unless she is sharing her deep secrets.
Jodi feels less than in almost every area of her life. She sees herself as average. Nothing awful and nothing great.
What makes me feel less than?
My interpretation of the way someone is looking at me.
Illusions of what I see as truth.
Whispers and glances.
A snub from a friend.
The numbers on the scale.
Why do I let what others think of me matter instead of listening to the voice of the one that truly matters? Time will pass and people will think of me what they want to. God's opinion of me is never changing.
"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered. I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me."
Psalm 139:17-18 (NLT)
God is thinking precious thoughts about me. So many of them. I can't even count them.
I can't even. (And people say the Bible isn't relevant...)
What we're doing when we allow the less than to creep into our hearts is nothing more than falling victim to the lies of the enemy. The eternal enemy of our souls is daily creeping around looking for ways to attack. He knows where to hit hardest. He has been studying us our entire lives and knows what will cause us to take a step backwards.
The quickest way to put a halt to this is to call him what he is. A liar. A cheat. A thief. A coward.
The enemy runs at the very name of Jesus. Do not be afraid to use this power that is inside of you. The moment you allow the Lord into your life you are in a battle. When the enemy sees you moving in ways that will hinder his work he attacks.
When he sees me gain momentum he reminds me of things I've done or not done. He tries to fill my mind with shame to get me to a place of complacency. To a place where I'm frozen and unable to do what God has asked me to do. His plans to destroy me are broken when I stand up to him with the power God has given me.
I had it out with him in my kitchen recently. "Devil, you are a liar and I will not listen to your lies. You cannot have control of my mind," I yelled. "In the name of Jesus, leave. Me. Alone."
That thirty second prayer took care of hours of attacks. He left. He had to. There is power in the name of Jesus, yet many of us neglect to use it.
The next time he is filling your mind with the lies of less than remember to use the weapons in your arsenal.