Deceived by Design

She thinks she can set herself free with a change of pronoun.

She believes a surgeon carved her salvation with his knife.

A specialist sold her on salvation through pharmaceuticals and prescribed her perfection with his pen.

Channeling Grable, Monroe, and Madonna, the artful photographer wrapped her in silky reassurances as she midwifed her rebirth with soft lighting, wine, and a gentle airbrush.

Transformed now into everywoman, she imagines that seeing her face on a magazine cover will facilitate her deliverance.

She’s absorbed like a lotion the notion that beauty will set her free because, why, after all, shouldn’t she be beautiful? She’s used her means to purchase only the best of manufactured perfection and she should know because she’s spent a lifetime loving women.

She offered her hair, throat, and heart on the razor, laser altar of fame and stands exposed, sensing the select cocktail of preferred hormones coursing through her veins as she stands in the Coliseum, trusting the crowd to raise their thumbs and approve her freedom. They’ve assembled to cheer her ascent as she climbs her stairway to heaven.

They will carry her, like a golden idol, on their shoulders through the streets, the airwaves, the supermarket stalls and checkout lines, the blogs, the chat rooms, and the twitter feeds. Confetti will fall wherever she walks like paper rain showering her with the acceptance she imagines will pave the path to her redemption.

Talking heads bobble in sync and call her groundbreaking, progressive, a pioneer but there’s nothing new about her. She’s older than Babel, she predates the Ark, she’s as ancient as the serpent loitering beside the forbidden tree. She’s just another human sensing her need for salvation and trying to find it on a road that isn’t Jesus.

Sadly, others will raise her up on darker wings and she will become a siren luring other broken, aching, lonely souls into a labyrinth of caves where strategic mirrors help darkness masquerade as light. She thinks it’s about her and it is but really she’s bait in a bigger trap which isn’t freedom at all, is it?

She speaks the truth we all know. We were born damaged and wrong. We live most of our lives trying to hide, living in fear that someone will expose our secrets, fearing a greater rejection. We crave release from our mistaken identities. We long to know our true nature and step into the freedom of our true names.

But she hasn’t freed herself with this transformation, which is unfathomably sad. She has only traded one prison for another. Why do the masses smile at her self-deception and call it love? Fine, become another person if that’s what you think your life is about but don’t imagine it’s the path to freedom, honey. It’s just another stairway leading nowhere.

We cannot save ourselves. We can’t save one another. Not even with all the applause and every pill and not even if we cut out our hearts and say our secrets aloud. The towers we build only reach so far but they always end just short of our salvation.

Who will love you enough to tell you the truth? Who will have compassion for the pain you’ve endured, the discomfort, and the sense that something is terribly wrong but not smile while you cut yourself and bleed for attention? Who loves you enough to take the knife from your hands and say there’s someone who loves you just the way you are and who died to grant you a freedom no one can take away, a freedom that is independent of your reflection?

Freedom is available. We can step into our true identities. We can know peace this side of glory even while we inhabit the imperfect vessels that house our immortal souls. But we don’t find it by falling through the looking glass, we find it in the arms of Jesus Christ who has the answers about ourselves no one else can give us, not even our mirrors.

For all the Caitlyn’s and all the Bruce’s and all who agonize with secrets and private agonies and fears, stop listening to the answers you learn from a dark world that has no vision of who you were truly designed to be.

One day, your Creator had an idea and it was you. It was a beautiful, amazing concept and so we were all conceived in love because He loved us before our cells were formed. His transformative power goes beyond gender. It goes deeper than DNA. It changes us on a soul-ular level. If we enter into relationship with Jesus, we step into the glory of our true selves.

No one’s putting that on a magazine cover but it’s art, baby, it’s true art.

Loved ones, let’s not waste this moment decrying the morality of the age or wallowing in self-righteousness. Let’s fall to our knees and ask Jesus how we can die to ourselves and be more transparent so that He shines through. Let’s fast and pray, petitioning God to make us useful in communicating to a world of hurting souls that Jesus is. Let us be students of love and mercy and truth. Lord, give us ears to hear, hearts to love, and tongues that speak truth. Let us be moved by the pain of the lost – moved not to judge but to serve Jesus all the more so that He is glorified and His gospel is spread even to those who will not hear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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    The Conversation

  1. Amen and AMEN. To be transparent enough for other’s to see God’s love and mercy and truth that sustains me is a high call. Thank you for articulating so well.

  2. Carla Allaire says:

    Ditto, Lori, beautiful word.

  3. Kelly says:

    Beautifully powerful! The enemy is on the rise and you have exposed the fuel of his deception. You are so right – we as believers must be prepared to rescue the lost with the love of Christ.

  4. Even So says:

    I tend not to comment on blogs, but I so appreciate your style of writing the the presentation of divine truth. Only as we grasp the love of God are we prepared to speak. Truth delivered with “attitude” is offensive, but delivered in God’s
    love and grace has the power to change hearts.and lives.
    Thank you for your heart poured out in Truth. I am learning how to speak and write the gentleness of the Spirit. Even So

  5. Carmen says:

    Wow, very well written!!

  6. Lisa Herrin says:

    Thank you for sharing your insightful thoughts on a tough subject. This article is not only skillfully written, but also rich in compassion and understanding. Your courage and obedience to our Lord blesses me. Blessings. L’Marie

  7. Kathryn Ross says:

    One of the best responses I have read this week to a tragic scenario. You set the scene like a screenplay, peeling back the veneer of the front page headlines to the gut truth. Meditating on these things.

  8. […] we love that we speak the truth. As an example of that love, I recommend that you read the blogs of Lori Stanley Roeleveld.  She speaks truth, but couches in terms that are palatable, even if the message is not what the […]