What is wrong with me? Why does my life feel like it’s falling apart? Why don’t things ever work out for me? Why am I so depressed? Why am I so angry? Why do I have so much anxiety? Will I ever have peace? Will life ever just be normal?
Do any of these questions sound familiar?
In my column last month, I discussed how we are created in God’s image, and His creation is good (Genesis 1). We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Yet, if we are created good, with the purpose to do good, then why are things so bad sometimes?
The answer can be summed up in one word: sin.
Genesis 3 tells the story. Satan entered the garden, deceived Eve, and she and Adam ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. As a result, they suddenly knew they were naked, and they tried to fix their sin by sewing fig leaves together for clothes. When God came to commune with them in the cool of the day, they were afraid, and they hid from him. They immediately started feeling the effects of sin – fear and shame.
We still feel the effects of sin today. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
Sin entered the world and brought a vast array of harmful effects: guilt, shame, rejection, brokenness, hatred, anger, bitterness, strife, envy, fear, jealousy, rage, depression, anxiety and ultimately death.
When we find ourselves in sin, we often react just like Adam and Eve. We try to fix ourselves. We read self-help books, but they don’t help. We try new coping tools, but we still have symptoms of anxiety and depression. We reach out to others for advice and comfort, and then feel overwhelmed and often more confused due to the vast amount of contradictory advice we receive.
When trying to fix ourselves doesn’t work, we hide. Like Adam and Eve with the fig leaves, we cover our sin as best we can. Because we are ashamed, we want to hide it. We try to ignore it. We lie about it. We blame others for it. We make excuses about it. We rationalize it. We pull away from those who care about us, including God and we fall deeper into guilt and shame. Then we struggle with feeling like we aren’t good enough, that we will never measure up, that God could never love or forgive us and that He certainly doesn’t have any good plans for us because we blew it. Sin leads us away from God – it separates us from Him.
While our sin separates us from God, it doesn’t stop God from loving us. God knew we couldn’t fix ourselves. So what did He do? Here’s a hint: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14b)
God crafted a plan to save us from the negative effects and spiritual death caused by sin and because of that plan, our broken identity can be restored. Tune in next month to see how a baby changes everything!
• Stacie is a counselor at Cord of 3. She works with the Child & Adolescent Population and she provides clinical supervision and training at Cord of 3. She is a doctoral candidate in Counselor Education and Supervision.