Once upon a time, Adam and Eve were naked and not afraid, hanging out in the garden. They were a supernatural team, naming and taming, sowing and reaping. Eve had total body confidence and didn’t live in fear of carbs or snakes. Then one day, she heard a lie which she chose to believe: God is holding out on you.
Take, eat, you deserve more.
From that moment on, humans began taking matters into their own hands, creating their own little Gardens of Eden, with high fences and ridiculous expectations, trying to be more like God.
In my Eden, I look like Jennifer Aniston, my husband remembers more than half of the conversations we have, and fifteen-year-old girls are super sweet and put their dishes in the dishwasher.
Other people dream of an Eden where red cups have snowflakes and everyone believes exactly the way they do about exactly everything. Some want an Eden where there are no Christians and others want an Eden where there are no Democrats.
Our man-made Edens are fallow ground where only disappointment grows.
Where disappointment grows, fear flourishes, and fear drives us to kill ourselves with striving and kill others with rocks of coveting and competition. And sometimes, with actual rocks.
In my last post, I shared how I get stuck in a rut of bad habits. Many of you said, “Me too!” and I felt less crazy and alone. BLESS YOU. You know who else is like us? The apostle Paul. Check out this excerpt from a letter he wrote to the church in Rome in AD 57:
I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
It’s the heartbreak of Eden that has gone wrong and drives me to take matters into my own hands, to create a world I covet but can never have. I end up thinking God is holding out on me, that he should have created me in the image of Jennifer Aniston and put me in a garden without suffering or struggle, a garden where I have control over my flesh and everyone puts their freaking dishes in the dishwasher. A garden, where I am God.
Here’s the thing: One day, Eden will be restored and everyone will be super sweet and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess and I will not struggle with bad habits or give a rip about dishes in the sink.
So if it is true for the future, why not live like it is true for today?