I’m learning that lies sometimes hide in the way we tell the truth.
Fun fact: I started therapy last week.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, or if I was expecting much of anything, but I was there and a therapist was there and I already feel like I don’t need to continue. But I might.
Another fun fact: I started reading the Bible last week, too.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, or if I was expecting much of anything, but I was there and the Bible was there, then God showed up and I already feel like I really, really need to continue. And I will.
Eve Bad. Devil Sneaky.
In my previous attempts at sitting still long enough to read through what felt like unnecessary mentions of family trees and birthrights and whatnot, I never made it much further than Genesis. I enjoyed reading the story of creation but found myself distracted by how annoying it was that Eve had to eat that apple (or pomegranate?) and couldn’t be satisfied with the easy, naked life God gave her. Like dang, sis. We’re out here strugglin’ because of you, and we have it bad bad!
[Insert Tyra’s, “We were all rooting for you!” gif here, because obvi.]
But that isn’t the way the story is written.
Why do we see scholars, whether Biblical or literary, going back and forth about who is to blame? It’s either Eve’s fault for taking the bite, or Adam’s fault for not keepin’ control of his rib. Of course, I haven’t read every opinion, but the actual snake seems to slither away from any pointed fingers.
In its manipulation of God’s truth, the serpent lied.
It’s the earliest case of victim-blaming, in my opinion. The world isn’t broken because Satan shapeshifted into a serpent and deceived us all, no, of course not. The world is broken because some hungry, ungrateful chick in the garden was greedy and disobedient and ruined everything for everyone everywhere.
Ah yes. That story. Woman bad. Man aloof. Devil busy. Sounds about right.
Destroying My Idols
I’m happy to report, that my 50-11th attempt at reading the Bible is sticking this time because I started in a different place. It just so happened that the dates for reading the Bible in a year worked out to put me around Ezekiel 37 for my first day. That means I was able to table Genesis and Eve’s transgressions for a bit, to learn about God’s willingness to resurrect dry bones (which I perceived as deferred dreams). There’s a catch, though. Ya gotta do something about your idols first.
My Bible is a journaling Bible, so I’ve had the physical and figurative space to reflect on the scriptures. I’ve noticed that after a long series of missteps, I’ve created an idol of looking like I know what I’m doing. Of starting over to show people that I know how.
Well congrats, Candace. You broke your life to fix it. Cookie?
How I think I’m perceived took center stage long, long, ago. I was the daughter who couldn’t explain where her father was. The black kid in the white class. The skinny one. The smart one. The girlfriend and never the wife. I’ve become obsessed with the optics of my life. Instagram didn’t help.
I blamed Eve for that fateful day in the garden. I shouldn’t have. I’ve blamed myself for my own trauma all this time, not taking into consideration the lies that played a role. It matters what I believe about myself. It matters how I tell the truth.
Somehow I convinced myself that spit-shining the external would hide how broken I felt inside. I believed looking whole was more important than being whole.
The whole truth matters. Being partly to blame matters. When I accepted the full truth of Eve’s story, accepting the full truth of my own story became a possibility. It’s the difference between Candace bad and Candace human. But yes, Devil still busy.
Society never stopped blaming Eve, but God punished Adam, Eve, and the serpent. Our pain is ours to heal, but it didn’t start with us. I think knowing that, is a good first step toward making sure it ends with us. Trusting God above all else would have protected Eve from an entire world of pain. The same is true for us all.
I hope this post inspires you to spend time identifying the truths that need reframing. Looks like I have plenty to discuss in next week’s therapy session.
Candace Aliké Smith is a Dallas-based content writer and intentional living blogger. She founded CandaceAlikéSmith.com in 2015 to help women reclaim their vitality through self-care and self-reflection. Read Candace’s journal entries, and follow her content on holistic beauty, mental wellness, essential oils, non-toxic products, healthy libations, and wellness travel.
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