Acclaimed author Alice Walker wrote The Color Purple in 1982 for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction just a year later. A few years later, Steven Spielberg directed The Color Purple for the wide screen, and now Walker's amazing story can be seen on theater stages around the world.
The story follows the life of Celie, an African American female in the rural South during the 1930's. Celie spends the majority of her life being misused, rejected and overlooked. Sexually abused by the man she believes to be her father, she marries into a loveless, abusive relationship with "Mister." Without a shred of respect for his wife, Mister invites his mistress, Shug Avery, to stay in their home while she recovers from an illness. In a famous scene, Shug lays eyes on Celie for the first time, breaks into a wide grin and yells, "You sho' is ugly!"
After years and years of emotional and physical abuse from those around her, Celie believes the insults others hurl at her. She believes she is ugly and worthless. She believes she is stupid and good for nothing. For many, many years she believes she is unlovable. She is unstable and insecure, and her insecurity leads her to believe lies about herself.
Like Celie, insecurity has impeded my journey to purpose more times than I'd like to admit. It's impeded great men and women in the Bible too. Just ask the great leader Moses.
During the time of Moses' birth, the Pharoah of Egypt had ordered all Hebrew boys to be killed. In order to preserve her son's life, Moses' mother places him in a basket in the Nile River, where Pharoah's daughter finds him. After he is weened, Moses grows up in Pharoah's palace until he reaches adulthood. His life takes a turn, however, when Moses sees an Egyptian guard mercilessly beating a Hebrew slave. Moses kills the Egyptian guard, and attempts to cover it up. Yet his crime is discovered, and a furious Pharoah tries to kill Moses.
Moses escapes Pharoah and flees to Midian, where he hides out as a shepherd. It is while "under the radar" in Midian that God speaks to Moses through the miraculous burning bush. God commands Moses to return to Egypt, go to Pharoah and bring His people out of slavery.
So what's Moses' response? Surely, he's amazed at this awesome calling by the one True God. Surely he's anxious to obey God, and go deliver his people out of Egypt. Surely he's humbled, but ready for the challenge.
Not exactly. Here's what he actually said:
"Who am I, that I should go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" And later he said, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?" He even went on to say, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." Exodus 3:11, 4:1,10Moses had a serious problem with insecurity. But check out God's response (and imagine a thunderous force and volume behind it):
"Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." Exodus 4:11-12All Moses had to do was "go." God promised to do the rest. He'd fill in the blanks. But Moses still resisted his calling, and God named Moses' brother Aaron spokesperson. Moses forfeited God's complete purpose for his life because of fear and insecurity. How often have you and I done the same?
Here's an excerpt from Beth's first chapter "Mad Enough to Change":
"I'm seriously ticked. Not just for myself. I'm feeling ticked for the whole mess of us born with a pair of X chromosomes. After a quarter of a century surrounded by girls ranging all the way from kindergarteners to those resting in pink liners inside caskets, I've come to this loving conclusion: we need help. I need help. Something more than what we're getting.
Honestly, is there no validation for our womanhood apart from a man? I say this with respect and great compassion: we're attempting to get our security from a gender that doesn't really have much to spare. Our culture is just as merciless on men as it is on women. Their insecurities take different shapes, but make no mistake: they've got them. You know it. I know it.
"Are we honestly going to insist on drawing our security from people -- men or women -- who are oblivious to the inordinate amount of weight we give to their estimation of us? Seriously? The thought is exhausting. The reality is ultimately debilitating.
"I want some soul-deep security drawn from a source that never runs dry and never disparages us for requiring it. We need a place we can go when, as much as we loath it, we are needy and hysterical. I don't know about you, but I need someone who will love me when I hate myself. And yes someone who will love me again and again until I kiss this terrestrial sod good-bye."Who is this source we can go to that never runs dry? Who is this someone that will love us when we hate ourselves -- the someone that will love us again and again, forever and ever?
That Someone is Jesus. He says we're enough. He says we're fearfully and wonderfully made. He says he loves us with an everlasting love. And He says that nothing, and that means nothing, can separate us from His love.
If He loves us, we should love ourselves. If He accepts us, we should accept ourselves. If He believes we're precious, we should see our amazing worth.
I love the song on Mandisa's What If We Were Real? CD entitled "The Truth About Me." (Click here to listen to this song)
Here's a sampling of the first verse and chorus: