So I don’t know about you, but I heard my fair share of the phrase, “Straighten up!” I think it went like this, “You better straighten yourself up right this minute or I am going to tear your behind up! Do you understand me?” How many of us heard those words? How many of us have spoken those words as mothers? I can raise my hand for sure!
A dear friend brought to me a story in the Bible not too long ago that has griped me to my core. I felt I needed to share it with you.
“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.” Luke 13:10-11
I began to picture this woman. Bent over. Only able to look down. Crippled by a demonic spirit for 18 years. 18 long years of being hunched over, completely unable to straighten herself back up. And the Spirit said to me, “Jena, women are like this all around you, but they are bent over in their soul.”
Has the lies of the enemy caused you to be bent over in your soul?
Your marriage didn’t make it. Your children are walking away from God. You can’t seem to get this weight thing under control. Your dreams have gotten lost in the chaos. A sense of failure looms over you like a weight. The heaviness of shame for not being enough: pretty enough, smart enough, capable enough, competent enough, has had you hunched over in your soul for years, with no hope to ever straighten back up.
The Spirit then said to me, “Women have lost their DIGNITY.” Dignity. It means “bearing conduct or speech indicative of self-respect; nobility“. Life has not turned out the way we thought it would. We’ve made mistakes. And we are bent over with the weight of it all, looking at the ground, because we THINK we are not worthy of holding our heads up high. Beautiful, beloved ones, Satan has tried to steal our dignity.
What happens when we lose our dignity, our self-respect? We let others run over us because we THINK we deserve that kind of ill treatment anyway. We lower our standards because we feel as though we don’t deserve to even have any standards, since we are such a “screw up” ourselves. So, why not post seductive pictures on social media? Men don’t respect me anyway! And besides, I don’t want to be alone the rest of my life, so what else am I to do? Or why not use foul language? After all, I’m not worth carrying myself with honor and respect, so why be honoring and respectful with my words? Or why not sell out for the all mighty dollar and compromise in the business world to get ahead? I’m not going to make it any other way! And I might as well give in to my kids because I obviously didn’t parent them well, and so at least maybe I can salvage the relationship someway if I go buy the alcohol for them. I’ve screwed them up so badly that I might as well at least try to buy their friendship. And it’s okay that my husband runs around on me and verbally abuses me with his words. I probably deserve it anyway. Dignity lost. Bent over by the lies of an enemy who wants to render you useless.
Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “The Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Jesus came to seek. He came to seek the deep places in your soul that are bent over with lies. He came to straighten out your thoughts so you could straighten back up! Jesus came to save. “Save” is the word “SOZO”. It means that He came to mend, heal, and make whole the broken places in your soul that have weighed you down. Jesus came to seek and to save what was lost. The word “lost” is “apollymi” and means “to render useless; to ruin”. Jesus came to seek and to save the lies of the enemy that have made you think and feel that you are “useless and ruined”.
So what do you do with all of this? What did Jesus do with the crippled lady?
“When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then, He put His hands on her, and immediately, she straightened up and praised God.” Luke 13:12-13
Jesus sees you. And today, right now, He is calling you forward. He wants to restore your dignity. You are not what has been said about you, or what you have believed based on your performance or others assessments of you. You are a daughter of the Most High God. You are the King’s princess. Everything you need is at your grasp. Your Daddy owns it all. There are seeds of greatness in you that Creator God placed in you before you were even born. They are still there. His call on your life is irrevocable. Nothing and no-one can take that away from you. And THAT’S where your dignity lies.
Let Jesus put His hands on you today. The laying on of His hands is a sign of honor, DIGNITY, and blessing. Let Him bless you with His truth over your life that restores your dignity. Let Him straighten out your thoughts about yourself so you can straighten yourself back up again, and praise your God.
Jesus came to straighten us out so we could straighten back up.
Proverbs 31:25 says, “strength and DIGNITY are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”
Every day, put this truth on just like you put on your clothes. Clothe yourself with the strength and dignity of knowing who and Whose you are. There is a generation of women coming behind you: your daughters for some of you, who need to see you walk in dignity so they can develop some dignity of their own. Stand up in who and Whose you are: for yourself and for every woman who desperately needs to see dignity on display.