What a splendid life Eve enjoyed before getting snared by the snake! As I imagine the picturesque life she relished in the garden, I wonder how Eve was so easily tempted. In my mind, it was a bliss-filled paradise, and I can’t fathom her longing for more.
Everything at her fingertips was lush and delicious. Clearly, she wasn’t walking around with “gullible” written across her forehead. She wasn’t advertising her discontent or nagging Adam about her unmet needs.
Despite all that the she had, the enemy dangled a carrot—or in this case, an apple—in front of her.
As the story goes in Genesis 3, Satan targeted Eve. She was tempted to want the only thing she was denied. In the magnificence of Eden, Satan shifted Eve’s focus off the goodness by directing her attention to the one fruit she couldn’t have.
We’ve all had them: times when we shift our perspective. Instead of appreciating the blessings before us, we soil our circumstances by fixating on the negative. We long for the very fruit that tempted Eve—the one that seems to taste better, appears redder, seems juicer—the one that will make life perfect.
One way the enemy gains entry into our lives is by tempting us to switch from keeping a positive attitude to entertaining pessimistic thoughts. This subtle movement is the result of a shift from focusing on the richness of life to zeroing in on what we lack.
The Bible warns us the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8, ESV). I believe he waits until we are wallowing in our own pity party—weak from complaining about our sorry lot in life—to pounce on us and inflict real damage.
I’ve experienced many Eve Moments. Many years ago, I worked for a company with a flexible schedule and a nurturing environment. After a couple years, I found myself desiring change because the pay raise I thought I deserved didn’t happen. The enemy flooded my mind with thoughts that I was worth more, and I chewed on them until I grew disgruntled. I resigned and accepted a position that would pay more.
The enemy dangled the apple (in my case, a bigger paycheck), and I bit right into it. I ran into a new job with the promise of a bright future, but it delivered nothing but misery. What came with my pay increase was a mountain of mental anguish, micromanagement and a boss I couldn’t please. The owner’s abuse and crazy hours were taking a toll on my health, so after three months, I quit. All I had left was a planet of regret—no job, no money and a heaping of humility.
An Eve Moment cost me the best job of my professional career. But it didn’t stop there as my glass-half-empty view of life was also wrecking my personal life.
As a woman in my 30s, I watched most of my friends walk down the aisle into what appeared to be happily-ever-after. I was convinced my life would be complete once I was sporting a ring.
Small glimpses into my married friends’ lives were enough for the enemy to taunt me with what I was missing. I didn’t know their struggles and hardships. I was not privy to their pain, nor did I consider those marriages that had ended in divorce. All I concentrated on was the warped truth: I was being denied the one thing I wanted most—a spouse.
I felt an enormous amount of lack. Convinced I wasn’t worthy enough, I began to believe that somehow God was punishing me for the sins and mistakes of my past.
The truth was I had a great life, amazing friends and a wonderful home. I was secure financially and had freedom to travel at my whim. I was not incomplete in any way, yet I believed I was because if I didn’t have a husband, then nothing mattered.
I was experiencing another “the grass is greener on the other side” moment. I drooled at the possibilities of a future that didn’t exist. I longed for the pie-in-the-sky instead of enjoying the sweetness of the fruit God had placed right in front of me.
I Was a Dating Failure
I badly wanted a husband and settled with someone who wasn’t right for me. When it finally ended, I didn’t learn from my mistake. Instead, I carefully drafted a lineup of “deal breakers”—the laundry list of expectations I hoisted upon every man who dared to ask me out.
I seemed to migrate from one bad guy to the next. I had become a pessimist. I was launching an assault against the unsuspecting suitor the very second I opened the door for the first date. Sadly, my dating life became a self-fulfilling prophesy of one disappointment after the next.
My idea of quality time with a man typically ended with me looking for red flags. I never saw potential because I was too busy seeking out any reason to bail.
Strike one: He doesn’t like summer squash. Strike two: He showed up for a date in dress slacks. Deal breaker: He can’t stand to walk the mall for hours on end and window shop with me.
I repeated this cycle of negativity while scratching my head in sorrow. Why were my friends married while I ventured out on first dates?
My Aha Moment
The light bulb finally went off one day when confiding in a friend about how I loathed singleness. I was lamenting about the string of Mr. Wrongs trailing behind me.
At one point, she pointed out, “You only date men who will never make you happy.” She explained she always saw me married to a very different type of man and described my match opposite from the type of guy I was initially drawn too.
What dawned on me was life-changing: I had no idea what kind of qualities I wanted in a husband.
I could list without a moment’s pause every quality that turned my stomach. I was a negative Nelly—focused on the shortcomings and character flaws of every man I dated rather than celebrating their God-given talents and strengths.
I realized I had no idea what kind of man would make me happy!
All of the Eve Moments were manifesting in my relationships the very thing I didn’t want—men who would let me down and hurt me. I was chasing after sour apples instead of savoring the sweet fruit God had planned for me.
The Bible encourages us to look straight ahead and fix our eyes on what lies before us (Proverbs 4:25, NLT).
After this revelation, I began to date with a shift in how I approached potential suitors. I didn’t look for just someone, but rather I looked for “the one.” I sought to see their heart and not their fashion sense.
I also began to love my life just the way it was. I put clear boundaries around what I would tolerate, but more importantly, I placed a higher value on myself. I refused to stay in situations that would force me to compromise. I ended any relationship when I knew it was not going to lead to marriage. I made no exceptions for cute, fun and adventurous if he didn’t have whole package to go with it.
In Philippians 4:8 we are encouraged to focus on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy.
Once I got out of my own way and began to pursue God’s possibilities, I was open to fall in love. And to my surprise, He brought a man who was exactly as the verse above describes and my wise friend foretold.
I had to get my thought life in order. Once I stopped focusing on the rotten and bruised spots, God was able to bless me with the sweet, delicious fruit I truly longed for.
Today I can still get trapped in Eve Moments. But when I notice things are going a little crazy in my life, I know to stop, sift through my thought life and make adjustments. I know to take a breather and ask myself that often eye-opening question: What are you focused on?