Human Ken and Barbie Dolls: On Finding and Losing Ourselves in the Pursuit Of Self

Justin Jedlica, one of the many “Human Ken Dolls” popping up around the world.

Bringing the message of God’s eternal love to our generation might be more of a challenge than what most of us realize. This is partly due to the fact that today’s popular culture seems to be constantly pushing people into the pursuit of ‘originality’. This post is an exhortation from a Biblical standpoint. According to the dictionary definition, an exhortation is “a speech or discourse that encourages, incites, or earnestly advises”. It’s about finding and losing ourselves in the pursuit of self. It’s about a cultural trend, manhood, womanhood, and personhood. If nothing else, this might be helpful to some young people who live under incredible pressure “to be somebody”, to be “cool” and so on. This might also be helpful to those of you who want to do well as parents and love your children unconditionally, while they go through their process of finding themselves in this crazy world. And crazy world it is.

Take for example one of the many “Human Ken Doll” individuals who have been popping up around the world. What a sad state of mankind we are “privileged” to witness in our lifetime! I wonder how many young people read stories like these and think to themselves “I can’t wait to do this one day!” Hopefully not too many! And please don’t think for a minute I am somehow hateful of this individual. I’m not. I read his story and it made me incredibly sad. The same goes for the Human Barbie lady Valeria Lukyanova from Moldova.

Welcome to a world obsessed with modifying its own visage in a pursuit of “our better version” – physically, that is, not spiritually. How do we articulate the wonderful, simple truths of God, to a generation obsessed with rejecting itself and trying to remake itself in order to find acceptance and popularity?

The truth is we don’t need to be ‘eccentric’ in order to be ‘original’. What makes us ‘great’ is not perfect looks. Furthermore God has already made each one of us an original, inside and out. Even though we are all made of the dust (same chemical elements as nature), we all are in essence a combination of glorified DNA dressed in a body suit, we all have fears and hopes, we all get hungry and thirsty, even while we are all incredibly unique in God’s eyes.

Coming to a place of being aware of “who you are” in your personhood in a healthy way is entirely possible when you come into a loving relationship with our Creator. Psalm 8 is a beautiful prophetic poem and a tribute to this awesome realization – in light of who God is as our Creator and Father.

“…what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet.”

When we recognize others for who they already are, not what we project onto them what they should be, it may be the greatest form of respect one person can render to another. Too many people don’t simply “see” who others are, possibly because they have never experienced the blessedness of having been accepted for who they are themselves. So much of mankind is caught up in the vicious cycle of pressuring each other to become something we are not, based on what someone else thinks we should be.

As we come into Christ, as we transition from darkness to light and as we become grounded in who our Creator is and his great love for us, we gain a firm foundation under our feet. We are aligned with the unchanging, incorruptible, ever just and all powerful God whose verdict of us as his children is “You are now mine. You are now loved and accepted.”

It’s what people do with this verdict that separates us.


Some people hear about the Love and the Life of God but never experience this on a deep, existential, spiritual and even emotional level. They give up on the journey too soon and revert to despair and short-term philosophies in an attempt to spare themselves from the agony of trying to connect with God and not succeeding. This is sad and true for many such people. It’s hard for them to accept that God chooses to reveal himself on his own terms. But that’s one of the things that makes God – God. He gets to prescribe how we connect with him.

As we the Jewish people celebrate Shavuot, we are reminded of how God gave Moses the Law. In it, He prescribed how his covenant people should meet with Him. The time, the place, the way it should work, the clothes the priests were to wear, the utensils to be used. God offers himself to us – on his terms!

Now, it’s true that God is all-present but we can’t manipulate him into “showing up” for us in a personal way just because we decided he needs to show up for us when we think He should. It takes laying down our agenda and coming to him with an attitude of reverence, if we are serious about coming to know Him. We, humans would turn God into our slave and will even abuse him, if our fallen nature was given the chance to be “in charge” of God. Think about that!

But I digress.

Deep inside people who reject God would actually love to experience this God, this Creator of theirs, but they feel like it’s too much work to go through (remember, we are the generation of “instant” coffee and “real time” information). Or they feel as if this was never really meant to be and choose another path.

Some even turn hostile. But I think very few ever indeed descend to a place of truly hating God. Usually God-haters have a story and it’s a very personal and sad story of a loss of some kind. Or some kind of abuse. Either way, when a real deep, personhood-level wound is inflicted on our soul, it generates a deep and sometimes violent reaction, i.e. hate. And when people don’t know who to direct this reaction at, they lash out at the one they think should have protected them from evil. That would be God. Or whatever they think God should be or is.


Most of us have been wounded in some way or another. But some people have been subjected to a deep, personhood altering wound in their psyche. That’s different. There are wounds and there are wounds.

I believe God loves such people no less than all the “good boys and girls”, i.e. those who have come to terms with God and live a life of personal obedience to Him.

So long as people who have rebelled against God don’t cross the line of ‘hating’ God into blaspheming the Holy Spirit, there is hope for them. Sometimes people ‘think’ they hate God when in reality they really don’t, their wounds are producing a reaction to the trauma. Jesus was very explicit that the line that can’t be crossed has to do with blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which is an entirely different type of a response.

Think of the two criminals who were crucified each at Jesus’ side on Calvary. One came to a place of breaking down before God and repenting of his sin, the other one blasphemed God even with his last breath. Let’s not confuse people who have done maybe bad things and have even said harsh things about God, with true, deep-level God-haters who have crossed the line of no return. Judas the Iscariot would be another example of such individuals.


The worst thing is when moralists try to “fix” wounded people. No one really knows how to “fix” people. We can only work with God to love on people and “be there” to the best of our ability.

We also need to be aware of boundaries. A wounded person needs to be made aware of boundaries. Wounded or not, legal, moral, ethical, social and relational (personal) boundaries are for everyone. You may be as wounded as anyone, but you must respect the STOP sign on the street, otherwise you might run over someone and end up in jail as you should.

So woundedness is not an excuse for crime or harassing or abusing others.

The best thing we can do is to accept people in their woundedness, without allowing their woundedness to take over and to begin dominating the “game” of life, to begin rewriting “the rules”, the first principles of what we know to be true and right. On a personal relatioship level, in a family, in a business relationship, at work and in society.


Some of us are content with who God is to us, who He has made us to be and we can’t imagine a greater blessing than to be found seeking to become more like Him, to become more human in fact, more real, warmer, loving and accepting. This is the heart of what it means to be ‘spiritual’, I believe. I don’t care too much about religious activities of one kind or another that leave people cold, hardened, shallow and fanatical, lacking compassion, love and acceptance of others. This is what I call “the religious spirit” and it’s all over the place. It turns people into petty religionists I don’t have much patience for.

Some of us have been wounded. Maybe even at home, by someone who should have given us the most love and affirmation. But instead they hurt us. God has deep compassion and love for such people, even if in their pain they lash out at him or other people.

And yet, there are those who have crossed the line. They have given themselves to evil and have chosen to serve it. We need to be aware of the difference between wounded people who do dumb things out of their woundedness and those who have chosen to serve evil.

Finally, I offer this wisdom from a great American eccentric, student of the world and thinker, whose writings I find very interesting, even though I don’t identify with his belief system and philosophical conclusions. At the end of the day, this is just a common sense truth one could easily observe how it plays out in different contexts and even cultures around the world.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

George Bakalov

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Energy to create God’s world in our world

You and I have been created with the energy to create energy. This energy will either be wasted, or put towards the purpose of God in your life.

For example, according to, “every day, the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. In a lifetime, that is equivalent to driving to the moon and back.”

Whether this is true or not, or exactly how this is calculated, I don’t really know. But we do know that every day we wake up with certain amount of energy which we need in order to function.

The apostle Paul writes to the believers of his time about putting God’s energy to work. We have all been given the energy to create God’s world in our world. We have been given the energy, the ability to build our lives, our families and even our societies according to God’s patterns in this world. The world might never become a paradise on earth (some people believe this is possible), but we all have been called by God to transform it closer to His patterns of life, justice and productivity.

The apostle Paul is telling the believers he is writing to, that in fact he “toils to full exhaustion”, which is the literal translation of what “I labor” means in the Greek (“kopio“). He is “agonizing”, which is how “striving” really translates (“agonizomenos” – to remain “meno” in a state of “agon“, which means to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or genitive case (to endeavor to accomplish something) — fight, labor fervently, strive.).

But the apostle wants to make sure everyone understands the source of both his motivation and energy: it is Christ in him, the Holy Spirit at work in him. God’s energy working in him. (“according to his energeian“), which works in Paul like “dynamite” (“dynamei” – Gr.)

I don’t know about you, but just reading all this, fills me up with faith and energy!

This energy has been given to us who have come into oneness (covenant) with the Lord, primarily so we can:

1) Love the Lord our God with all our mind, heart and strength


2) To love others as we ourselves have been loved by God

But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40

1) On loving the Lord

When we seek God, we surrender to Him, we entrust ourselves to Him and in return we hear from Him words of comfort, direction and correction.

Comfort and reassurance are essential to our lives. We all need them on a ongoing basis, don’t we? The Shepherd of our soul knows just what to say to us, how and when, in order to touch our soul on a deep intimate level. This is how we are reassured. This is how we know deep inside that we are loved, that He is with us and that “everything will be alright” (“all things work together for good”).

Correction is also a form of love, even though many people have experienced various types and degrees of trauma throughout their lives, which prevents them form relating to correction as a way of God loving us. This explains why we have so many “goats” amongst the flock. They know all the right words to say, they have read all the right books and have been to all the important conferences. But deep inside they don’t feel like sheep. On a deep level they abide in fear, a sense of uncertainty and not sensing a personal value (low self-esteem). They despise and fear a life of submission to God because their trauma interprets as hostile everything and anything that has to do with authority figures.

How sad. God is the greatest authority figure ever. All other authority stems from His authority – parental, spousal, legal, societal, professional, etc. James Dobson, in his acclaimed book Dare To Discipline, speaks to this issue, clearly showing that one of the earliest signs of showing parental love is to discipline a child, when the child tests the healthy boundaries set by the parent. It doesn’t feel nice to the child, but it sends a message: the parent so cares of loves the child, that he or she will take the time to apply discipline and reinforce the boundaries that have been set. This means the parent cares and is not just saying some cheap, meaningless words. This is how a child internalizes a sens of “I am important enough” and “I matter enough”, even to the point of my parent following through on what they said I shouldn’t do. “Good, now I know you are committed to me. Now I know you care about me”, is what the child’s brain translates.

Conversely, a parent who doesn’t follow through with discipline, compromises the very integrity if his/her own words, which demoralizes a child, leaves him or her with a sense of being on their own, a sense closer to being alone in a boat in the midst of a storm, rather than a king or a queen sitting on a throne.

All of this correction stuff only works and makes sense within the context of a loving, kind and reassuring parental relationship. He who doesn’t first know how to love and show unconditional love to their child, doesn’t really have the spiritual, moral and ethical right to try to discipline, especially in a way of being firm and strong. This confuses a child and inflicts a wound in their soul, leaving them forever suspicious of the world around them, but most importantly suspicious of those in authority.

Needless to say we have a lot of people out there whose trauma sets them up literally for a life of endless cycle of living in fear and sabotaging themselves and others they are connected with.

The most extreme examples of such cases are those prone to a life of crime, the people who end up populating our already overpopulated prisons.

But don’t be fooled, there are plenty of “high-functioning” goats out there, people you meet every day, who are able to function in various degrees in their lives, yet on a deep level their spiritual and emotional baseline remains fear and anxiety – sometimes throughout their entire lives. Jesus loves the goats, too. However, they are difficult and not too willing to receive the help they need, which is why it’s possible to waste their entire lives running around as wild…well, goats.

When we entrust our lives to Jesus as our Creator, King, Savior and Friend (The Lover of Our Soul), we can finally find true rest. This is what it means “to love yourself” – i.e. to create the space and the time needed to receive God’s love towards you; his comfort, guidance and correction.

As we surrender to Him, we make room for His energy to kick in and to begin energizing our very soul and lives, which energy becomes poured into us in a way that it fills our own need of love and energy, as well as we have excess amounts of it to serve and bless others.

This is how we get to the next arena of God’s energy working in us:

2) Loving our fellow man

Loving our fellow man takes more than just words. It takes time and energy for us to have received God’s love. Likewise, it takes time and energy to love someone else. It’s a whole different matter whether they will receive it or reject it.

  • It takes time and energy to listen, which is one of the primary ways of showing love, appreciation and respect for someone else. Recently, someone I care deeply about, told me that when they spend time with me, they feel like I’m there, giving them my full attention, as if they were the only person in the world that matters to me at that moment. That’s the greatest compliment I could have possibly received. But I wasn’t a good listener for many years. This is something I had to learn about and also learn how to apply in the way I relate to others. I still fail on a regular basis to be a good listener.
  • It takes time and energy to actually “help” people. Words are cheap. In real life there are real situations and the people we tell we care about will need us to be “there” for them. This takes time and energy. People who show up for other people in their time of need, potentially may strike some of the greatest friendships.
  • It takes time and energy for married couples to develop their relationship and even to have sex. Many studies have shown that tiredness is a huge factor in sexless marriages.
  • It takes time and energy to rear children.
  • It takes time and energy to help our parents when they become elderly.
  • It takes time and energy to be a good neighbor to those you live next to, or close by.
  • It takes time and energy to foster good relationships with colleagues, business partners and clients, if you own a business or if you are building a professional career.

In all of this, God desires for us to abide in Him on a daily basis because

“in Him we live and move and have our being”. (Acts 17:28)

Rejecting God leaves us at a terrible place of being on our own when facing the chaos of life and the never ending demand on us by others, by work and by circumstances. It is understandable why people give up on life and others, feeling like they give of themselves but get very little in return. People will always fail us, if this is all we live by. I refuse to depend on what people can do for me. I accept people’s limitations and let people be who they are. My ultimate expectation is with God and he has never let me down.

God desires to be our Primary Source and Provider of life, strength, joy, peace and energy, which we all need all the time. He wants to give us the energy needed to create God’s world in our world. He is good and his love endures forever. Bad things do happen and they will happen. However, this doesn’t change who He is and who He desires to be to us as we go through the journey of life.

George Bakalov

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