Listen: not in the selfish way, not in the “poor Nat Bru” way (there’s been a little of that, I’m a work in progress, but it’s not my point), but (mainly) in the wonderous way. in the “God made ME” way. In the “Who the heck am i that God created ME?!” way.
Psalm 139 says this:
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when i sit and when i rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can i go from your Spirit?
Where can i flee from your presence?
If i go up to the heavens, you are there;
if i make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If i rise on the wings of the dawn,
if i settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right had will hold me fast.
If i say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
i praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
i know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when i was made in the secret place,
when i was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were i to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand -
when i awake, i am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do i not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
i have nothing but hatred for them;
i count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Now, i want you to stop, and read it again. Seriously, read it again. Right now.
Now read it once more, but this time replace every instance of the word “me”, or “i” or the like, with your name. Breathe. Breathe it in. Rest in that. Feel the weight of the truth.
this is part of the truth of you.
I see so many people looking to people and media to define themselves - its almost unavoidable. Republican, democrat, feminist, dentist, lawyer, artist, etc.
But i’m not talking about the causes you support, your physical appearance, or what hobbies or careers you have. I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about YOU.
Who are you? Outside of the things i just listed, the world cannot define that for you. Your neighbor cannot answer that question for you. Your mom probably does’t even know. But the Lord does, because He created you. He knows just how amazing you are, and He wants to share that with you. He wants to show you how truly amazing you are now, and How much more He means to make of you beautiful children of God.
What do you believe of yourself? What do you find your value in? As a believer, the answer shouldn’t be anything but Jesus. And yet, it often times is. So to my dear brothers and sisters, i’d like to remind you of who you are.
Don’t get me wrong, I too fall into the trap of listening to what other people tell me I am. I hear “you aren’t good enough” when i lose a friend. i hear “you’re too much” when i’m ignored. i hear so many different things through words as well as actions of other people. And yes, sometimes what i hear is truth, the Lord uses His people to speak truth, but people are flawed, even the christ-following ones (shocker, i know - yes that was sarcastic), and not every word is true.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” // Proverbs 18:21
Want to know who He says you are? Want to know what is true? What better place to turn to find the truth about who you are than the Word of your Creator? The One who molded you.
Stop listening to the lies. the Lord shows us exactly who we are in His word. Read it. The Scriptures are bursting with it. Our examples and what the Lord says is ALREADY true of us is in the bible.
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
How did he act? What did he love? What did he weep over? When was he silent and when did he speak? When did he rest and when did he take action? When was he rebuking quietly and when did he turn over tables?
What is true of Jesus, He has said, is true of us - because we have His spirit in us.
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritence in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty stength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms," // Ephesians 1:18-20
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not recieved mercy, but now you have recieved mercy." // 1 Peter 2:9-10
Listen to what people tell you, but test it against what Jesus says. Listen to the Truth. and don’t let anything else attempt to grow in your heart.
Recently I watched a home video of my birth. It was possibly the single most bizarre and amazing thing to watch. I literally watched myself be born. And as i was sitting there, staring at this weird ball of squish and wrinkles that i was as a baby, I had ALL the feelings:
1. It was less gross and creepy than I thought. My nana got very flattering and not offensive angles!
2. it was completely incredible and indescribable. Guys. As I was watching, the Lord was just saying the whole time "I planned this. I made you. I formed you. I thought of you before the world began. I planned every second of your life out. And this is where it began. Your first precious breath, your first cries, the first time your mom and dad ever held you as you cried. I hold you like this daily. I cherish your heartbeat and your breaths and your tears and your giggles and your peaceful slumber. I cherish you completely. I love you. I died for this, for you. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat if I had too.” Not only that but He said “I took care to prepare the world for your arrival, just as your parents do, just as your mother watched what she ate and carried you, grew you for nine months before you came, i prepared the World for YOU, before you entered it, before your parents entered it. You are right where i want you.” I cannot describe the amount of worth that is in each one of us because of Him. We are living breathing creatures and He formed us! WHAT THE HECK?!?!! It's an insanely beautiful truth.
3. I thought to myself the whole time "that giant ball of mush and squish and wrinkles is what and who God created me to be. He made me for a specific purpose and reason that He couldn't have made anyone else for. That little human that's not even really a human yet! Even the time I was born he had planned out. My first cries. AHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" And that doesn't even really describe what I'm trying to say or how I felt/feel.
Moral of the story: you should watch a video of yourself being born if you have access to such a video. It will change your life.
REAL moral of the story: you are so loved. And you were artfully created to be the masterpiece He is forming you into. A masterpiece unlike any other - that shouts the praise and magnificence of its Creator. Every day is another brush stroke and one day we'll be finished, and hanging for eternity in his gallery; praising Him in heaven! And I'm honestly crying right now because it's just so amazing. The video just put me in awe of his love and glory and wonder. What He was telling me through this he wanted me to share with YOU. Because everything he said to me, He is saying to YOU. He cherishes you and He cherishes every moment He's with you. You are SO loved.
Fulfilling and humbling all in one. He said i was THAT worth it. If i wasn’t worth it, If i wasn’t important, I wouldn’t have been conceived, in thought or in body. If you are breathing, He cares. If you are alive, He cares. If you exist at all, He planned it, and He cares so much i cannot even say. Every day there is purpose for your life. Everything you learn, everywhere you go, everyone you meet, every heart-break, every lost job, EVERY PART of your life is SO IMPORTANT. And you are NEVER alone.
I love how A.B. Simpson describes how the Lord guides us and has everything already planned out. “The Holy Spirit is always in advance of us, pressing us on to more than we have yet wholly received and we may be very sure that according to the measure of His inward pressure will always be the external workings of God’s Almighty hand.”
You feel Him calling you somewhere? To someone? For something? GO. What are you waiting for? Jump out of the boat head first and run on that water! GO GO GO! He’s got you.
You feel Him saying “wait, not yet. it isn’t time.” then wait. Why are you so anxious? God has perfect timing. PERFECT TIMING. And when the time is right, He’ll make it happen.
What He cares about, more than anything, more than sending His one and only Son to die the most brutal death and rise three days later for the sins of the world, is YOU. And His word screams this on every page. He didn’t Just die for “the world,” he died for Natalie. For Timothy. For Cecilia. Your name was written on the palm of His hand before the creation of the world, and His palm, your name, was nailed to that cross. A steak was driven through the palm of His hand, right where your name was written. And just as you died with Him, you have risen with Him. Live in that victory, because Jesus is already victorious and has given that gift to us! Live victoriously.
To all of you who have not yet accepted adoption to sonship in Christ and resurrection with Him: all you have to do is step out in faith and give your life to Jesus - to proclaim your belief and love for Him. All that’s required is choosing to accept that radical Love and Grace that sounds crazy, but is fact. The cross is an open invitation that doesn’t expire until your last breath. And we want to share this amazing hope with you. We want you to be part of it.
I just wanted to remind you of how astonishing you ALL are. Truly breathtaking. And immensely precious, cherished, and loved. Whether you know and believe it, or not.