In a world where people sometimes disappoint us, it's easy to give away pieces of ourselves. Sometimes we do it with people who don't even ask for it.
"My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret." Psalm 139:15a (ESV)
It's a mystery the way God sends lessons ... sometimes softly, sometimes suddenly and unexpectedly. I experienced one of these lessons while leading a youth weekend at church recently.
At an evening session, I found a middle-school girl alone in the sanctuary foyer. I sat down and asked her why she wasn't inside.
Her answer had attitude, "Oh, it's all just fake. This whole weekend is about how to be real, how not to be 'posers,' and everybody's all friendly. But when we get back to school, those girls won't even talk to me. That's why I quit coming here."
Her purse contents were spilled on the seat between us, a God-given thing. I reached for her cell phone and asked, "If I picked up your phone and walked off with it, what would you do?"
She looked at me like I was daft. "I'd make you give it back. My life is in that phone!"
Next, I took her tube of lip gloss and asked how much it cost. It was $1.50.
"What would you do if one of those girls you're worried about walked by and took this lip gloss?"
She quickly informed me that she would "Jump 'em."
"Why would you bother getting in a fight over a $1.50 lip gloss?"
Her answer was both obvious and profound, "Because it's mine. It's not theirs."
I looked at her, this little girl-becoming-a-woman. "You're right," I told her. "This lip gloss does not belong to them. It belongs to you. And so does your faith in God. And you have to defend that with at least as much determination as you would this $1.50 lip gloss. Or better yet, your cell phone. You cannot go through life letting other people walk off with what belongs to you and God."
As soon as those words left my mouth, I knew this wasn't a lesson just for this young woman. I too needed to hear my words. In a world where people sometimes disappoint us, it's easy to give away pieces of our faith and of ourselves. We give away pieces to people who don't even ask for them. It can be a natural reaction in a society focused on outward perfection. We do it each time we look at others and feel inferior, not as pretty, not as thin, not as ... whatever.
It's so simple, yet so difficult to grasp the truth found in Psalm 139 that tells us God created us and knew us from the very beginning. The Bible says, "My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret" (vs. 15 ESV). We were only visible to Him as He intricately knit all the parts of our bodies together.
Only a master artist has this ability. Much like someone who weaves together delicate fibers in a tapestry, God took the care to fashion us beautifully. Not only are we perfectly made, but we belong.
God loves the child He created. I like to think of it this way: God Loves Our Secret Selves (G.L.O.S.S.). He has poured beauty into us, into the very parts we often feel are less-than, compared to others.
I've been working on accepting this truth myself since then ... retaining and practicing this lesson.
I am loved. I am okay. I am treasured.
I am His.
Father, I pray I will hold on to the truth that You are a wonderful Creator and made no mistakes when You formed me. Help me value Your thoughts about me more than what others say about me. Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Have you given away pieces of yourself or your confidence in God to people you wouldn't allow to walk off with your lip gloss? Why?
Take time to memorize a few Bible verses about God's ability to create marvelous and beautiful things, and how you belong to Him.
Psalm 139:14b, "Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." (ESV)
1 John 4:4b, "... for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (RSV)