“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”
Psalm 139:14 (NASB)
As I was pondering what I would write about this month, my thoughts were taken to a very special “gift” I received just a few days ago—one for which I am extremely thankful. It centers on an email I had written to a friend about my plans for the holiday. In the email, I had gone into quite an elaborate explanation of a surprise I had planned for my sister. However, before I sent the message, I apologized for writing too much detail, thinking that my friend would surely be bored and unconcerned with all that I had to say. But when I read his reply, I was blessed beyond measure. My friend actually thanked me for being detailed, and then wrote, “That is how God made you.” Now I can’t say for sure this is exactly what he meant, but what I interpreted was, “God has uniquely created you, and I love and accept you just because you are you.” Wow. I cannot even begin to tell you how much that meant to me. Why? Because I am still prone to believe at times that I am unacceptable, unworthy of being valued. Although the Lord has brought an enormous amount of healing to my life in this area, there can still be that subtle thread of distorted thinking that weaves itself through my thoughts. So through the words of my friend, I believe the Lord was giving me a gentle reminder of the truth, which prompted me to think more deeply about this issue at hand.
I wonder, how much of our lives do we spend trying to be someone other than who God has created us to be? How many times do we believe the lies of the enemy or the world, telling us that we don’t measure up? Or how often do we listen to our own self-degrading thoughts instead of the truth that we have been created in the very image of an awesome God? I am afraid the answer is much, much too often. Authors John and Staci Elderidge write that women fear they are “too much” and “not enough,” all at the same time. “Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy.”
I see this daily in those who come to my office. One young woman has bought into the world’s lie that acceptance and love come only through being thin enough. And so she is literally starving herself to death. Her body is her sacrifice just to be a part of this world. However, it’s not just the women coming for counseling who are assaulted by the lies. I have a friend who is one of the most beautiful, godly women I have ever met. Yet, she consistently calls herself “stupid.” Somewhere along the way she was told, or she decided for herself, that she just wasn’t smart enough. I could continue with endless examples of women who are trapped by this bondage of false identity. And it’s not just women. A man struggles in many of the same ways, wondering if he really “has what it takes” to be a man.
So what are we to do? Through intimacy with God, we can begin to throw off these chains that have so entangled us and instead begin to embrace the truth of what He says about us. And what He says is amazing. We are image bearers of God, chosen before time and space, wholly and dearly loved (Gen. 1:27, Eph. 1:3-6). He has fearfully and wonderfully made us to uniquely express the life of Christ to those we love and serve. My prayer is that this truth would penetrate to the very core of your being, so that your soul would know very well…wonderful are Your works, O God!