Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Grains of Sand.

 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
 They cannot be numbered!
 I can’t even count them;
 they outnumber the grains of sand! 
Psalm 139: 17 NLT

Chile, back in February...

I was down on the beach with some friends and we were getting ready to play volleyball on the sand. Our vision was to connect with the Chileans that would come play with us, and through those connections we could share Christ's love with them.

Well... like the strong, fiery, woman of God that I am ((that was sarcasm))... I was actually (secretly) more focused on my own insecurities than anything else. (I am laughing as I write this because of how crazy this is..)

Here's what was happening in my brain, it's not exact, but you'll get the idea...

"I haven't played volleyball in SO long. What if I'm not as good as these people?... I need to be good... I will do everything I can to impress them with my secret volley-skills...

That guy (a guy other than Shaun) is attractive. Stop thinking about him. Stop thinking about him.

Do I look gross right now? Maybe I do. Stop it Jess. Help the people around you. Pray. I feel gross.

Why aren't you praying Jess? How is God going to move?... What are those people thinking of me right now? I'm clearly the worst player here... Come on God, help me to focus on you... help me to be like you... help me to love Shaun even when he is not here on the beach with me... 

I wonder what they think of me.."

Please know that it is not my favorite thing to do, to be this open with you. I hate to admit the garbage that happens inside of me. I would rather you kept thinking that I had things together & that my biggest struggle is the fact that "sometimes I just don't feel like praying".

But I'm trusting God to use this story. 

So back to it... I finish playing a game and plop down on the sand, forcing a smile, & thankful that my pink sunglasses hide my tears. At this point I am just praying and trying to decide if it would be better to walk home or stay on the beach and play another game.

That's when I started counting. My hands were sticky and my wrist had a patch of sand on it that I decided to count, in an effort to get my mind off of things.

When I got to 300 I remembered...
 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
 They cannot be numbered!
 I can’t even count them;
 they outnumber the grains of sand! 

No way. That is SO many thoughts. OUTNUMBERING the grains of sand???

So then I started to ask myself (and the Holy Spirit) what God thinks of me.

"My thoughts toward you are good, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, 
plans to give you a hope and a future.
Jer. 29:11
"The Lord is merciful & compassionate, slow to get angry, abounding in love.. 
He is good to all, His tender mercies are over all His [creation]
Ps. 145:8-9

Those are God's thoughts toward me? The little mopey me, sitting on the sand, feeling like an idiot. 
Somehow He has good thoughts toward me and they outnumber the grains of sand?

That is outrageous. What kind of a God is that? How loving is this guy? That He would have that kind of love for me? 

It's an ironic picture isn't it? I am crying on the sand because of what I think the other people are thinking of me. Yet I am surrounded by millions of grains of sand, representing the beyond MILLIONS of thoughts that my God has for me. 

I am consumed by the few thought (VERY FEW THOUGHTS- think about it, even if that one attractive guy thought bad of me... how many thoughts would he have? I would guess 5 at most. Probably not even that. Because he has way more important things to think about, than how bad at volleyball I was, or how yucky I looked that day.) But anyway, I was consumed by the FEW thoughts that these people had toward me, and I was completely missing the Million Billion Gazillion (I'm no math professor, if you were wondering) thoughts that God has toward me.

So ridiculous. 

Here's the thing... 
We are prone to do that. Prone to obsess over the opinions of others. Prone to wander from our Maker. Prone to be consumed by our own selfishness. But God desires for us not to hand our identities over to others, but to entrust it to Him.

Jesus was an awesome example to us in that. Jesus was beginning His ministry and doing all kinds of amazing things, people were so stoked about Him, they were applauding the things He was doing & basically just adoring Him because of His incredible miracles. But John writes in chapter 2, "He did not entrust himself to man, because he knew what was in a man." That shows me how firmly Jesus had entrusted His identity to the Father... it didn't matter if people were praising His works... He got His worth from the opinion of His Father... This means that later when people cursed Him and hated Him like crazy... His identity still wasn't touched, because they had never been the ones to tell Him who He was. He got His identity from the opinion of the Father ALONE... nobody else could touch that. 

 "And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 
 Mtw. 3:17

So let's do that. Let's get our identities from the opinion of God. He is crazy about us. His opinion is the only one that matters. He is delighted by us, He is delighted by our obedience to Him... it doesn't matter if people love us, or hate us... in Him our identities are untouchable. 

 Eph. 3: 14-19For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

..."that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God"...

1 comment:

MariekeDral said...

This is bout the 5th attempt to post this comment haha,
I hope it works this time!

Thank you for being so open with us
Jess! Your honesty about your struggles really inspires me. Don't be ashamed about your struggles and insecurities, we all have them. It is really beautiful to read how you recognize them and deal with it. You are a great example to everyone eho reads this. And I think it is God who wants you to share this, because you are a great example toe have faith in God while struggling with negative thoughts. You learn us a great lesson :) and you really have a talent for writing! :D your story is so beautiful ( outnumbering the grains of sand.. Wow love that phrase! ) and really funny hihi!! Love to read your bloggie <3 lots and lots of huggs for you dear!