I share often about my tendency to hide or to run away when I’m feeling like I’m not measuring up. In our media-driven culture, it’s easy to create standards for ourselves based on what we see other people doing, looking like, accomplishing. And the truth is:
we will never measure up if another person’s life is our standard of measurement.
I came across a perspective about differences and insecurities that was quite astounding to me in a book about marriage.
In A Lasting Promise (Stanley, Trathen, McCain, and Bryan), the authors discuss what happened immediately after Adam and Eve first sinned, when Adam and Eve made coverings for their bodies from fig leaves (Genesis 3:7). According to tradition and to the original wording of the text, these weren’t just clothes. They were “loin coverings.”
“They had seen this tree with their eyes, grabbed the forbidden fruit with their hands, and eaten it with their mouths. So why were they covering what they covered?” (A Lasting Promise, p. 11).
And really, if you think about it, it’s quite an interesting thing. If they were ashamed of what their hands had done, why not make mittens? If they were ashamed of what their eyes or their mouths had done, why not make masks?
“First, they covered up the part of their bodies that was probably one of their most wonderful ways of expressing their intimacy,” (p. 11).
And, then, this blew my mind:
“Second, the couple no longer felt the glorious freedom of utter acceptance, so they covered up where they were most obviously different. . . Isn’t that what we do all the time? We cover up our thoughts, feelings, and opinions more when we are with someone who might see things differently from us. There’s no fear of rejection when people see things the way we see them. It’s our differentness that leads to our fear of rejection,” (p. 12).
Whoa. Let me say that again:
It’s our differentness that leads to our fear of rejection.
And how often do we hide because we are ashamed of who we are or because of what is going on in our lives that doesn’t meet our idea of what the status quo should be? How often do we let lies push us down because we aren’t doing what someone else is doing, because we don’t have the gifts someone else has, because our life doesn’t look like someone else’s life?
God’s original design was that the most ideal partners would be people with some of the greatest differences. And the same goes for how the church was designed to function: we are a body, made up of different parts, and all of the parts work together to make a whole.
Life functions best when different people recognize their differences and do the different things they are called to do.
Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s workmanship. The Greek word for that phrase—God’s workmanship—actually means “God’s masterpiece, God’s work of art, God’s poem.” What would change in your life if you woke up every morning, looked in the mirror, and reminded yourself of that?
I am God’s masterpiece.
I am God’s work of art.
I am God’s poem.
God doesn’t want you to be somebody else. Or to meet somebody else’s goals. Or even to measure up to what you think you should be able to do. He wants you for who you are. And He wants you to function out of the life He has formed for you—the life that He has formed you for.
And, most of all, He wants you to see that, while the world may be looking on, you really only have an audience of One. His thoughts are what matter.
So, what does that mean for you today?
Who are you? What makes you different? What are you called to do today?