Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘value’

He Broke the Mold When He Made Us

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

God broke the mold when He made me.

And He did the same with you!

What is so very difficult is to appreciate how He made us because we often de-value ourselves.

“Borrow Somebody’s Dreams” Photo Credit: Stefano Corso

I love birds, flowers, and nature. Weeds attack each spring, pushing up, uninvited, through the seams in my driveway. I can’t bear to spray them with chemicals, so I plunk down on my behind and painstakingly pull each interloper out one by one. My neighbor passed by and looked at me like I was crazy. Why not use his favorite brand of weed-killer? I just couldn’t do it.  His property is so well-manicured and I value and admire that.

But I have to be me.

I cry easily. If a friend confides in me about a problem, tears start leaking from my eyes. I hug and I pray and make phone calls later on to check in. My husband is a professional counselor and he doesn’t emote when faced with the crises of others; he is practical, level-headed, and unshakeable. I admire and respect what he offers.

But I have to be me.

I am a grandmother now and my precious granddaughter comes over each week. Last time, after we splashed in the little baby pool together, I fed her strawberries from the tiny patch growing by my back door.  Her other grandmother preserved all her children’s lovely clothes pressed and treasured between sheets of tissue paper. I enjoy the photos of special family events in which our granddaughter is dressed in heirloom garments. I admire that and am grateful.

But I have to be me.

When we look in the mirror, do we see our unique gifts and personality?

If we can’t appreciate them, let’s imagine our Heavenly Father standing behind us with His hand upon our shoulder, repeating these words from David’s psalm: “I created your inmost being; I knit you together in your mother’s womb… You are fearfully and wonderfully made because my works are wonderful.”  (Psalm 139, verses 13 and 14 re-phrased)

Be your wonderful self today.

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Competition vs. Intrinsic Value

Photo Credit: H. Kopp Delaney

Photo Credit: H. Kopp Delaney

“Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.” (Ephesians 2:10 CEB)

In this culture of competition we Americans receive messages from all sides that we must be the best, the smartest, or the most good-looking to earn our place on sports teams, college campuses, job sites, and media platforms.

The bar is always set high and we must strive to achieve excellence.

“Work hard.” “Always do your best.” “Go for the gold.” I personally endorse these messages and have passed them on my kids. My second child is now prepping for college admission and competing for scholarships. I want her to contest for these awards.

But we all need something else – something more – to truly live successfully; we need a foundation within our very souls of our great value in the Creator’s eyes.

If we build that truth solidly, then we operate out of a sense of being cherished and indispensable to the world, no matter the outcomes of our cultural competitions.

We can even give that appreciation to one another.

“Love is to reveal the beauty of another person to themselves.” Jean Vanier

If we don’t lay down these truths in our inner man, our cultural competition will demoralize and, eventually, crush our spirits.   Our Heavenly Father looks at our value and purpose and never relegates anyone to “the bench” to just watch the first string players make history.

Paul the apostle, the great orator, church planter, and author of much of the New Testament, in all his letters to the churches, gives us a glimpse into the existence of many others who also worked to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the longest lists he made acknowledges 27 people by name and mentions numerous others described as “sister”, “brothers” or “church members”. (see Romans 16: 1-16)

These are not “little people” with “little lives” because they are only mentioned once in the Bible. Their stories may not have been told in that format, but they had rich lives. I would love to hear more about Urbanus, Rufus, Trphena, Pryphosa, Persis, Phlegon, Apelles, Ampliatus, Julia, and Olympas.

We Westerners, in this current day and age, may not receive media coverage of our sports prowess, best-selling publication of what we have written, or other acknowledgements from public platforms, but we each matter to God…

…and to many, many others.

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