This past weekend was incredible, both from a social-family aspect but also from a weather perspective as well. Summer weather in September is happily accepted, even if our air-conditioner (and Holly) may not agree. With any weekend come the usual tasks and kids activities that keep us moving, something we’re all familiar with. Over the course of Saturday I ran into a neighbor several times, far more than the usual 2-3 times per week we’ve grown accustomed to. Because of the heat, he too was in shorts and a t-shirt and I felt myself standing taller, sucking in my stomach and pushing out my chest. You see this guy is, what the kids might say, jacked. Of course he was wearing an *Anytime Fitness* shirt and was coming back from a run with his dog. The dog was panting heavily and he was barely sweating. I was Danny DeVito to his Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Twins, though the one thing I had on him was height, everything else advantage Mike. He clearly takes physical fitness so seriously I’m sure he has a wall dedicated to his Presidential patches. After a few feeble attempts to make myself more *fit* my mind laughed at myself and I sunk back into my normal posture. I’m the guy who literally drooled when grabbing a bite of cake just a few days earlier. I was trying to be something, someone, that I’m not, nor am I meant to be.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
That interaction, and all the others which were 100% directed by God, were reminders that I’m not supposed to be someone else. They have been created for their purpose as they are, and I’ve been created for my own. I’m enough because God says so.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. – 1 Corinthians 15:10
Our brokenness tries to get us to focus on our flaws rather than our faith. It tells us we should have more, be more or do more. It puts us on a collision course with disaster and leads us away from Him. When we focus on our faults, we take our focus off a Father who equips, empowers and leads us. Nowhere do we see that no one is good enough to earn their way into heaven.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2: 8-9
We’re saved, we’re forgiven, we are enough. There’s nothing we can do, and there’s nothing others can say or do that can take that away from us. Through the finished work of Jesus and His power working in you and through you, you are good enough to do everything you’re called to be. Giving in to the lie of I’m not good enough is paralyzing. It separates us from God and from others. It keeps us inside hiding from the world when we should be out with others, or at least not using avoidance to medicate whatever pain is there. I know what it’s like to be paralyzed, when stepping outside our comfort zone feels impossible. Shrinking back and not moving forward is safer.
I believe God wants to make our lives so big that walls can’t contain it. His idea of big is really different from ours. A God who promises us that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without him knowing is a God who values even the smallest things. He wants us to have peace and contentment that won’t require us to put up walls of protection and spend our lives afraid.
After that initial *chance (but not really in God’s world)* encounter with my neighbor it would have been easy to go into a compulsive place and put on clothes that cover up some of my *imperfections*. This weekend I didn’t. Of course I ran into him again as he was squeezing in a half hour bike ride before running up to Wrigley. Instead of standing taller though, this time I appreciated who he was and more importantly who I am. It doesn’t mean I can’t try to make myself healthier, it does mean I don’t have to try and measure myself against anyone else or against something that separates me from the God who breathed life into me.
Heavenly Father, thank You for choosing me to be Your child. Today, I choose to believe I am who You say that I am —Your holy, dearly loved child … equipped by You, empowered by the Holy Spirit and enveloped in Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.