We are not who we think we are…
My Facebook friend Mary Jo Weatherly Montagna once posted a remarkable thing as her status: “We are not who we think we are,” she wrote. “There is a glory to our lives that our enemy fears, and he is hell-bent in destroying that glory before we act on it. Once we begin to see with God’s eyes and we begin to know His truth, it changes everything.”
Stop. Read that again. Ponder the power of this truth.
You were created in God’s image, with a glory that reflects His own glory. God made you to be His, He claims you for His own, and every time He looks at you He sees a reflection of Himself. A unique personality, incomparably beautiful. Created out of love and for love. Made to live forever. That’s your spiritual essence, your true self. And that’s who God sees when He looks at you. Not just your sins and shadows. Not just your feeble efforts to do right. Not just the intimate details of the earthly you. But the real you. The eternal you.
It’s so hard for us to really see ourselves. We compare our weaknesses to other people’s strengths, our strengths to another’s weakness. We judge ourselves too leniently or too strictly. We beat ourselves up for things we can’t control but excuse ourselves for actions we could avoid if we really wanted to.
It’s also difficult for us to understand what has happened to us in the past. How our upbringing has shaped us. How trauma has wounded us. How our own sin and the sin of others has marked us. How God’s grace has kept us from catastrophe and made up for what we lacked. It’s true that we can often see more clearly when looking back, but not always. Memory is notoriously unreliable, and some puzzles are never solved.
And as for the future—do you know what you really want? I’ve often had a hard time understanding that for myself. I find it difficult to distinguish between what I really need and what I lust after, my God-given “heart desires” and my own selfish wants.
Amid all this confusion, it’s an absolute gift for me to remember that the God who sees me is the God who knows “the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10).” Remember, God is Lord of the past, the present, and the future. So when He looks at you, He sees the entire story of who you are and where you’ve been.
He understands what you’ve been through, the forces that have shaped you and made you … you. He considers your family history—the people who raised you, taught you, loved you, failed you. He recognizes the traumas that mark you and echo in your memory. He sees the love and support, the misunderstandings and broken relationships, the successes and failures. All the unique combinations of events and experiences that have brought you to this current moment are an open book to God when He looks at you.
God also sees your present circumstances—where you live, who you share your life with, what your days are like, the secrets you don’t dare tell anyone. He’s aware of your daily needs for sustenance, your deeper needs for meaning and involvement, your longings and dreams and desires. He sees what you go through when it’s just one thing after another, when the bottom drops out, when a straw breaks the camel’s back, when you’re holding on to sanity by the skin of your teeth. He understands what helps you, what holds you back, what still has the potential to waylay you in the future.
More important, when He sees you, He doesn’t leave you there. He’s a God who acts, remember?
He sees your weariness … and offers you His strength.
He sees your feelings of inadequacy—such a common experience with women—and offers you His completeness.
He sees your pain … and suffers beside you.
He sees your doubt … and gives you reason to trust Him.
He sees your worry and your anger … and offers you peace.
He sees your small steps of obedience … and cheers you on.
He sees you stumbling … and helps you back on your feet.
He sees your loneliness … and offers you His presence.
In all your daily needs (even those you don’t know you have), He provides for you appropriately, often in ways you would never expect. And He longs for you to avail yourself of His provision.
The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that God never looks away from what we’re going through. He is the God who suffers and rejoices with us on a daily basis. He sees it all clearly—even when we don’t.
Simply put, God sees you with a depth and breadth that only He can. He sees how all the messy loose ends of your life weave together, how you can be whole.
One day, He promises, you will see it all too.
In the meantime, He’s holding your future in His most capable and loving hands.
Adapted from The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan). Copyright 2012 David C. Cook. Used with permission. Permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.
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