The middle school drop-off line…
Each morning before heading to work I drop my oldest son off at our local Middle School. Yesterday, I noticed that in a stretch of about seven cars, there were two Lexus, two Mercedes-Benz, one BMW, and me. There were also a mini-van or two in the distance behind me, but I couldn’t tell what kind. Truth be told, I saw so many of the Mercedes-Benz on the road driving around or near the school today I actually googled the logo when I got to work because I had no idea what kind of cars they were. Reflecting on this, I couldn’t help but laugh. Sitting there in a line of luxury cars and SUV’s, was me and my 2005 Toyota Corolla. Slightly rusty, stained with paint, and held together (beautifully I might add) by gorilla tape, zip ties, and a stainless steel screw. The old Sesame Street song came to my mind, “One of these things is not like the other, One of these things just doesn’t belong…” Of course it was not hard to know that in this small parade of high-end and fancy vehicles, it was mine that stood out as a mechanical sore thumb, indeed not like the others. And if there was any uncertainty or confusion, the noisy exhaust of my nonconformist car acted in a way as if to proudly and boldly advertise it’s inferior value.
Have you ever felt that way—inferior or less valuable? This is an easy trap the Devil lays out for us. We see all kinds of “pretty” people on TV and the internet. People who not only look good, but also seem to have it all together. They have life figured out and are excelling in every desirable measure. We look at the luxury lives and fancy families of other people, while we go sulking back home to our lamentable lives. The highlight reels of social media feeds lead us to this place of comparison and competition. This is a dangerous place to be! When we find ourselves here, the Devil begins to work sinful feelings of ingratitude and disdain. We begin to resent those around us and envy their gifts or successes. We are frustrated with God that our lives can’t be “as good” as those around us. Why can’t I enjoy my job like they do? Why can’t I have flawless complexion and no grey hair? Why can’t I be as smart as they are? Why can’t our kids behave like theirs? Why can’t we take nice vacations like them? Why can’t my car be fancy and new also? No matter what this looks like for you individually, the measuring stick will always get you stuck. Stuck is a never a place we want to be.
For one who is visually impaired, my glasses are essential for seeing things clearly. The Lord desires for us to see things clearly and interpret the world rightly. But to do so, we need to have recalibrate our gaze. What would happen if you took your eyes off of yourselves and turned them to look upon Jesus? I recently came across an old hymn with a refrain that sang:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in his wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of his glory and grace.”
Seeing the world through the lens of Jesus changes everything. It takes down the comparison roadblocks and enables us to live at peace with who we are. We don’t need to strive for instant likes, approval or acceptance because we know that it is only the opinion of Jesus that matters. We no longer focus on what we don’t have or what we are not. Instead, we gain a heavenly perspective. We ground our value simply as being a beloved child of God. Psalm 139 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” You are God’s workmanship. His masterpiece. His grand finale of all creation. Do you know that full well? You are made the way God wants you to be—even if that means at times, you are held together by proverbial gorilla tape and zip ties. And for the record, I love my car. It may be beat up—but it’s reliable and it’s mine. More important, God loves you and He always will. No matter how beat up you are or in those moments when you feel like you're falling apart, our God is faithful to His promises. You are never alone.
“Long ago the LORD said… ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. Therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.’” (Jeremiah 31:3)