If you’ve spent any time in the devotional book aisle for women in your local bookstore or even at the women’s circle at church, you may have noticed that we spend much of our time discussing self-worth and exploring our identity.
Retreats, conferences, bible studies, devotional books, self-help books, and the like are all there to assure us that we are redeemed, loved, and that our actions carry an eternal significance. If only we understood who we are–or so the message goes–we would turn away from our spiritual low self-esteem and sin and come into the abundant garden of spiritual peace that Jesus promised us.
Keynote speakers at conferences urge us to look to Psalms 139:14 and find comfort within the verse that says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We look at the verse and hope that it will soothe us when our body image falters or when we don’t feel valuable, smart, capable, or put together. However, as much as we hear it, it doesn’t seem to be sticking to our “ribs” and I think we’ve misdiagnosed our main problem. The more we put the emphasis and spotlight on us instead of a higher vision, we will not get long lasting comfort from discussions about identity and worth.
Our problem as young Christian women is not our lack of self-worth, esteem, or even that we lack a purpose in life.
It’s that we lack awe.
Awe and Wonder–In the Master Gardener
Research has proven that when we are in awe of things like rainbows or the Redwoods, we become less self-focused, less individualistic, less materialistic, and more invested into the people around us. Crazy isn’t it how refocusing our attention can have such an impact?
In marveling in something greater than ourselves, we are then able to reach out and reconnect and help others.
At first glance this may seem counterintuitive, but when you take a second look, it begins to sound a lot like the greatest commandment that God gives us: to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor (reach out to others).
Awe helps us to stop worrying about our image and refocus on God and then onto others. It also helps us establish ourselves in the most healthy way possible: by understanding our insignificance within the grand scheme of the world and our significance to the Creator of all things good.
Discovering True Self-Awareness
If you only read Psalm 139:14 you can easily conclude that the verse is about celebrating our self-worth, but if you take a step back and read the whole chapter within the context of the time and the writer, you can see the other meaning that has been obscured by the context the verse was given by itself. Can you imagine King David sitting and writing it to give himself a pep-talk about self-worth?
No, this verse was not written to make us feel better about ourselves. We only have to zoom out on the chapter to see this. Rather than a reflection about ourselves, fearfully and wonderfully made, it’s an extended celebration of God, fearful and wonderful. Worthy of our awe and admiration.
Rooted in the King
I implore to you, dear roses, to lift your eyes away from yourself and greet His. Finding our identity and rooting ourselves into the things of this world that offer is a symptom of giving into the fear of man.
However, the solution to the fear of man isn’t the assurance that we are loved and adored by God (we are) but rather it’s the fear of God:
When you ask, “Does he delight in me?” > He delights in those who fear him. (Psalm 147:11)
When you ask, “Does he call me friend?” > His friendship is for those who fear him. (Psalm 25:14)
When you ask, “Is he for my good?” > His goodness is stored up for those who fear him. (Psalm 31:19)
When you ask, “Will he grant me wisdom?” > It begins with the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 111:10)
So, dear rose, come to the feet of the Master Gardener and lift your weary petals to soak in the awe of His goodness. Let Him water you with truth, and may you learn to turn away from self and stand in awe before His throne, confident in the fact that you are His chosen rose, dearly loved and adored.