June 22, 2016
You Are Worthy: Lesson from the Least Likely
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
I boarded the bus with a badge around my neck, carrying a lunch … and a heavy spirit. I was accompanying my daughter Rachel and her Special Olympics team to their soccer event.
As a volunteer coach, I had helped with these events in the past, and it was always a special time. But this day, I yearned for something I couldn’t quite define.
For years, I had secretly thought that if I accomplished enough I’d be accepted and worthy. Each day I spent trying to please others by earning enough money, making a name for myself and providing for every need that crossed my path.
I believed I should be the greatest mom, the perfect wife, the best friend, the hardest worker, the one who had all the answers and cared enough to respond to everyone’s requests. I bought into the lie that success equals validation.
It was beginning to strangle me.
Upon arrival at our venue, as always, smiling faces lit up the stadium. These were genuine I’m-having-the-time-of-my-life smiles, not fake I’ll-smile-because-I-should kind of smiles.
Nearly every participant displays such a grin, welcoming attendees into the world of Special Olympics and real people.
Laughter and squeals of delight intermixed with “Good job!” or “Nice try!” and “You can do it!” echoed around the dome.
As I surveyed the athletes, I realized my longing was for what they had: the freedom to be who they were created to be.
How many of us long for that very thing — to quit pretending and live the way we were created?
The weight of trying to do it all eased just a bit.
I watched as my daughter kicked the soccer ball. Even before it stopped, she raised her hands in victory, eyes sparkling and laughter ringing through the air! The ball fell short of the goal.
Rachel celebrated anyway!
The thought snuck in that my worth isn’t something to be found or earned, but it’s innate because of who God created me to be.
Moving to the next event, Rachel was too busy waving to those around her to listen to the instructions. Still, the ball was there, so she kicked it. It rolled far short of the goal, but her arms still shot up in victory!
The desire to simply be who God created me to be grew.
My daughter moved from one ball to the next. She cheered every kick, even when the ball dribbled a mere foot. Her smile never wavered, inviting the audience to experience her joy.
And I did! My soul began to sing!
That day I noticed that same joy in the face of each Olympian. I saw their unconditional love, unfettered joy and uncommon grace. I saw the way they live with passion and authenticity, excited to live out who they are.
As the event drew to a close, I glanced at the athletes one more time and marveled at their serenity and openness.
There is no pretense at Special Olympics events or in the lives of those with intellectual disabilities. There is no hiding behind masks. There is just love and realness. Who you see is who they are.
Each Special Olympian is authentic, a genuine representation of themselves.
I always enjoyed volunteering for Special Olympics. But this time I entered the stadium overwhelmed by a lifetime of busy, trying to make myself into someone of worth. I left realizing I was already that someone.
I just needed to let myself be her.
Each of us is created in the image of God — remarkably and wonderfully made. We don’t need to prove ourselves or earn our worth. And as today’s key verse reminds us, God’s works are wonderful.
Just like Rachel and her Special Olympic friends, we already have worth in our Creator and Redeemer. That realization alone should give us peace as we live out who we are freely in Christ.
Dear Lord, Thank You for fearfully and wonderfully creating each of us. Thank You for giving us worth in Your eyes. Help us live as the one You uniquely intended us to be. Help us abide instead of strive, living peacefully and joyfully as heirs to Your Kingdom and co-heirs with Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
Julie Sunne is a member of COMPEL Training, an online writing membership community. We only open registration for COMPEL a few times a year, and we’ll open it for a few days in July. Sign up here to be notified when registration opens again.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Who are you trying to prove your worth to? Today, embrace the truth that in Christ you are already worthy.
© 2016 by Julie Sunne. All rights reserved.
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