“You don’t think good of me!”
I burst out into tears and felt them pour down my little face. How I remember that ancient moment so effortlessly yet have to work hard to keep my kid’s names straight, I can’t tell you! I couldn’t have been more than seven years old and I have no recollection of the events surrounding my outburst. All I know is that I had upset my parents and I hated the idea that I had no control over what I was sure they now “thought” of me.
Now, nearly three decades later, I still find myself grabbing for control. If I’m honest, there are too many moments where I am striving to keep “you don’t think good of me” from being true. Moments that go unchecked until the weight of them culminate and I’m caught beneath.
It’s the weight of those unchecked thoughts that hurt my relationships with those I love most. Little things, like when Jason walks in and I can read on his face that the house I tried to stay on top of all day is seriously challenging the OCD in him. Or having to get on the kids again and again when I just want to play the good guy for once. Or maybe it’s the response of a friend that leaves me wondering all the ways she could have misunderstood what I was really trying to say. Little things. It’s subconscious, but I so often wonder and more times believe – “You don’t think good of me!”
The truth of the matter is it’s my nature to make everything about that itty-bitty-yet-too-big-for-my-own-good word “me.” Whenever “me” becomes the filter through which I process life, rest assured, I sink as fast as Peter did when his thoughts shifted from Jesus to himself (Matthew 14). My subtle focus on self always leaves me sinking deeper and deeper until the drowning water wakes me up to the truth that I am not the god I’ve tried to become.
It took me too long to learn from Eve. She must have had some strong genes to have passed them along so overtly to me. “You will not certainly die,” came the whisper of the serpent.” … God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” It seems like a really good idea – become like an all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good God – yes, please!
And this is where I land over and over again in life – This tension of striving to be like God when I was never created be to like Him. I can’t possibly be all things to all people. That’s who God is and I’ll never measure up. Striving to be like Him is exhausting!!
I wasn’t made to be like Him, I was made to be one with Him.
Oneness with God is freedom from making everything about me. It’s recognizing who I am in light of who He is and embracing the gift in that truth. This is where all my striving to be like God turns to rest by simply drawing near to Him. “He who dwells in the shadow of the Almighty will rest in the shelter of the most high.” Psalm 91:1. Dwell in the shadow, rest in the shelter. I like that much better than striving to be like Him.
So when I feel that urge to be like God, that pull to make myself the center of my universe, I’ve learned that this is my cue to draw close to God. No striving, just dwelling. Then, and only then, if something good flows through me, I have the grace to handle the situation followed with contentment in knowing it’s not actually me at all.