How He Sees You (Prayer Devotional for the week of November 1, 2015)

I dressed up as J.J. Watt (defensive end for the Houston Texans) for some costume fun at work on Friday. The boys were exchanging costume ideas for themselves, and one of them joked about padding his sleeves to look like muscles. Then, one of them piped in and said, “Mom’s arms are so buff, she doesn’t need to pad her sleeves. She’s so strong, she could lift a truck!” My first instinct – and I’m glad I bit my tongue – was to correct him and say that although I am pretty strong, my arms are pudgy, not muscular like J.J.’s. In that moment, though, it dawned on me that he saw me through a completely different lens from how I see myself: he really believed that I was so strong I could pick up a vehicle, if need be.

 

My son doesn’t see the tired, overweight, falling-apart body that I walk around in every day. He sees a strong and powerful woman. Wow, if I could just channel some of that confidence to myself! I’ve struggled with my appearance for a very long time. Even back in the day when I swam competitively and performed with the Colorguard, I was limber and muscular but never curvy or skinny like the popular girls, so I assumed I was too fat. Three babies, a couple of decades, and a bum knee later, and I only wish that I was as “fat” as I thought I was back then!

 

Psalm 45:11 is a verse that I have held onto for many years; it talks about how God sees beauty in us, and we are to honor him above all else. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own view of ourselves and forget that we have a loving heavenly Father who sees us through his own unique lens of grace. Do you ever dwell on your inabilities or rehash sins that have long since been forgiven? God has so much for us to see, if we’d redirect our attention to him and let him show us.

 

Remember that God has equipped us with so much more than what can be seen externally. In 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT), we learn that God has given us a spirit of “power, love, and self-discipline,” as opposed to timidity or fear. It doesn’t matter how the world sees you – or even how you see yourself. Through Christ, we have a brand-new identity (2 Corinthians 5:17). And if that isn’t enough convincing, Philippians 1:6 says that God will not leave the good work that he began in you unfinished! You are enough, and you are loved eternally.

2014 Word

I’ve finally figured out what my word is for this year: Set.

As in: On your mark, get set … go!

I don’t quite know what the “go” part looks like yet, but the past few years have been building up from “on your mark,” and now I feel like it’s time to “get set” and wait for the launch whistle.

dolphin kickI remember years of swim meets — my main race was backstroke — and hearing the announcer call out: “On your mark!” We would pull up into a loose crunch position on the board. “Get set!” and we’d pull up tighter and hold, legs quivering in anticipation to launch. “Go!” then thrust up and backward into the water, hands entering first, then head and arced body already rippling in a dolphin-kick motion. I would go about halfway down the length of the pool underwater before I came up for air. A few strokes later, it was almost time for the flip-turn. Count strokes from the flags overhead, then flip and twist, kick off from the wall and launch back toward the other side.

Competitive swimming was exhilarating and challenging … kind of like how my life has been for the past several years, now that I think about it. The loses were tough. Miscounting strokes and charging head- or shoulder-first into the wall was really painful. And yet, touching the finish line a fraction of a second before any of the others is a rush like nothing else I can describe. Knowing that you gave it your all … and you won … is amazing.

This year has a lot of potential. Lord willing, I will finish my doctorate in just a few short months. It’s possible that I may also have a new job opportunity(ies) later this year, but that remains to be seen. The majority of my kids (3/5) will be finished with elementary school this year. I’ll have TWO teenagers. I’m renewing my efforts to lose weight and stay healthy. Who knows what else the future holds? Whatever comes down the pike, I’m going to “get set” and be ready to fly.