Devotional: Applying the Bible to my today.
Read: 1 Peter 1:1-6
Whether the season of suffering is long or short-term, how common it is to believe it affects our value and worth.
"I'm TOO MUCH."
I am a person with big emotions, and, on top of that, I have ADHD, am an abuse survivor, have dealt with a lot of loss, and, frankly, there is still a lot of $!*!# going on (seemingly all the time). It is not a whisper or a scream; it is just a very matter-of-fact voice that enters my mind, "You are too much."
This most commonly happens when:
I am with friends whose lives are calm(er), and I'm sharing for the umpteen millionth time about another crazy thing happening in my family.
I'm FINE before I go to church, yet when I start worshipping or the sermon hits me, all the emotions - gratitude, grief, awe, wonder - hit me at once. I'll stand there, bawling, struggling to catch my breath, forgetting that I'm standing amongst 100 other people until I eventually open my eyes.
I just can't stop talking... this will make some of you chuckle, but for others, it makes you cringe. While I can have self-control much of the time to shut my mouth, there are times that my thoughts are too many and so intense (combined with the insanity of perimenopausal hormone fluctuations) that lest these words come out of my mouth, I think my heart or chest might explode.
Especially with the last one, I have memories of heads shaking at me in disapproval, and the enemy's words, "You're too much," affirms what I assume others are thinking today.
Can you relate? In what ways or circumstances have you felt like you were TOO MUCH?
"I'm too little."
Copy and paste the entire first section of this post and replace the words "You're too much" with "You're too little." The exact same emotions, sufferings, and circumstances lead the enemy to simultaneously tell me that I'm not enough for the people in my life or God. I'm ill-equipped and too broken to succeed, be a blessing to others, or be delighted in.
Unbeknownst to the athletic director of my high school, I once overheard him say to my basketball coach, "Why are you encouraging Halee to go to that college? She's never going to make it!" I've often assumed many people have had similar conversations behind my back or have at least thought it to themselves because "who am I?"
Can you relate? In what ways or circumstances have you felt like you were too little?
Friends, I have just shared some very vulnerable moments and thoughts with you. If you relate to any of it - I'm so sorry. I pray that if these thoughts appear in your heart or mind, they are short-lived. Scripture gives us much reassurance about our value and worth in every circumstance and for all personalities.
If you haven't read the scripture for this devotion - take a moment to do so now. 1 Peter 1:1-6.
Exiles, foreigners, strangers, aliens, refugees - these are the words used to describe those to whom Peter is writing this letter. There is some uncertainty if Peter is using this term generally, as in "Heaven is their home, so if they are anywhere other than heaven then they are foreigners," or is he using it because these are displaced believers scattered because of their faith (which was common). The term "trauma" is not used in the Bible, but many of the people we read about in the Bible would definitely fit the definition of experiencing trauma.
To live in a foreign land can be an adventure, but to be a refugee indicates experiences of trauma - moving from your native land to another as a means to protect one's life due to war, natural disaster, or persecution. Even once in the "safety" of a foreign land, refugees are vulnerable - they may have difficulty finding employment, speaking the language, obtaining food and shelter, understanding the culture, and making deep connections. How might a refugee be taken advantage of in their new, "safe" residence? How much grief do they bare leaving behind all they've known and loved?
Seemingly, their needs are great and they have little to offer, yet Peter has something powerful to say about them before he begins his message. Peter says they are chosen - and, just in case the refugees think God may regret His choice of choosing them, Peter says that God did it with foreknowledge. Basically, God always knew their state of neediness... their "too muchness," and He was aware of what little they had to offer... their "too littleness"; however, His plan remained - He wanted to give them His full inheritance. It's an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, will never fade, and reserved especially for them.
This is a message weaved throughout scripture. Though satan tries to take advantage of our vulnerabilities by questioning our value and worth - God's actions speak louder. We are chosen by a God who already knows it all; there are no secrets here.
According to His great mercy we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Though the waters may be rocky out here in this life - who we are and what we have been chosen to inherit will never ever change. You, my friend, are neither too much nor too little for the God who created you. You are seen, known, loved, embraced, and cherished.
Praise be to God.
By the way, throughout the remainder of Peter's letter, he shares with these traumatized believers the capabilities they now have the freedom to live out because of the love and power they have received through Christ's work on their behalf. Take a deep breath, my friends, we have a wild ride ahead. I think God chuckles in the kindest of ways when we say, "but who am I?" He patiently replies, "BUT who am I?"
Father God, may our hearts receive the gift of love and mercy that You pour upon us. Shut the mouth of satan that his words will have NO bearing on us. You are our creator, and that alone makes our worth so much more than satan will ever have us believe. You are not side-tracked or put off by our ragdoll appearance; instead, it draws You near to us! Thank You for Your comfort, healing, and perspective of us. May we see as You see. Fill us with Your Spirit, hope, and joy! Even if our realities and emotions toss us all around today, may we walk in confidence because of Your great love for us. Amen.