A Broom Big Enough
We erased the white board and called it our worth. We erased the criticism. The embarrassment. The shame. We erased our accomplishments. We erased that comment from that person ten years ago. And we erased our to-do lists. Our self-hatred. Our self-love. And all attempts to pull ourselves up by own bootstraps.
The board was blank, and I held up a dry erase pen, asking the women, “What does God think of us?” They began calling out different answers:
“God loves us.”
“God is patient with us.”
“God created us.”
“God desires union with us.”
“He forgives us.”
One woman paused, staring at the board. “Not one of these are about what we do. They are all about what God does,” she said. And we sat in that epiphany.
But only for a moment, as the women began to call out more answers. We could have spent the rest of our Bible study time filling up that board, basking in God’s complete authority over our worth. But we returned to the text, which was 1 Corinthians 4:3-5:
As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.
I can’t figure it out, how to be like Paul. How to cast aside the judgement of others, counting it as nothing compared to my worth in Christ. To the worth of Christ. Someone get me a broom big enough to clear out this room I sit in, filled with compliments, criticisms, “likes,” and internet trolls. I don't want to live here. It isn't home.
At the end of our study, we took a moment to write down a prayer request for ourselves on an index card, then we got into pairs to share those requests and pray for one another. This is one of my favorite parts of Bible study, the chance to focus on just the person across from me, to be honest with them, and let them be honest with me.
I told my older and wiser prayer partner that I need prayer to handle my stress in God-honoring ways. I told her that the passage this week had convicted me, because a lot of my stress comes from idolizing the opinions of others. I let my peace ebb and flow according to the following questions: Did I offend her? Am I doing enough? Did I say the right thing? Should I post this? Was it okay to say no to that?
And it’s exhausting. And unbiblical. And human. She patted my hand and assured me: "It gets easier as you get older, to stop worrying what people think." Then she prayed over me, and I prayed along with her, to have her eyes, the eyes of Paul, and the mind of Christ.
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