You have looked deep
into my heart, Lord,
and you know all about me.
You know when I am resting
or when I am working,
and from heaven
you discover my thoughts.
You notice everything I do
and everywhere I go.
Before I even speak a word,
you know what I will say,
and with your powerful arm
you protect me
from every side.
I can’t understand all of this!
Such wonderful knowledge
is far above me….
You are the one
who put me together
inside my mother’s body,
and I praise you because of
the wonderful way
you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous!
Of this I have no doubt.
Nothing about me
is hidden from you!
I was secretly woven together
out of human sight,
but with your own eyes you saw
my body being formed.
Even before I was born,
you had written in your book
everything about me.
Your thoughts are far beyond
much more than I
could ever imagine.
I try to count your thoughts,
but they outnumber the grains
of sand on the beach.
And when I awake,
I will find you nearby. (Contemporary English Version)
Many people struggle with their basic self-image. And it’s no wonder why.
Beautiful people reign over the television and the movies; the rich and powerful are highlighted in the media; and those with perfect teeth and immaculate attire are splashed in front of us in the daily barrage of advertisements.
Meanwhile, the rest of us 99% of the population, quickly notice we do not measure up to such a high standard. You don’t have to be a people watcher to know that less than perfect bodies are the norm and that most folks do not have a budget to live like the other 1% humanity.
If we make comparisons with others too much and for too long, it gets downright depressing. Yet, into this dark abyss of one’s self-image enters the biblical truth that each one of us, no matter our station in life, was personally hand-crafted by a heavenly Being who loves us dearly.
We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. The Creator took great care to make us and form us just so.
The real standard from which we ought to judge ourselves is this: God knows us intimately, inside-and-out, and neither condemns us nor shames us but loves us wholly.
So then, rather than wasting our emotional energy and mental faculties on wishing we looked different or were more like so-and-so who seems to always have it all together, try practicing what the psalmist David did: Praise God.
Whenever we have the notion that we do not measure up to our imposed arbitrary standard, keep in mind that the only real measurement is grace. No matter who we are, the entire race of humanity has been created in the image of God, and, on that basis alone, we have inherent value, worth, and majesty. Let us, then, treat ourselves and others with the yardstick of grace.
The inner critic, that is, the inner judgmental dialogue we have with ourselves, needs to be replaced with the truth of Psalm 139. Although we might be rather hard on ourselves and say things in the reclusive parts of our minds and hearts that we would never say to others, nor tolerate others saying about someone else – God speaks to us with tender words of grace.
Perhaps you think that only you know the depth of your own sorrows, hurts, fears, insecurities, and worries. Except… God. The Lord knows it all intimately – and is not one bit repulsed.
You see, God knows that the answer to all the self-doubts is Divine care and protection. You and I have the freedom to plumb the recesses of our hearts and souls – to bring out all that is inside the cluttered closet of our minds and lay it on the table without fear of God calling you what you call yourself.
Therefore, please do not quickly pass over the inspired words from Holy Scripture contained in today’s psalm. Take the time to carefully digest each phrase slowly so that the message becomes internalized and believed in real-time experience.
One of the theories of human psychology is that people are driven by two primary needs:
- To intimately know another person.
- To be intimately known by another person.
God knows us even better than we know ourselves – and still loves us! There is nothing we learn about ourselves that God does not already know. No human relationship can even come close to the level of knowing that God has for us and about us.
To know God is perhaps the greatest and highest pursuit we could ever enjoy. God is so immense and infinite that we will spend an eternity getting to know the Lord and will never get to the end of it. That is the kind of God we serve.
Be encouraged today and always with the reality that you are known, and can know, God – and even more, loved deeply as a specially fashioned creature.
O God, thank you that I am wonderfully made in your likeness. I praise you that I am fully accepted, even when I do not accept myself. In Jesus Christ you have demonstrated the height of your love and mercy. May this grace be with me every day so that I will conduct myself in a manner worthy of being part of the human family. Amen.