Dear Daughter of the King
If you took some time out of your day to pause and listen to your Father, your gracious and loving Heavenly Father in whose sight you are very precious (1 Peter 3:4), what would He say to you? I was contemplating this yesterday as I was writing about the importance of spending time at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him and learning from Him. Jesus said to Martha in Luke chapter ten when she was running herself ragged trying to be the perfect hostess, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary,” (Luke 10:41-42). That one thing was spending time being present with Jesus rather than doing things for Him.
Often in our attempts to follow Jesus, we get stuck on the treadmill of much serving and doing. We easily believe that we are initially saved by grace, but after we have made that first step of faith toward Jesus, we tend to fall back into the mindset that in order to please God the Father, we must conform to a list of do’s and don’ts and behave a certain way. If we fail and miss the mark, Satan the accuser (Revelation 12:9-10), is quick to pounce, and we are quick to believe the lie that our Father is disappointed and no longer pleased with us. If we forget to read our Bible and pray, if we lose our temper with our children, if we’re too tired and overwhelmed to volunteer at church, if we drank too much the night before, if we participated in gossip, if we didn’t feel up to going to Bible study, we feel we don’t measure up and are failures in the eyes of our Savior.
Let me share with you an entry from my journal. I don’t write in it often, so this is from 2008, but I assure you, I still struggle with these thoughts today.
March 28, 2008
“Have you ever been concerned that one day everyone you know will find out what a horribly, awful person you really are? This is my constant fear. I wish I could rid myself of my selfishness and sinfulness. Of course, this is something I cannot do. Only God can do this. I think sometimes that everyone must really hate me and think I’m a big idiot and only hang out with me because my husband is so cool. I am not cool at all. My life is a big mess, and I am barely hanging on half the time. The sin I hate most in myself is selfishness. Sometimes it seems as though I cannot see past the skin of my own nose. Oh, if I could only let go of my selfish desires and be like Jesus. How disappointed He must be in me!”
|Me and my beautiful girls…may they grow up knowing how loved and valued they are by their Father the King.|
Reading those words makes me sad, sad for the hurting, little girl inside of me who can only seem to see her own failure, who struggles to remember who she really is and what her Jesus really thinks of her. It also makes me want more for my own daughters. I want them to know their true value and worth in Christ. Far too often in all of our seeking and searching through authors and self-help materials, we are battling with all the wrong tools to overcome the insecure, little girl who wonders if she will ever be good enough. We allow the loud ringing of a false identity where our performance before God in our minds, equals our approval before Him. We enable these thoughts to win out over what God has to say about us. My friends, this is not the mindset God wishes for His daughters. He is not like our earthly fathers.
My father when I was growing up was an extremely critical man. It did not matter what or how I sang in church, there was always something I could have done better, a note I sang wrong. After I finished the very first song I wrote, I dashed to my parents’ house to show my dad. He spent time when he was younger hanging out with other musicians, writing music, so I was certain he would want to hear my song. His response was, “Do I have to listen to this?” My dad was raised with the mindset to highly value outward appearance, so I have continually dealt with body image issues. The scars I bear on my legs make me ashamed of my appearance; it’s why you will hardly ever see me wearing shorts. If I put on a little weight, I struggle with thoughts of self-loathing. Please hear me as I share this, I love my dad. There are many qualities about him that are wonderful. He is one of the most giving people I know. He has a true servant’s heart and loves to help people. He would do anything for me at the drop of a hat, and I know he loves me very much. In my sharing above, I wish in no way to cause you to think my father is a bad man. He is a human man who himself grew up with an extremely critical father who nearly beat him to death on several occasions. He is a hurting person too.
There is no parent on earth who is perfect. I’m not perfect. The anger from my childhood often bleeds into my own parenting. I struggle with being overly critical of my children. I complain too much and whine too much in front of them. The point here is not to throw a pity party about my past or current struggles or to place blame on anyone else for my problems. The point here is to remind you that while God is your Father, He in no way compares to your earthly father. Also, we have to own our mistakes and unhealthy mindsets and remember there is no one on earth, not even ourselves, who gets to define who God made us to be. What God says about us matters more than what anyone else has to say, and it is incumbent upon us to lay our insecurities, struggles, and problems at the feet of our Heavenly Father, remembering to trust His goodness. He is perfect. He is not like any earthly parent. When we go to Him with our painful mistakes, we can feel safe in His presence. He is not waiting to place judgment and condemnation upon us. He is perfect love, and perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:8). “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ,” (Romans 8:1).
Let’s close this by ending with the initial question, if you took some time out of your day to pause and listen to your Father, your gracious and loving Heavenly Father in whose sight you are very precious (1 Peter 3:4), what would He say to you?
Here are a few loving words He would dearly love to speak over you for you to embrace and believe:
1. I love you. I love you a lot! My love is free. You don’t have to earn it. You don’t have to be good enough for me. You are already highly valued and dearly loved by me, just as you are. Your approval with me has nothing to do with your successes and failures. I am proud to call you my daughter. (John 1:12, 1 John 3:1, Galatians 4:6)
2. Breathe, be still, stop striving so hard and learn to find rest in me. Let me fight for you. Remember, I’ve already won the battle. Trust me. There is nothing that can stand against you when I am on your side, and I am always on your side. I will never leave you…you are never alone. (Psalm 46:10, Exodus 14:13-14, Joshua 1:9, Hebrews 13:5)
3. Let me tell you who you are. Find your identity in me. Tune out the negative messages that constantly seek to tear you down, and find a quiet place to hear from me. Remember who you are! You are my daughter, a daughter of the King of the Universe! Nothing you do or don’t do could ever add to or take away from your value and worth as my child. (Romans 8:14-17, 1 Peter 2:9-10, Proverbs 31:30)
4. Listen to me. Listen to my promises. I never break a promise. All my promises are yes. You can trust me. Life is going to be tough. There will be times when you feel that I have abandoned you, times when you don’t understand the why behind your circumstances or why I didn’t step in when you wanted me to do so. This is when you need my promises the most. As long as you are in the world, there will be struggle and pain, but remember, I never ask you to face anything I did not also face on your behalf. I know what it means to be human, to be tempted, to be hungry and thirsty, to feel pain and loss. I know what it’s like to die. However, none of this defeated me, and as my child, not a single one of them can defeat you either. You are a conquerer in me! (John 16:33, Hebrews 2:17-18, 2 Corinthians 2:20-22, Psalm 139:7-12, Romans 8:33-39, Isaiah 55:10-12)
5. You are beautiful. No one else gets to say any differently, because I am the one who made you. I knitted you together, and I think you are an amazing work of art, my art. You are never more beautiful than when you rest in me and find your joy in me. Let my light shine through and highlight the beautiful creature I made you to be. (Psalm 139:13-18, Ecclesiastes 8:1, Matthew 5:14, 1 Peter 3:3-4)
6. I am enough for you. No one on earth will ever be able to fill the void in your life. No one else will ever be able to make you feel more satisfied and valued than me. Come to me when your burdens are heavy. Come to me when you feel worthless. Come to me when you are weary, thirsty, starving, afraid, and can’t take another step forward. I have living water. I am the Bread of Life. I WILL give you rest. (John 4:13-14, John 6:35, Isaiah 55:1-3, Matthew 11:28)
7. Your purpose has nothing to do with worldly success. Remember that. Do not chase after the gods of this earth. You cannot have two masters. My purpose for you is greater than anything you could ever imagine. What I have prepared for you is astonishing, but not necessarily in the way you think. There is beauty in the everyday, the ordinary. There is beauty in the smiles you give to a hurting stranger. There is purpose in the hope you speak into the hopeless hearts I bring into your life. You share my heart when, like me, you lay down your plans for the day and allow yourself to be interrupted by the lost and the weary. I put you where you are for a reason. Look up. Allow yourself to see the people who pass by your way as I see them. I am the good Shepherd, the Good Samaritan, and I want you to follow me and do what I do. It isn’t difficult. Cry with those who are mourning. Laugh and rejoice with friends. Give away your possessions to those who need them more. Teach others how to follow me by living your life with them. There is no better way to get out of the pit, than by helping others get out of the pit. Let me pick you up, and bring someone else with you. (1 Corinthians 2:9, Matthew 6:19-24, Matthew 5:43-48, John 13:35, 1 John 4:7, 11)
Be encouraged, dear, sweet daughter of the King! Your life matters. It matters to the God of the universe. The Lord of all, the Maker of heaven and earth, sees you and knows you (Psalm 139:1-6). That is utterly astonishing!