Join author Cathy Liggett in the latest "Ignite the Journey" blog post series. Get ready to reflect on your own growth journey and gain insight on how to navigate obstacles and seize opportunities.
Created for God’s Glory
As I begin to write this, I chuckle to myself. My husband and I have a daily ritual of walking our dog at various nearby parks each morning. Today on our way home, my husband was driving and yakking about football.
Since I wasn’t giving him my full attention, I absentmindedly glanced out the car window. A church sign caught my eye. It was bearing the words, “You are more than what your thoughts tell you.” Hmm. It seems Someone knew I’d be writing on this topic this morning, and I would be feeling anxious about it.
Each year at Christmastime, way, way, way back in elementary school, there was one day we were exempt from wearing uniforms. It was the day before Christmas break when we’d meet with the resident priest to sing Christmas carols.
I honestly can’t recall any of my holiday dresses. Probably because to me they didn’t come close to my friend Candy’s dress. Oh, my! Every year, her dress was more spectacular than the last. I vividly remember the one I coveted the most. Dark green velvet with a lacy bodice and rhinestone buttons on the sleeves. To me, a little girl, it was exquisite!
Sadly, many, many, many decades later, I often still get caught up in comparing what I have to others. Projecting perfection onto other’s attributes and how they live. In turn it can make me feel…well… less than. Overshadowed. Insignificant. Need I go on?
I’m sure Satan delights in that negative self-talk. But what a slap in the face of the beloved Lord Almighty who created me, and would say differently about me. He says I’m special. Psalm 139: 13-16, so beautifully tells how thoughtfully and uniquely each one of us was created by Him.
“You are the one who created my innermost parts; You knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb. I give thanks to You that I was marvelously set apart. Your works are wonderful—I know that very well. My bones weren’t hidden from You when I was being put together in a secret place, when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my embryo, and on Your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me, before any one of them had yet happened.”
Ephesians 2:10 reads, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we could walk in them.”
But really…me? Can I actually be God’s masterpiece?
Lately scripture has been showing up from different sources, reminding me of what I’ve been negligent about, and all featuring the word FIRST. “…but seek first His kingdom.” (Matthew 6:33) “…first seek the counsel of the Lord.” (1 Kings 22:5) “…you have forsaken your first love.” (Revelation 2:4)
These scriptures have reignited in me the belief that I don’t need to be anyone except the person God created me to be. And all so I can live out my purpose and bring Him glory as I live the days of my life.
To do that, I need to put my Creator first. I must seek ways to get closer to Him. To stop comparing myself to others. To be more caring and sharing. And to use another rhyming word…daring.
Which reminds me of a lady God put in my path twelve years ago while I was working at the local hospital. A smiling forty-something woman in a wheelchair. Jennie sat across from my registration desk, chatting away about how thankful she was for the nurses and doctors at the hospital.
I was at a very low point that day so I didn’t pay close attention to her narrative. Upset about ongoing issues in my own life, I was not sure how I was ever going to get through them. Sure, I’d been praying. But was God even listening?
As I continued typing in Jennie’s information, she kept yammering about how fortunate she was. I have to admit, she seemed a little over-the-top. After all, keying her information into the computer, Jennie sure didn’t appear fortunate to me. She was divorced, lived on one of the worst streets in the entire city, had no emergency contact, and she had bone cancer.
At the sight of all that information, my heart immediately softened. Putting aside the issues wracking my own world for a moment, I spoke more soothingly and listened harder. And I’m so glad I did.
Jennie went into detail about how she’d been misdiagnosed for a year until doctors discovered a tumor and performed surgery. That would have been enough for anyone to be disillusioned. Yet she got my attention when she stated, “I know there’s a God. I know He’s with me.”
She smiled at me and explained that when she went home after surgery there were many birds around her home for days. The birds were singing as they sat on her windowsill, and it was the first time she had ever seen birds where she lived. Jennie knew God had placed those birds there to remind her that God’s presence is real. That God was there for her.
I still get teary-eyed thinking about that encounter. In worldly terms, Jennie didn’t have much compared to myself and others I know. Even so, she sure wasn’t sheepish about declaring God’s love and bringing Him glory. And what a blessing when God sat her before me, and at a time when I so desperately needed to hear what she knew of God!
It reminds me that I need to stay attuned to my Creator. I must put Him first to discover how to use every trait and situation that He has deemed for me. Otherwise, how can I be the authentic character in the story that God created for me? It also puts into perspective that I would rather strive to be more like Jennie and see God at work, than the little girl I was who pined after a pretty frock.
For Further Thought
As you look at your own life, and the challenges you are facing, what helps you get through difficult times? How has God shown you tangible examples of His love and presence?
Over the years, this has worked well for me: making a list of “spiritual markers.” This list includes the concrete ways that I’ve seen God show up in my life. I also write down the spiritual markers I have noticed in the lives of others.
There is something about the process of actually writing them down that makes them seem all the more real. As I look over the list, I realize God has been there a lot for me. I am also reminded that I don’t have to be perfect to see the Creator at work in my life. It becomes evident how in my times of weakness, His strength shines through even brighter.
Almighty God, amidst all the incredible wonders of Your universe, I am humbled and overwhelmed that You created me. Even more than that, You ‘have searched me and know me’ thoroughly, and still You are there for me with love as vast as the sky above. Please quicken my spirit to pay attention to Yours so that I may know how to serve You best with this life You have given me. May all glory be Yours, dear Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
About Cathy Liggett
Cathy Liggett is an Ohio girl who never dreamed her writing journey would take her across the world and to Amish country, too. But she’s learned God’s plans for our lives are greater and more creative than the ones we often imagine for ourselves. That includes meeting her husband at a high school reunion and marrying three months later—over forty years ago. Together, they enjoy visiting kids and grandkids and spoiling their pup Chaz.