If you are like me, you are more likely to criticize yourself than to celebrate who you are. As the saying goes, we are our own worst critics. We are well aware of our faults and less aware of our strengths. Our greatest temptation is to reject ourselves. But what would it look like to do the opposite? How would our lives look different if we fully embraced the person God designed us to be? What if you stopped hating parts of yourself and instead saw them as unique and holy? David did just that. Here’s what he wrote in his journal…
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb” (Psalm 139:13-15, NLT).
God took great care when He made you, placing gifts, talents, abilities, and body parts inside of you. There was no mistake here. All the delicate, inner parts are layers of complexity. When God made you, He wove together a unique and highly specific identity made up of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional layers. They were not formed in you like the layers of a cake, one on top of the other, but more like an artist’s painting. The colors of each layer combine and contrast, shadow and lighten, texturize and define the makeup of your identity. When God was finished painting your potential and your inner reality, He stepped back and saw that it was marvelous. A masterpiece. Do you see yourself that way?
When I first read this Scripture, I felt like David was conceited. He’s talking himself up. Imagine you wrote what he wrote in your journal. “God made me wonderfully complex. I am marvelous.” Now, imagine someone found your journal and secretly read what you wrote. What would they think of you? They would probably think you are full of yourself. But David doesn’t care what anyone thinks, he takes the risk of writing what is in his heart and now billions of people have read his journal. Was David conceited? No, he was confident. You are not conceited when you see yourself the way God sees you, you are confident.
David writes, “Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Really? I feel like one of the hardest things to do is know myself. How did David know God’s workmanship in his life? He took time to reflect. The book of Psalms is a marvelous gift from David (and other writers) to us. By taking time outs to reflect on his life, David learned more about himself and he saw that what God was doing in him was marvelous and holy.
When we read David’s words, we are invited to do the same interior inspection and see God’s hand at work shaping us. The question isn’t if God is working but where. God is always working to refine us. But we don’t often see Him at work because we don’t slow down. When we get swept up in busyness, we can’t see where God is working. It’s like trying to take a picture while driving in a car. You try to capture the moment on film but everything is blurry. You have to stop and take the picture. You have to stop and process your life.
What is really going on under the hood of my life? How is God transforming my potential into reality? What part of me have I been rejecting? What would it look like to accept and celebrate that part in me?
The truth is, you are a masterpiece. God sees you that way. But you aren’t finished. The Painter sees your potential. He begins with the end in mind before He gets out His paint brush and paint. His goal is to transform what He sees in His mind onto the paper of your life. But you play a part in that process. The Painter is still crafting you. How will you choose to look at the canvas of your life? Through your eyes or The Painter’s eyes?