I read a quote the other day that read, “God is not ashamed to be identified with the parts of you that you think you need to hide.”
Aren’t there so many things we could think of about ourselves that we’d like to change? Our doubts, our selfishness, our anxious thoughts. If we’re honest, we oftentimes dwell on those qualities much more than all the excellent traits that characterize who we are. Before you get out your pen to make a list of all the negatives you can find about yourself, let me offer you a new perspective. It may change everything.
The following is an excerpt from Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Let Me Be a Woman. Bear with me, it’s slightly long.
“Perspective makes all the difference in the world…[T]here are those to whom being a woman [or, whatever it is about yourself that you find so troubling] is nothing more than an inconvenience, to be suffered because it is unavoidable and to be ignored if at all possible. Their lives are spent pining to be something else. Every creature of God could be given something that could be called an inconvenience, I suppose, depending on one’s perspective…The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird – up, away from the world, into the sky, into freedom – so the woman who accepts the limitations of womanhood finds in those very limitations her gifts, her special calling – wings, in fact, which bear her up into perfect freedom, into the will of God.
“You have heard me tell of Gladys Aylward, the ‘Small Woman’ of China…She told how when she was a child she had two great sorrows. One, that while all her friends had beautiful golden hair, hers was black. The other, that while her friends were still growing, she stopped. She was about four feet ten inches tall. But when at last she reached the country to which God had called her to be a missionary, she stood on the wharf in Shanghai and looked around at the people to whom He had called her.
“‘Every single one of them,’ she said, ‘had black hair. And every single one of them had stopped growing when I did. And I said ‘Lord God, You know what you’re doing!””
If you’re like me, it took a couple times of re-reading those paragraphs to begin to understand it, but once you do, it’s quite a lesson. Certainly, your limitation does not have to be defined as “being a woman,” as Elliot describes. But whatever it is, could you view it instead as something that helps you to fly? The very things you may wish to change could be God-given struggles that were meant to serve as the wings carrying you into freedom.
It’s easy to pick and choose what we like and don’t like about ourselves. But God wants all of us, everything, including what we wish weren’t true about us. He’s not afraid to see every part of who we are. Please don’t spend your life wishing to be someone different.
Trust me, I’m still trying to hold onto this truth myself. It will be an everyday thing. If there are any stories of ways you feel God has changed the way you viewed a limitation in your life, by instead crafting it into a story of hope, I would love to hear about it.
Sincerely and with love,