A post from 2008 has come back to mind...I guess I needed to read it again. Maybe you do too...
past June while attending the local county fair my brother-in-law came
across a picture in a scrapbook from years ago. It was of me during my
early high school days and as he showed his wife, my husband and
children I was embarrassed.
Though everyone laughed, I hurt as I
recalled many negative feelings associated with my looks. What really
hurts is they haven’t entirely disappeared over the past 20 years. As a
child and teen I was a tomboy who enjoyed sports and life on the farm
much more than fashion, make-up and the latest hairstyles and my picture
The doubts on the outside weren’t the only ones I
recalled as I took a look at who I once was - I recalled the
insecurities as well. The picture brought back a statement I’ve said to
myself quite often as I’ve journeyed through life, “look at me!”
words have never been an attempt to catch everyone’s attention, but
instead have given me a reason to doubt. Many times I’ve looked at
myself and thought I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or
worthy enough to do whatever it was someone was asking me to do.
giving my life to Christ in my early 20’s I caught myself giving the
same response to God – “Look at me!!” He obviously had made a mistake; I
wasn’t the girl for the job!
In the past few years God has used
one of my children’s favorite stories to speak to me. My kids are
intrigued with the idea of walking on water and have attempted to do it
themselves, but more important than Jesus’ ability to defy nature is
the message He has for all of us.
In Matthew 14:22 – 33 the
story is told of Jesus walking on water. It begins,“Immediately after
this Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the
other side of the lake while he sent the people home. Afterward he went
up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there
alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for
a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.” I think
we can relate, I know there are times when storms hit my life and it
feels as though Jesus is far away. In those moments it can be easy to
lose focus and rely on my own strength. It is then that the “look at
me” worries, fears and doubts resurface and seem just as powerful as
the strong winds and heavy waves.
But we read on – “About three
o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water. When
the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost.
But Jesus spoke to them at once, “It’s all right,” he said. I am here!
Don’t be afraid.” A man walking on water, who wouldn’t be afraid? But
Jesus assures them of His presence and the story continues,
28 and 29 – “Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell
me to come to you by walking on water.” All right come.” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on water toward
Jesus.” Again can we relate? Have you ever felt God’s presence in your
life and by faith reacted to his calling? Like Peter have you jumped
out of the boat with complete trust in your savior who is calling you?
Have you taken the initial step of faith only to experience what came
next for Peter?
In verse 30 we read, “But when he looked around
at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!”
I read this verse and can picture Peter mentally
saying, “look at me” I’m walking on water and then when the reality of
the situation hits I see the statement move from being one of pride to
one of fear and doubt. He looks around and sees the danger in the
situation coupled with the lack of his own ability to do the very thing
Christ told him to do and fear sets in.
As I share this story
with my kids, I see myself in this role all too often – God calling me
to do something and then in my heart I say yes, but as I survey the
situation I too become terrified and start to sink. The “look at me”
phrase returns and leads to many excuses in my mind that cause me to
sink before my feet even leave the boat.
But as God continues to
prove Himself faithful, the final verses of the story carry more
power. It says, verses 31 to 33…"Instantly Jesus reached out his hand
and grabbed him. “You don’t have much faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you
doubt me?” And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
Then the disciples worshipped him. “You really are the Son of God!”
How many times has Jesus uttered the same words
to me? “You don’t have much faith. Why did you doubt me?” For years I
believed doubting myself couldn’t hurt God, but I’ve realized that is
wrong. If it is Him who lives in me, when I say I can’t who am I
referring to? Take a minute and think about that.
As I do just
that I think about our evening at the fair and I recall someone saying,
“Well at least you can say your looks have improved.” Perhaps, but more
importantly than what’s on the outside is what’s happened internally.
Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “What this means is that those who become
Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the
old life is gone. A new life has begun!” I’m grateful I don’t see the
same person anymore and I’m more thankful that every time I hear the
familiar phrase “look at me” I’m beginning to sense God whispering, “No
Jill, look at me.”
Though He has yet to call me out of the boat
and literally walk on water, He has asked me to do things I never
thought I would do. How does this happen? By keeping my eyes on Jesus.
As Peter did this he did the unimaginable – he walked on water! When I
focus on Christ, though the winds may blow and the waves rage, He keeps
me from falling and proves himself true. Sisters he will do the same
for you – keep listening for his voice, you will hear him say, “Look at