Dear brothers and sisters,
Today we reflect on our early lives. Last week we saw that we have a choice: are we going to live our life just for us, or in God’s greater story? We are not the main author or character in our story. God is the main author, and he plays the main role, but we play a supporting role; we get to co-author with him. As we begin this series, I invite you to pray with Psalm 139, which is a very powerful meditation on our relationship with God. The beginning stanzas express very beautifully that God is in everything; and we can’t escape from him. Then verse 13 says, “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.” From the very beginning of our story, God was authoring it. Rick Warren has said that there are unplanned parents, but there are no unplanned children. There are a number of things we can’t control: we don’t control who our parents are, the place or time we were born, the number of siblings we have or our place in the birth order. God is ultimately in charge. The psalmist prays, “I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!” (v.14). We can frequently doubt this when we struggle with our self-worth, whether in our personal or professional lives. In prayer we constantly come back to this basic truth: that we are wonderful works of God. Our story is worth sharing not because of just us, but because of the basic fact that we are wonderfully made, no matter what. “My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you. When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down. My days were shaped, before one came to be” (vv.14-16). The psalmist is recognizing that God is the main author. We still have free will and make our own choices, but the major foundational and background elements of our story are given to us. “How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them!” (v.17). In order to understand the story he is writing for me, I need to seek out God’s will. How do I do that? First, we pray and reflect. Second, we share our story and listen to other people’s stories. Where is it in your life that you are trying to be the sole author, trying to control the story, and not inviting God in to write a bigger story? Questions for reflection:
What were your early relationships? Who was your best friend? Who were the people that influenced you the most?
What brought you the most joy as a kid? What do you remember as your biggest disappointment?
The Psalmist says we are wonderfully made. Why is that important to remember as we reflect on our story? How do we search out God’s thoughts so that we understand our stories better?