To Live as the Favorite Child

IMG_8198As I write this my kids have been away at camp for nine days already and I have received all of¬†two letters. Yep – just two. Between three kids! I figured out if they each wrote everyday (like I do ūüėČ ) that would be a total of 27 letters by now!

Seriously, it’s fine. Based on a previous track record I knew ahead of time that one wouldn’t write at all. That child didn’t even want stationery in the trunk and considering there were still stamped envelopes in there from three years ago, I decided it was time to hand those over to a different child.

Now the other two normally do write, but according to me daughter’s¬†letter I think she is taking advantage of her rest time to get her Bolivian counselor’s help with her huge AP Spanish packet, due when school starts back! The other one – I assume is writing and drawing in his journal because that is what he likes to do, but who knows with him.

What I love though is both who wrote¬†signed their letters as “Your Favorite Child.” They¬†have given themselves this title, but I’m glad they feel such love and security that they live according to¬†the status.¬† Because you know what?

This is how we should live as children of God. ¬†We are all God’s Favorite Child!¬†

All of us! He doesn’t favor one over the other because one is a better Christian, does more good works or hasn’t committed certain sins. Nope – all of His children are His favorite children!

I had never thought about this until reading a chapter in Kay Wyma’s book I’m Happy for You (Sort of‚ĶNot Really) on¬†“finding contentment in a culture of comparison” – a book I’ve shared once before here.

In the book she quotes author Henri Nouwen as saying:

“Our God‚Ķdoes not compare. Never‚Ķ I cannot fathom how all of God’s children can be favorites. And still, they are‚Ķ God loves with a divine love, a love that cedes to all women and men their uniquenss without ever comparing.”

How amazing is that!

In our humanness that is hard to comprehend when we seem to not be able to not¬†compare! That is, after all, how favorites are chosen- comparing one to the other. ¬†And I’m not talking about children, it’s how we decide our favorite anything. Favorite shoes, favorite food, favorite vacation. We compare and contrast to determine which one is better or best.

But how would it change things for you if you knew God is not comparing and contrasting you to your neighbor? To your Bible study friend? To the room mom? Nor is He comparing the addict who slipped up again or your spouse whose sin is seemingly so much greater than yours ;0 to you.

  • Wouldn’t it eliminate the striving to be good enough?
  • Wouldn’t it¬†help you¬†rest knowing you are okay just as you are?¬†
  • Wouldn’t it help you believe that¬†it’s not about what we do, but what He did for us?¬†
  • Wouldn’t it also convict us of our pride by pointing out¬†the ways we think we are better because of what we do or don’t do?¬†

So back to¬†the “What If” game that I introduced¬†in a recent post:

What if we lived as if we were God’s favorite child?

Wouldn’t that be freeing?!

A Thousand Words Not Told In A Picture

Have you ever tried describing a spectacular sight, perhaps a place you visited or maybe just the sunset, and your words just couldn’t¬†get across the beauty in what you saw?

Exactly why it has been said¬†“a picture is worth a thousand words.”

IMG_5743

Marvao, Portugal at sunset

But in a world¬†where we no longer go¬†develop film and then pick through the batch of often¬†blurry, red-eyed or off-centered shots,¬†our now cropped, edited and filtered pictures aren’t always true to the thousands words they seem to say.¬†

The problem is we still think they are.

We think in viewing¬†the¬†social media feeds of our “friends” that life is great for them. They are smiling, skinny, fit and fashionable¬†often surrounded by¬†friends in fun settings. Their little ones¬†– all dressed darling and perfectly epitomize sibling love; the older ones¬†– look¬†to¬†be the most¬†perfect teen based on their string of successes and friends.¬† When¬†we get a sneak peak into these friends’ homes, we see fabulous tablescapes, decor and gourmet meals. ¬†And, we assume these picture tell it like it is, everyday, all the time in their worlds.

The irony¬†is we post our own versions of our best self with similar scenerios though we know the truths behind the facade. We know we only post¬†picture that have¬†been carefully edited to camoflouge the¬†wrinkles, the grey hair and the extra pounds. And the cute outfit and Kendras we have on, we know isn’t our¬†norm. In fact, many days we don’t¬†even get around to putting make-up on.

We also know about the on-going struggles and¬†heartaches at home, the bickering kids ¬†and the spouse we contantly nag, but the thousand words of our beautiful family picture say otherwise. Others¬†see it and wonder why they can’t be like us. Ha! ¬†If the only knew what happens behind closed doors. But too often we refuse¬†to let others¬†in and by the stories our curated photos tell no one would ever suspect life is not a bed of roses.

  • If¬†this is all true about us, why are we so sure everyone else is perfect? ¬†
  • Why do continue comparing ourselves and our lives to the facade?
  • Why¬†can’t we be okay with the mess of who we are and see that everyone else is too?!

I like the way¬†author Kay Wyma asks the question in her new book, I’m Happy for You {Sort Of‚Ķ Not Really}:

“Has comparison-living hijacked your life?”

This issue of comparison is causing¬†us to feel less-than and robbing our joy. Sadly it’s as true for teenagers as it is for adults. But, if we adults don’t get outside of ourselves to see it for what it is, we are only going to add to the unrealistic pressure our kids already feel.¬†From the teen survey I’ve been conducting their level of stress is already averaging at a 7-8 on a scale of 1-10. The cases of depression and the ways in which they are dealing with it are devastating.

So what do we do? Where do we start?

Answer: Our own hearts.

We must ask the Lord to help us admit our struggles and to see¬†where we are buying into the lie. If our own hearts are discontent and distracted we won’t be able to see where and how are kids are falling prey to comparison too. ¬†We must taste and see what the Word says is true about where “life” is found and not be deceived by the so-called perfect lives behind the pictures we see.

Very practically to undo¬†the lies,¬†let’s focus on the joys.¬†As Ann Voskamp advocates, let’s instead count the One Thousand Gifts of joy and thanksgiving and blessing.¬†We are trying to do¬†this more¬†in our own house by deliberately looking for the¬†daily graces He gives and the little reminders in our days that He is near and that He is good and that in Him there is life – true “life.”¬†

Looking to the One who was perfect for us is where we must go to reboot our minds and be filled with what His words say about us. It is in Him we are fully loved, accepted, declared righteous and made perfect. The thousands words of the cross is the only picture we need and must see as truth!IMG_7884

Don’t want to miss a post? Interested in receiving my future monthly newsletter? Enter your email to sign up in the top right-hand box!