Finding God This Christmas

“God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:31

I always thought those words, “It is good” came from a place of pride. That God looked down on his creation and gave himself a pat on the back for the beauty and creativity and innocence and perfection. But I think I was wrong.

Nolan

I watch my son wake up from a nap. He’s like his mama. He loves to wake up slow. We believe easing into sitting up, not rushing to turn on lights, and gently facing the day is the best way to wake up. So I just lean into the door frame and watch him wake up slowly. He rolls around, watches the fan, babbles and coos. My heart wants to burst at the sight of this squishy, innocent, beautiful little boy. My mom always told me that one day I would understand the love a parent has for her child. I knew it would be big. But I couldn’t fathom this. A love so strong; certainly unconditional. I love him simply because I do, not because of anything he has done.

And I think this might be a small picture of what God did after He created humanity. He watched His creation, His children, with a smile on His face, love bursting out of His heart. And He said it is very good. Not from a place of pride, but from love. This beautiful, innocent, perfect human being—the human that would one day break His heart—He looked at with unconditional, overwhelming love.

This how He looks at you, now. Even on the days you break His heart, He is filled with love for you.

I can’t imagine it! Except that in a small way, I can. I know Nolan will grow up and will most likely say or do something that breaks my heart. Last week, he didn’t break my heart but he did make me feel overwhelmingly tired and frustrated. But even on my hardest days with Nolan, I can’t wait to hold him, sing to him, kiss his squishy cheeks, and give him what he needs.

God doesn’t get weary physically, but I know I’m not His easiest child. I don’t always listen. I disobey. I try to do things on my own rather than ask Him for help He is eagerly waiting to give. And while I can’t project human emotion on a perfect God, I’m sure that’s frustrating.

Even though you and I are not perfectly behaved children, our Father can’t wait to hold us, sing to us, comfort us, and give us what we need. Even on our worst days, we can climb into the Father’s lap and let his love wash over us. His love is more unconditional than we can even fathom!

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

As you move towards Christmas Day, look for the evidence of God’s love. Recognize that by sending Jesus to earth, God proclaimed his overwhelming love for you. He literally moved heaven and earth to show you just how deep His love goes—not because of anything you did but because of who He is. Will you receive His love today? Will you reach out to Him and let Him quiet your anxious thoughts and fill your heart with songs of rejoicing? Will you ask him to rescue you, or simply just be with you?

Today is a new day (thank goodness!) and He’s still here, still watching you with love in his eyes, still confident that you are worth it, still claiming, “it is good.”

To help you find focus in your time with the Lord, I’m offering you a Christmas Quiet Time Guide. I hope it brings you joy and peace that can only be found through Jesus.

What attribute of God is most evident to you this Christmas?

 

Stop Believing You’re Not Good Enough

I didn’t make the show choir in seventh grade. I wanted so badly to wear the character shoes, shiny black skirts, and blue sequined vests. If you weren’t in show choir you got to wear a horrendous green plaid, itchy skirt with a white long-sleeve button-down blouse. It was the furthest thing from cute. But during my audition, I knew I wasn’t going to make the show choir. Have you ever had a moment like that? You know you’re failing as you’re doing something, but you can’t walk away? I was so off-key during my audition that I distracted myself and forgot the dance moves. It was embarrassing. It was disappointing. And it wasn’t the first time I didn’t make a team (even if it was the show choir team). Thankfully, I survived middle school, itchy choir concerts, and made it into adulthood thriving. The only real reason that audition stands out to me so clearly was that it was the day I surrendered my dreams of Broadway. I’d heard it was hard to make it to Broadway if you can’t carry a tune.

My vivid recollection of that moment may cause you to look at me questioningly when I tell you, I haven’t thought about that audition in such a long time—but it’s true. I only thought about it after a discussion in Bible study with a group of freshman girls.

The lesson was on the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4, when Satan attempts to deceive Jesus into doubting his identity as the Son of God. In our small group, we passed around index cards and asked the girls to honestly (and anonymously) write down the lie Satan uses most often to attack their identity. The common thread linking them all—including adult leaders? “You’re not good enough.”

These girls are high school athletes, cheerleaders, honor roll students, girls cast in The Nutcracker and school plays. These girls are friendly, smart, and fun to be around. I don’t think anyone has actually ever spoken the words, “you’re not good enough” directly to them. No one has spoken those words to me, yet I wrote “not talented enough to be used by God” on my index card. Satan is not creative. I believe that is the front-runner of all lies. “You’re not good enough”— that’s his go-to. And while it’s lazy, it’s effective. We start to hear it when we’re kids, wonder if it’s true when we’re teenagers, and continue to fight it when we’re adults. 

It was that Sunday morning when the show choir memory popped up. Because my 7th grade audition is not what I think of when I hear the enemy whisper, trying to coax me into fear and insecurity. The enemy’s words are not usually centered around our failure to make a team, or getting passed over for the promotion, the job, or the call-back. It’s a deep seeded, inner voice convincing us that someone out there knows, despite all of our masks, that we’re not good enough.

But it is a lie.

The enemy knows that if you are a child of God, he cannot touch you. He has no authority to disqualify you from doing the very thing God created you to do. So because he can’t touch you, he attempts to deceive you into doubting your identity as a child of God. When you doubt who you are in Christ, when you doubt God’s calling on your life, you often take yourself out of the game. You assume God can’t use you, or worse, doesn’t want to. So you quit before you even get started. 

What chapter in the Bible captures the story of a man who tells God he’d like to confront a world leader and free God’s people from slavery, and God says, “Sorry, you’re not good enough”? Or a woman who asks Jesus if it’s okay if she goes into her village to tell everyone that He is the Messiah, and Jesus says, “Sorry, you’re not good enough.” You won’t find that chapter because it doesn’t exist. Instead, you find the opposite. You find people telling God, “I’m not good enough,” and God saying, “But I am. And I’m choosing you to do this with Me.” You find Jesus befriending, loving, healing, and sharing meals with—especially with—those who believed they were not good enough.

The enemy whispers a lie and without even realizing it, we determine that we’ll never measure up to the lofty picture we’ve painted for ourselves—some worldly standard of success or task that’s too big for us to accomplish. It’s as if we’re a child standing up as straight as possible, only to determine we’re not tall enough to ride the rollercoaster. So we walk away dejected, never hearing the Father calling us, inviting us to join Him on the ride.

But if we look to the One whose opinion matters most, we find strength in our weaknesses, grace in our failures, love despite our unlovable tendencies. We have a new name, a new mission, a new standard of success. We are given affirmation and acceptance. Because of Jesus. Jesus loves you with an unexplainable love that crushes every feeling of inadequacy and replaces it with the fullness of his power.

So, the next time you hear the lie that you’re not good enough, dismiss it and claim the Truth.

The Truth is:

I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

I am free from condemnation  (Romans 8:1)

I am a child of God (John 1:12)

I am significant (Philippians 3:20)

I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:6)

I am a member of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27)

I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)

I can never be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39)

I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)

I can do all things through Christ’s strength (Philippians 4:13)

I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)

I am capable because God is with me (Joshua 1:9)

I have been chosen (John 15:16)

Following Jesus’ example in Matthew 4, we have to combat every lie, every deception the enemy shouts, with Scripture. We have a God that loves us deeply and longs to speak life-giving Truth into our hearts and minds. So instead of comparing ourselves to arbitrary measures of success only to retreat into self-condemnation, let’s rest in who God says we are.

Live today like His opinion of you is the most important one. He proudly says that in Jesus, you are enough. And through Jesus, you can do anything He asks you to do.