My sweet momma was a teaching leader for a Bible Study Fellowship Class for many years. She influenced me in countless ways because of her commitment to her ministry—and the crazy amount of study and prayer she put in. I gleaned so much just picking up the crumbs dropping off of that table!
She used to marvel at the different ways women would respond to the same lesson. Someone would approach her after a lecture and say, “It hit me between the eyes when you said …” And Mom would gaze upward, thinking back on her presentation. Wait, did I say that? Another class member would have a different take away from the same concept. She heard the same words but had a different nugget to apply. Both women believed the words they had taken to heart had come directly from Mom’s mouth. But something greater does the heavy lifting when we sincerely pray to teach His word.
Mom told me this story more than once. Her point was always that the Holy Spirit was at work in each of the learners in a personal way. If Mom said, “God is sovereign.” The Holy Spirit began connecting the dots for a woman in the class who needed the Word immediately applied to whatever challenge had taken up an unwelcome residence in her life. What she would take away from the study that day became deeply personal. “God is sovereign over my circumstances. Today. At this moment. He can be trusted!”
In a similar way, I’m amazed at how the Holy Spirit can speak to me one way through a particular scripture today, and ten years from now something completely different jumps off the same page. I’ve done a ton of bible studies over the years. But, when I return to those passages, there’s always something new. The Holy Spirit connects His word to the moment—my moment—the moment of challenge or crisis or joy or confusion that has taken up residence in my life.
Since January, I’ve been making my way slowly through the New Testament. I’m not following a plan. I’m jumping around. I’m reading and rereading and flipping through cross-referenced scriptures. It has been so beneficial to just read and think and pray.
I’m not sure why, but when I arrived in Acts, I inexplicably felt that I should jump to Galatians and read through Colossians. You should see the notes I’ve scrawled in the margins! Holy cow! It’s like I’d never read those books before.
Having missed Sunday school, err Life Groups (pardon me), for a couple of weeks, I didn’t know that we’d finished a series on faith and had moved to a Louie Giglio study on Colossians. By coincidence I finished Colossians this week—after parking on it for several days because there’s so much good stuff in there.
I’m thinking, I just did this. Just read it. Look at all the notes I wrote. And right out of the gate, something brand new swiped me across the cheek.
“—all things were created through him and for him …” (1:16)
The emphasis on the word for is mine—because that’s the word that got me. It’s not like I’ve never heard this principle before. Still, I needed this. Everything that I read and study these days is filtered through my recovery from perfectionism. The odd thing about being a perfectionist is you think you’re going to get all your ducks in a row and feel great about yourself.
But NO, definitely not. The opposite actually happens. Perfectionism robs you of the truth that you have value. It makes you believe that your value is found in what you do and not who you are. Invariably you work very hard but things spin out of control, and you feel terrible about yourself.
The process of unlearning the lie of where value is derived is very, very hard work. The map to follow is in His word. Here’s what amazed me about Colossians 1:16.
When I make something for myself, I don’t go out of my way to make something that I don’t enjoy and that has no worth. I thought about the effort I put into feeding my Beasleys. I’m a pretty good cook. It came with some hard work and practice, but I always want my family to come running to the table. So—do you think I go out of my way to cook something for them to eat that isn’t good? Furthermore, what they eat, I eat. Would I make something for myself that I don’t really want? Of course not!
Todd built us a cabinet to use as an entertainment unit a few years ago. It’s gorgeous—and it’s exactly what we wanted right down to each and every spec—size, color, the number of shelves. We didn’t spend any time browsing at stores or online. He made something of much higher quality, it suits our purposes perfectly, and it is probably our favorite piece of furniture in the house.
I’m not perfect, obviously, so here and there a recipe will disappoint me or some picky member of my household. Likewise, Todd isn’t a master carpenter. In fact, he’s mostly self-taught. If we can do things imperfectly that we still enjoy, what about the things made by our perfect God? He does all things well. He created a vast universe, one which is so packed with beauty that we can only gape in awe.
Why would a God so powerful make anything for Himself that isn’t good? That He doesn’t enjoy? That doesn’t serve a purpose?
You have value because you were made by Him and for Him. Does this principle speak to you in this moment—maybe a moment consumed in crisis or confusion? Make it a point to pray that you will know the worth of the Savior and the worth of what, and who, He has made.