It’s a fairly normal birthday activity for me: reflecting. I think about what I’ve learned this past year, or about what I have watched God do. Sometimes the thing I’ve learned is new information, and sometimes it’s old information that’s worked its way under the skin in a new way.
This year, it’s nothing new. I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know if it was this past year or the past ten, but I do know – that as I woke on my birthday this year, and looked down at myself, it was with some surprise – and no surprise at all – that I noticed that I have learned to like myself.
We like me. What a great and glorious thing I have in common with God.
I have learned that it is not a secular and sinful notion – to know your own worth, to believe in the deep wells of magic that crouch in the human soul. It is believing God. It is yielding to His words over yours, over others’ words; honoring His artistry. It is the miracle we celebrate each Christmas – when we lift our voices and proclaim that with His coming the soul could finally feel its worth.
Oh what a gift it is – to know the deep and ancient power tucked inside this flesh and these bones; to honor the beauty in the way they are held together, in the billion neurons firing each moment to keep these lungs functioning without even a conscious command.
What a deep terrible twist of the enemy it is to tell us that we must choose between honoring Him and honoring what He has made. As if it is possible to honor an artist while you belittle His artwork. As if it is possible to tell Him He is a good Creator while you lovingly, with the best of intentions, consider His creation to be contemptible.
But there is a steel in the souls of those inhabited by the Spirit of God, and it will not bend to lies for too long. Sooner or later, He will rebel. I know this.
At some point, He snapped inside of me, reaching His threshold for criticism of the Father’s creation, and He took over. As is His way, the lifter of my head tilted my chin upwards and with eyes fixed on Him I knew better. He who is goodness Himself is the one who has knit me together in my mother’s womb. And He didn’t just do that in Eden before it all went wrong. 37 years ago in this broken world a beautiful thing was shaped and curved and life breathed into it in love. And this thing was me. 37 years ago He wrote me into this world with purpose and dignity and no words or actions of men or women can change that. No mere mortal – no matter how precious they are to me, even if they themselves are me – gets to determine the worth of a thing made by God.
His Spirit has appraised this piece of art and recorded the price for all to see. For God so loved me that He sent His only begotten Son. Behold the value I have to God.
The artist who designed me delights in what He has made and He is always right in His assessment.
Happy birthday to me.