Spam

WordPress dutifully screens the comments that come to my blog, and deposits spam into the trash folder. Sometimes I read over them for a good giggle before I hit the “Delete Permanently” button. How can I not laugh when I get instructions about how to build big muscles, or how to improve my English while the messages are themselves fraught with grammatical errors?

Curled up in the shadowy quietness this morning, I thought about this weeding-out and wished I was better at it in life.

I take people seriously and my heart gets broken because I am unable to sort out the spam.

My mind goes down myriad trails of judgment. You should be this, and this, and this. You never do things right. You are a horrible mom. I sink into depression, because I am listening to spam.

What does God say? How does He view me? What do the people closest to me say? These questions bring me back to reality–a reality quite different from what either my mind or people around me project at times.

I experienced this redirection in a beautiful measure a few months ago. I was lying listlessly on my living room couch, shattered by accusations that darted to the core of who I am. I felt uncertain and unprotected. As I slumped over my pillow, I received this message on my phone which I will quote only a few lines from:

You’ve been on my heart the last few days and I’ve been praying for you. (What?! This person didn’t know anything about what had happened!) What comes to my mind about you is a fierce determination to live and stay rooted…and also the tender beauty of a rose. There is a deep strength and tenderness in you! 

Tears rolled down my cheeks when I read the unexpected message naming me as God’s creation. Even though I knew that I was far from perfect, my friend’s words validated my aim to be pure and holy, to see the best in others, to have something beautiful to offer the world. This message encouraged what already existed and also what could exist in the future with God’s help.

Finding who God says we are and believing it is liberating. Over and over in the Bible God called people by whom He saw them to be, even though the physical reality didn’t completely match. (In some cases, it didn’t match at all.) He called Abram “Abraham” or “father of many children” when Abraham did not yet have his promised son (Genesis 17:5). God called Gideon a “mighty warrior” while Gideon was freaking out in a winepress (Judges 6:11-12). Jesus called Peter a “rock” even though he knew Peter would betray Him (Matthew 16:18). In the same way, God sees in us who He has designed us to be and calls us to live out of His dream for us. That’s empowering.

In contrast, listening to the spam from others and from my brain is debilitating. Every time I start internalizing junk, I feel myself spiraling downward into a vicious cycle of self-examination and self-doubt.

When I listen to what God says, my eyes are drawn to the beauty of Jesus. I want to please Him, but even more, I want to believe Him. If I gaze on His face and hear what He says, I don’t walk in a fog of condemnation, but I am convicted, sharpened, and comforted. God deletes the spam, and I find grace to grow into the person that He says I am.

 


What does God say about you? How is His dream for you shaping you now?

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8 thoughts on “Spam

  1. joyfulhopeflokstra

    The words I sensed from God recently are it’s not too late for him to do something new in me. And it’s okay if it takes time.
    It’s so easy to soak in all the spam.

    Like

  2. Lucy M Zimmerman

    Thank you for this post, keep your aim on Him! And I am grateful to read this message, self image is something I struggle with. I am thankful for the reminder to think of who God made me to be.

    Like

  3. We’ve never met but I stumbled across ur blog and have been blessed. We live in the grand city of Boston (actually outlying city named Malden) with 10 kids. (9boys, 1 girl) My husband is an ESL teacher and director at a refugee/immigrant center. So blessed by families like urs who r willing to challenge status quo and live outside the comfortable menno box. You won’t regret it!

    Like

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