Did you know that Earth is one of the smaller planets in the solar system? Our sun could comfortably contain 1 million Earths. It would take 36 years to travel to the outermost regions of our solar system. The Milky Way is 100,000 light years across–by the way, a single light year is equal to 5,676,000,000,000 miles. (Look at all those zeros!)
Yet, and I get chills thinking about it, God sees me and knows me. From the beginning of time, God has been speaking to people about their purpose and place in the universe. Consider what He said to Abraham, the father of nations:
“ ‘ Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them…so shall your offspring be.’ “ (Genesis 15:5)
God compared Abraham’s very existence and lineage to the expanse of space, and why? For Abraham’s happiness? For his reputation? For his security and self-assurance? The answer to this important covenant promise that the Lord made with Abraham is found in Isaiah 43:13.
“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth–everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
This fascination with space has lingered in my mind lately. I find myself meditating on the vastness of the sky–how beautiful and spectacular it is, the perfection of every detail of interstellar rotations, chemical gasses and elements that allow me to simply draw breath and survive another second. I’m reminded of another verse in Isaiah, which says:
“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26)
I’m in a Bible study on Mark, where we’re slowly walking through Jesus’ ministry, witnessing his sovereignty and authority over the weather, over illness, demonic forces, the human body, natural law, and even death. Simultaneously, my daughter was walking through her solar system unit and every day after she jumped into our minivan from school carpool, she’d breathlessly pepper me with space facts. So in the mornings, as I sat quietly with my Bible and listening to praise music, I’d ponder God’s absolute power as demonstrated in Jesus Christ, while simultaneously thinking about the expanse of the universe, and the only response in me was praise and the repetitive, humble awareness that:
It’s not about me. This life is not about me–it’s all about Him.
Now on the surface, we all know this to be true, but living daily in constant awareness of this, letting it shape your whole life, is quite different. I have found it to be revolutionary–the key to living freely and loving freely. You see, when I meditate on the fact that a huge, all-powerful, omnipotent God loves me perfectly and knows me intimately, the same way He knows each and every star, there is no need for anything more. To know that I am accepted by Him, gives me confidence that cannot be shaken by a lack in any human relationship. Embracing this keeps my focus on Him, and takes the focus off of myself–my rights, my needs, my comfort–the illusion that this focus will supply me with limitless happiness and purpose.
This may all sound utopian-esque. Many of you may be rolling your eyes right now and thinking that it’s impossible to live this way. I don’t argue that it’s counter-cultural and unnatural and really really tough sometimes, but I do believe it’s possible, because Jesus said that with God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26).
It’s not about me–it’s all about Him, in my marriage.
Believing this and living this enables me to stop competing with my husband, to stop keeping score of how many times I’ve done x and how many times he’s done x. It stops the resentment and helps me see him like Jesus does. It makes me so grateful to have him in my life, and keeps me from judging his walk with the Lord. It fuels my prayer life for him.
It’s not about me–it’s all about Him, in my mothering.
Believing this and living this enables me to mother my children without fear of judgment from others, without fear of failure, without pressure to do more. I don’t give in to the urge to be like other moms, because I already have His approval and justification through Christ. I don’t have to worry that my kids will fail or get hurt or sick, because I trust in His complete and good provision.
It’s not about me–it’s all about Him, in my family relationships.
Believing this and living this enables me to accept my family for exactly who they are and to stop expecting them to live up to some ridiculous, impossible standard. It provides me the chance to appreciate and enjoy them, knowing that my value and approval does not come from them. It gives me the freedom to disagree with them, and for them to disagree with me because I know where, and with Whom, my convictions lie. It allows me to see their strengths, and stand up for them in their weaknesses, as I would want them to do for me.
It’s not about me–it’s all about Him, in my friendships.
Believing this and living this enables me to build friendships based on compassion and not comparison. It drives me to pursue people. It prevents me from feeling rejected when I’m not invited or included, because I have been fully accepted and loved by the Star of Heaven. It opens my eyes to see the ways I can serve my friends, instead of expecting them to cater to me.
It’s not about me–it’s all about Him, in my work.
Believing this and living this enables me to see a greater purpose in what I do. It redefines the things that I once considered to be inconveniences as ordained appointments that can impact the Kingdom. It fills me with compassion for the people that walk through my life, with whom I would otherwise never interact.
It’s not about me–it’s all about Him, in my body image.
Believing this and living this makes me grateful, oh so grateful, for my health. It challenges my vanity and reminds me that my face and my body are simply vessels that carry my eternal soul. It reminds me of the importance of self-control, which is a by-product (or fruit) of walking with the Holy Spirit. It helps me to see His image in those who look nothing like me, with appreciation and not comparison or envy.
It’s not about me–it’s all about Him, in my responses.
Believing this and living this is maturing me, even at the age of 41. It’s teaching me to slow down, to hold my tongue and pray. It’s reminding me that I have a Counselor whose guidance is free and always available. It’s showing me that venting is often complaining in disguise, and that stress is a lack of surrender to God. It’s helping me to take deep breaths, admit my poor management of my problems, and to ask him and others for help. It’s giving me the strength to discern His calling to act from a feeling of pressure to perform. It’s showing me that, most of the time, if I’m feeling offended it’s because I have an overblown ego and sense of self-importance.
I could go on and on, because this is a life-long, endless lesson. The reason I repeated that phrase for every category, is because these days, I really do go throughout the day repeating it to myself. I whisper it under my breath when I’m tempted to become annoyed or harbor resentment. It has become a constant prayer of mine, and one that God is eager to hear because He knows that the only way to live life freely and to love others freely is to release every bit of my pride and stop fighting for recognition.
As small as I am among the galaxies that He has created, I am still His. Even though I may be light years away from Heaven, I can rest right here in my living room in His presence and know that He sees me. He could pick me out of a million stars and call me by name, like He does for them, and like He does for you.
“This is what the Lord, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says: I am Yahweh, who made everything; who stretched out the heavens by Myself; who alone spread out the earth…I, Yahweh, the God of Israel call you by your name.” (Isaiah 44: 24)
Adrienne Gross is a writer living in North Carolina with her husband Bryan, an her three children. She is a lover of adventure, fitness, good food and good conversation with the people she loves.