A few years ago, I was introduced to the children's book 'You Are Special' by Max Lucado, and as extreme as this sounds, it honestly changed my life.
'You Are Special' tells the tale of small wooden people - Wemmicks - who are all hand-crafted by Eli. Each day, the Wemmicks do the same thing: stick gold star stickers on their peers who do something good and stick grey dot stickers are their peers who do something bad/silly.
One day, Punchinello meets another Wemmick. This Wemmick doesn't have one sticker on her surface - no stars, no dots. When Punchinello asks her why she is sticker-less, she explains that she goes daily to Eli, who helps her understand that she is special- no matter what others say about her.
And as childish as this sounds, it a vital lesson for children and adults alike.
The more time we spend alone with God, our maker, the more we realize how special and loved we truly are - and then the marks and opinions of others begin to fall off of us.
I've noticed in life, when I spend time away from the Word of God and in prayer, I become so anxious and nervous. But the more I spend time in fellowship with my Father, the one who made me and calls me very good, the more I realize who I am and what He has designed me to do, and that is to bring Him glory.
When I first discovered this book, I was encountering in a rough season of life- one where i was debating whose I was, and therefore, who I was.
Identity is an issue a lot of people, especially girls, struggle with. I was one of those girls.
To know you are loved by Jesus and to live like you are loved by Jesus are two very different things. I knew I was loved for a long time. But when hard times came or when I lost a loved one or when my boyfriend and I broke up, I didn't live like I was loved by the Creator of the universe.
I let my identity depend on my circumstances, therefore, I was an emotional mess and unstable.
When our identity is tied to an unchanging, forever-faithful Savior, that leaves no room for crises and meltdowns because we know who we are in Him and can rest in a love that anchors us when everything around us falls into shambles. The love of our Jesus is one that does not waver, one that isn't faulty or fractured, and one that calls out to every fiber of our beings.
His love runs to us in our mess but does not leave us there.
When we can believe and rest in that love, it changes things- it changes the way we view ourselves and others. When you truly realize how valued and precious you are, you begin to honor yourself and others the way Jesus does.
When you truly realize that you are special, it changes things.