I was babysitting the two most awesome kids ever yesterday, Tavin and Kadie. Tavin is 5 and all boy. He spent the morning drawing a sword and cutting it out of a cardboard box. He then made another one and gave it to his sister, because he’s thoughtful like that.
We went to the Park in the afternoon and Tavin took his sword (more of a knife, really…like the Kind Crocodile Dundee would carry – the kind he would say, “Now that’s a knife” about). And I overheard him talking to another kid on the playground.
“Do you see my sword?! I made it on purpose.”
He was so cute, so proud, so anxious to show off his sword, so anxious for people to know he made it…and he made it on purpose. It wasn’t some accidental creation. It wasn’t something that took on a life of it’s own (like a plant, that you help to grow, but can’t entirely take the credit for), nor was it something that he attempted and failed (like when you intend to make a soufflé but fail miserably). He made it on purpose – he crafted it and intended it-and he was proud of it.
His little phrase, “Do you see my sword?! I made it on purpose.” stuck with me all afternoon. He didn’t just make it. He made it on purpose. That’s how God makes us. On purpose. I wonder if God feels an urge to tell someone, just like Tavin did, “Hey – do you see my my daughter?! I made her on purpose.” “See my son there?! I made him on purpose, too” I designed him, formed him, put him together…I made him. From scratch. On purpose. And I made her. From scratch. On purpose. Didn’t I do a great job?!
I am hoping that will sink in a little, deep in my soul, into that part of me that actually really needs to hear that God made me, on purpose.
I heard this joke once about a guy who went on a blind date. After the date his buddy asked him how the date went. “Well,” he replied. “I’m sure she was some of God’s handiwork, but she wasn’t one of His masterpieces.” I don’t want to admit it (partly because I think it makes me sound like this weak, insecure, needy person that I would run away from if she wasn’t myself, and partly because I feel that because I know it’s false thinking, it’s a shameful thing to admit that I am still tempted to believe it anyway), BUT, the awful truth is that sometimes, if I’m really honest with myself (which I really try not to be if I can help it), I feel like that. I may feel like His handiwork (I do, after all, know that He made me), but I really don’t feel like one of His masterpieces.
I could explain any of the million flaws I see, some external, some internal–but then we might be tempted to compare our shortcomings and that isn’t the point. The point isn’t that I have more reason to feel disqualified from the Masterpiece showcase than you do (or vice versa). The point is that, somewhere, deep inside me (and I bet if you are honest you’d have to confess the same thing) I am tempted to feel that I am less. I’m the value meal, not the special. I’m the China-town knock-off version with the cheap leather–it may fool you for a little while, it may look good on the rack, but given a little time, the cheap leather will crack and the seams will fall apart. And because of that, there’s a part of me that is tempted to believe that God is disappointed.
That’s why I loved little Tavin’s sword pride so much. His sword wasn’t perfect, but in the eyes of the sword maker, it was a masterpiece. He saw in it exactly what he in mind when he created it. He didn’t see the flaws because he saw it through the eyes of love. He felt nothing but love and pride and joy for that little cardboard pig sticker. And for a moment, I had this glorious hope, this feeling of untold joy that God might see me through those same eyes of love. I could almost hear God talking about me with that same sense of pride and joy–not because I’m perfect, but because He made me. On purpose. Because I am exactly what He had in mind when He made me.
Furthermore, God knows that His strength is made perfect in my weakness, so those things, those weaknesses and failures that shame me so, they don’t bother God like they bother me. Where I see weakness, He just sees fantastic, perfect opportunities for me to need His strength–and He loves that.
You know, one of the sweetest things was the fact that Tavin was so proud of his sword he wanted to take it everywhere he went. I may not always feel it, but the death of Jesus proves it whether I feel it or not – that God is so in love with me and so proud of His creation that He wants me to go everywhere with Him. And He feels the same way about you too.