There was a poll here recently to get an idea about your favorite comic strip from Nickel Boy Graphics, and Laser Eyes Jesus received more votes than any of the others. (Though I have to say the more serious comic strips received the most comments!) If I had to make a guess at “Why?” I’d say it’s because even though he occasionally blasts little kids (harmlessly) with his laser eyes to keep them on the right path, he really is just a “regular guy” trying to make it as best he can. (Oh, yeah, and what’s not to like about somebody who loves pudding cups and Godzilla movies?)
So what do you think? Have you ever criticized yourself for “not being enough”? Have you ever said, “I don’t want to be like this?” Have you ever asked, “Why can’t I be normal just like everybody else?” Don’t those kinds of thoughts hurt and frustrate? Seriously.
I’m wondering if there really might be just two main ways of looking at ourselves or judging ourselves: according to the standards of the world and according to the standards of God.
The world says, “Here is what success looks like. You’re on your own to make it happen.”
God says, “Here is what success looks like. I’m going to help make it happen.”
You know, I’m wondering why the world’s standards have been my default way of looking at myself. Part of it is definitely that there is an allure to what the world offers. But what if the bigger part of it is that in my mind it seems easier to be successful according to the world’s standards rather than God’s standards? Those actually seem unattainable to me, and maybe to you too, so let’s take a closer look.
“Here is what success looks like.”
…to be conformed to the image of his Son… Romans 8:29 (NRSV)
Success looks like Jesus. Now before you begin to get overwhelmed by that thought (because that really is overwhelming), remember the other part of God’s standards: “I’m going to help make it happen.”
Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Romans 14:4 (NRSV)
Can I take a moment to say how thankful I am that God’s Word does not say “You’re on your own to make it happen”?!?
Sometimes I think in our desperation to “be enough,” “be different from this,” and “be normal,” we may become too fixed on what we think we need to change or improve when really those things may be inconsequential to God, for the present time, and maybe for the future time as well.
What I’m saying is that every person is extremely complex and only God can see the heart and know what is needed and when, and that’s where prayerful self-examination (when we listen more than speak) is so important.
What success looks like, I believe, is the image of Real Life Jesus, and I think that it’s really quite possible that we may already be more like the image of Our Heavenly Father’s Dear Son than we even imagine in His Eyes, if not our own!
Now you know I’m just on a journey here and appreciate having you along even though I don’t have a stack of answers to pass out, but I think we might be on to something here!