I remember well the day I got my glasses. I was only ten years old. And I wanted them. My mum and dad had them. My sisters had them. My brothers had them. I wanted them too.
Until I put them on and looked in the mirror. True, I could actually see, for the first time, but I suddenly became ugly. I gazed back in horror at this strange person who did not look at all like me and I knew that I would never have a good relationship with these thick, chunky, jam jar lenses that distorted my blue eyes, and made me look like some sort of alien.
And so for the next ten years, I stumbled around almost blind, but I refused to wear them. My glasses defined me. Every time I put them on, they spoke to me. Loudly. They told me who I was... ugly.
And although wisdom comes with age, so do wrinkles. And although my heart knows that I am not defined by what I wear, or what I weigh, or how I look, my mind still somehow listens to those voices of the world, who shout in that loud voice, and try to tell me who I am.
But when I focus instead on the Voice of the Word, I hear something entirely different, even though I have to really strain to hear those quiet whispers.
When God talks to me, I hear,
I am God's beloved
God chose me
I am God's special treasure
I belong to God
God delights in me.
Now those are the things I want to hear. Those are the statements that define who I am. And those are what we need to teach our children, who are growing up in a world that threatens to devour them. And when I find myself worrying about that prospect, then I hear Jesus shout, not whisper:
Take heart! I have overcome the world!