The sprint of our dogs as they greeted me for the first time since vacation was memorable. Darting from the door to the living room at rapid speed, Maks and his sidekick, Tater, charged toward me to greet me with their wet, slobbery kisses—something I don't entirely appreciate. Their excitement filled the house with energy, happiness and lots of doggy talk.
It's good to be home. Their sweet response was just one of the many kind expressions we received. The church re-decorated my husband's office and a couple of families stocked our kitchen with more snacks than should be legal! There's nothing like the feeling of being missed and loved.
On the contrary, sometimes we feel invisible. As a mom, pastor's wife, employee and various other titles throughout the years, I have felt small and unnoticed. It's a lonely feeling that positions your heart for discouragement, depression and isolation. It's not good. And most of the time it happens when I've put an expectation on people that is not their job to fulfill. Shame on me.
God wants to fill those places of identity and affirmation in our lives. When I place my trust in others to make me feel good, I can be let down and disappointed. While I cherish encouraging friendships and love those thick and thin relationships that I have had for years, it's not their job to make me feel anything. What I know and feel and live should be totally wrapped up in my identity in Christ and what his word says about me.
Easy? Absolutely not. The temptation to grovel in self-pity is a reliable trap. But the gospel of Christ Jesus is better—who I am because of who he is will always be enough. He sees me. His eyes are on me. I am visible. Recognized. Loved and enough. My dependence is no longer in the embrace of a friend or the words of a co-worker. I belong to Jesus and he belongs to me. That is more than enough.
The post-vacation puppy greetings and kisses sure were fun, but those rascals will be back to their undependable doggy behaviors soon! Aren't you thankful Jesus is the constant, dependable, never changing one who loves and sees and knows?
Psalm 100:3: "Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Romans 14:8: "For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's."