Oh, how I love the attention God pays to the detail. And why should we be surprised? The God who delighted in defining the atom, in delicately weaving connective tissue, in determining the perfect balance of nature and science - would not this God be interested in the minutae of winning our hearts?
This morning I had the daunting privilege of standing in front of 400 women I have never met, and sharing my heart and soul with them. “What will they think of me, God?” I whispered into the sunrise over Port Elizabeth harbour.
I have been in the lifelong, childish habit of playing down who I am - the glory of God within me - when I meet people for the first time. Is it pride or humility, or just wanting to be accepted? I tend to enter the new relationship as ‘less than’ and wait to be given permission to stand up to my full height. Do we all do this? I wonder.
I leave the question hanging in the empty hotel room, and open my bible to prepare for the morning’s event. Before I can get started, my eyes fall on this verse, words spoken by the Shepherd-King and addressed directly to me, His beloved:
My dearest one,
let me tell you how I see you—
you are so thrilling to me.
To gaze upon you is like looking
at one of Pharaoh’s finest horses—
a strong, regal steed pulling his royal chariot.
Song of Songs 1:9 (TPT)
And in a word, He apportions to me strength, beauty and grace. “Let me tell you how I see you…” He reminds me who I am. And gently He admonishes me for thinking I need to wait for permission to be myself. Walk tall, He says. Walk proud. Remember who I say you are.
And again, I question the idea that I can walk into a roomful of strangers, and instead of waiting for them to approve of who I am, I can show them how He sees me. Is this pride, perhaps? Or humility?
And He counsels me:
This is obedience, He says. This is your act of worship.