“My eyes are continually toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.” Psalm 25:15
When I read Scripture, I try to imagine what it was like back then. I attempt to envision the scene that could visually awaken the words on the page. I would imagine that the fishermen back in Biblical times were well acquainted with nets. They knew they could easily get entangled in them. The nets were a part of their every day and though their purpose was to catch loads of squirmy, gill bearing animals, they could also cause trouble. For if a fisherman were to get caught up in one, it would take some time to get untangled, most certainly compromising his efforts for the day. This would hinder his ability to complete that which he wanted to.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending time with a friend from my hometown. I’ve known her for a very long time. She is brilliant and super talented! She has a vibrant love for the Lord and is raising her little ones to listen for God and respond to Him in obedience and excitement. She is a thrill to hang with!! I remember our conversations growing up and her sharing with me her struggle to “be enough.” She was raised with very little and felt she never measured up to the standards of what others were expecting. “I’m not enough,” replayed in her mind like clanging cymbals.
Not knowing what to do with this belief, she kept it silent and attempted to work hard in every way to prove herself. Now, as an adult, she is married, quite accomplished in her work and a wonderful mother. By all visual accounts, she seemed to have overcome this false idea that she is “not enough.” But as the conversation continued, I realized that this idea was still very alive and well! Though she has all these wonderful blessings, she only sees them through the lens of inadequacy. She misinterprets the struggles her children have (as all of ours do) as them being “not enough.” When she speaks of her job, I can hear that she isn’t meeting her potential (which is great, I can assure you), because she still believes that she is less than. This drives her to work so hard, but yet enjoy so very little of it. She fears failing throughout her day, and leaves emotionally exhausted. Her hope has become fragile because it was built on a sand doom of falsehood. It would wash away with every misunderstood facial expression, encounter, disappointment, or challenge.
As I listened, I wanted to infuse her with courage and strength!!! She didn’t see what I saw! I was looking at this amazing person who is capable of doing far beyond what she could ever imagine! I saw someone who is adored by God, but has been caught in a net of lies that were planted early on in her life.
This “net” could actually be used in a good way. It could keep her close to God, learning to continually come to the King for truth and clarity. After all, not every thorn we have in life is for us to be completely free from and given spiritual amnesia over.
Often times, we wrestle with something daily, but we have learned how to not allow it to entangle us anymore. This strong webbed twine that use to wrap us in a ball of fear could be a vital tool for us to help other people recognize how to be free of their own nets! But, instead, it was causing my friend to remain stifled in her growth. This net had become a lens in how she viewed relationships. When relationships with friends or co-workers became difficult, her immediate thought returned to “I’m not enough.” Friendships became things to avoid as her heart grew deeply discouraged. Opportunities that God had ripe and ready were missed because of a thought life that remained muddied with a false sense of self.
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13
Peter and John could have remained stifled by the fact that they were uneducated and ordinary. This could have been a net that hindered them. Instead, this not only kept them dependent on the Holy Spirit, but it is exactly what made them so miraculous!!! They rose up in courage, allowed their weakness to show His strength! They rejected the notion of allowing others the power to intimidate them based on worldly standards. The power of God became their confidence and the desire of their heart was no longer for man’s approval, but so that others would recognize the powerful influence and transformation that accompanies being with Jesus. They weren’t so focused on what everyone else thought, because their minds were so consumed with what He had purposed for them each and every day!
Our worth doesn’t come through a job, a size, an amount in a bank account, or vast amounts of good looks. Our worth won’t be found in intelligence or popularity. We won’t be satisfied simply because our kids do “this or that.” Our worth is found in the carpenter that sacrificed his life for us. The most worthy thing we can do is reflect the carpenter, so that others will realize that we have been in the presence of our resurrected Savior! That they can hear the breath of wisdom from our lips that offers a word to sustain the weary. That they may see us reach beyond our fears. There is such beauty in watching someone turn their backs on what has kept them from reaching their full potential!
“Be diligent in these matters; give yourselves wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” 1 Timothy 4:15
Indeed our greatest accomplishments in this life will deal with how much we let Jesus have our lives and reflect His character, love and truth.
Though this friend of mine struggles in the area of inadequacy, I have my own personal net that God has been plucking me free from. It’s taking some work but it keeps me dependent on His faithfulness and words. I don’t want the enemy holding any of us back!! I am so over him and his careful study of what works so effectively on us. I believe he sees where our weakness is at a very young age and until we STAND UP and draw a line in the sand, saying NO MORE, he will continue to whisper lies that keep us hindered in our growth and our ability to impact this world for the kingdom!
Love you all and know I am cheering you on,