Too Many Eyes
Christa Parrish, She Reads Featured Author

"But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body." 1 Corinthians 12:18-20 (NIV)

When I was twenty, my boyfriend said to me, "Christa, you're just not feminine enough," and he ended our relationship. I was devastated, not only because I loved him, but because I had been bombarded with the not enough message for the past three years, since I had become a Christian.

Those at the church I attended, while deeply committed to following God, had definite ideas about what a "good Christian woman" looked liked. I wasn't it. So I strove to throw off the "old" me. I read the right books and listened to the right speakers, and followed carefully constructed do and don't lists. And finally I gained acceptance in the church, but had completely lost myself - any shred of individuality.

I was just another eye (1 Corinthians 12:17) in a crowd of eyes.

For all the proper clothes and activities and friends, I found myself heavy with shame because there were still huge pieces inside of me that wouldn't squish into the "good Christian" mold held out for me. I prayed to be more like this woman or that woman, until one day I realized the only person I should be praying to be like was Jesus. Once I turned my sight to Christ, I began to see how my differences could be of value to Him. The more I became like Him, the more I became the person He made me to be.

My husband continually tells me, usually in response to some quirky idea I have, "I always want you to be who you are," and I hear the Lord's voice in those words. God is glorified through His people, and trying to shake off the personality with which He created us is dishonoring to Him. Each of our unique talents, idiosyncrasies, and abilities can and should be used for Him, and I've learned over and over again God will put us in situations that require just the skills and personality traits He has given us.

In my most recent novel, Watch Over Me, the main characters feel as if they are on the "fringe" of the church body, unable to fit in. For Abbi, it's because of her personal convictions; for Benjamin, it's because of the pain he's carrying around inside him; and for Matthew, it's a physical disability. But all three of them come to realize they are all necessary parts of the body of Christ. They – we – are the eyes and ears and feet and noses. Each of us fills a role in Christ's church, and in the lives of those around us, placed there by God to serve and love one another in our differences.

Dear Lord, You have created each of us in Your image, and also uniquely us. Help us to embrace who You made us to be, to see clearly the strengths You've given us, and rejoice in them. Use our individual weaknesses to turn us to You each and every day, giving us reason to cling to Your promises. Allow us opportunities to use our talents for Your glory and the good of the people around us, both those who are part of Your body and those who do not yet know You. Let our uniqueness be a light for You in the darkness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish

Visit P31’s She Reads site to learn more about Christa and enter to win a copy of her latest novel Watch Over Me. A grand prize winner will receive a copy of the novel along with a beautiful handmade vase from Arizona Pottery. A runner up will receive a copy of the novel as well.

Youniquely Woman: Becoming Who God Designed You To Be by Kay Arthur, Emilie Barnes, Donna Otto

Application Steps:
Reach out to someone in your church who may feel like she's on the "fringe" of things and doesn't fit in with the other women. Take time to encourage her uniqueness in Christ.

Take a few minutes to think about the talents God has given you. If there are some you aren't using now, ask yourself why that is. Go to the Lord in prayer and see if He reveals a way for you to serve Him with these abilities.

Reflections:
Do you suppress certain parts of yourself because you're worried about what other people may think? How can you overcome this "fear of man" that can prevent you from being all God made you to be?

Have you ever wished you could be more like another woman you know, because she seems more Godly? In what ways can you focus more on becoming "Christ-like" rather than "other-like"?

Power Verses:
Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV)

1 Corinthians 12:4-6, "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." (NIV)

Jeremiah 1:5a, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." (NIV)

© 2010 by Christa Parrish. All rights reserved.

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19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so right. I wish all those people in charge of No Child Left Behind who want ALL children to pass ALL tests would get a grasp on the fact that God made us all different, with special gifts, and that not everyone is the same. Children feel inferior when they don't do well on this test or that. I try to remind them that God made us all the way He wanted us to be, and that it's ok not to be perfect at everything.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the Ephesians 2 passage it says that God had works that he had planned in advance for us to do. For me sometimes that can feel both refreshing and troubling. Refreshing in that He created me with something in mind to do. Troubling in that, I may miss what He has for me to do. Thoughts on this?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both Anonymous you bring up very good points. Anonymous 2, I can totally relate to your worries over you may miss what He has for you to do. I believe, if you sincerely seek God, He will show you the answers to all of your questions. I have so many times asked myself, is this my will or God's will...does anyone have any thoughts on discerning my will and God's will?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2...wow..my son and i just checked the weather forecast for our area and although theres this HUGE weather system very close to us..we only have a 20% chance. I told my son it looks like its going to "miss us." WOW...Help us Lord not miss what you would have us to do.

Anonymous Sallyann said...

Discerning God's will,
I believe has much to do with learning to be still, and learning to listen.
Seeking the Giver instead of the gifts...
It is in these quiet moments of reflection (in our pursuit of Him) that we feel the gentle leading from the Giver of all good things.

As long as you seek Him, through scripture and prayer you will not miss Him or His plan...
.....continue your quest of Him alone and the pieces will begin to fall into place.
Slowly, surely...with understanding His will becomes yours....

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was just praying this morning why i feel as if i don't fit in and thanks for the reminder and encouragement. i really want to be that woman desires me to be not whatever one else wants me to be.
God Bless

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN!!!!!!!to Anonymous 1, I try and remind by son of that all the time. We tell him if everyone was at the top of the class no one would be at the top of the class. I want so much for my children to be who God has made them to be and that he would give me the knowledge and wisdom to help them become who they are supposed to be. Great devotional!!!

Blogger kmamalorenz said...

Thanks for this reminder! It brought back an old-time gospel song: Only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day. Yielded completely to Jesus alone, every step of this pilgrim way. Just to be clay in the Potter's hands. Willing to do what His will commands. Only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always tell my children that "I love you for you and God does too," but I often forget about myself...that God loves me for me! Thanks for the reminder!

Blogger Melanie said...

Thank you! I appreciated this post so very much. I needed this reminder! May God richly bless you!

Blogger tharvey said...

Thank you so much for today's devotional! I am 30 and teach a bible study of high school and college age girls and we are reading "Captivating" and this goes along with that so well. I try to convey this message to my girls every week and this just gives me more insight to do so!! Thank you so much, I look forward to getting my daily devotions!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 2, worried about missing God's will: Check out the P31 devotions from 2/25/10. It addresses this very matter with some great perspective.

Anonymous Andrea said...

Sally Ann, Profound insight on this topic! Thanks!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just learning also about discerning God's will from own will(and it's not easy!) It's so easy to over-analyseand ponder it so much that you get into a stew and have no idea what is personal will or God's will. But I think what some others here have said is good guidance - try to be still and listen "Be still and know that I am God"...that verse has appeared many times when I have been trying to figure things out for myself or speed things along! It's not easy to be still and let your mind rest! There are some good books available...Sinclair B Ferguson "Discovering God's Will" (not sure if out of print but may be on Amazon or Ebay) I have also found RBC Ministries website to be a very good site which offers lots of guidance on almost any subject. (And Proverbs 31 also of course!)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good lesson. Our Church has some women who are very clicky & are still in the high school catty mode. Their attitudes have really hurt a lot of people's feelings and make them feel inferior. Instead of wanting to fit with popular crowd, it's more important & Christlike to reach out to the lonely Christians. I wish people would not treat Church like a social or a country club.

Blogger Phoebe said...

Hi ladies,

I've been struggling with this also. I've dealt with insecurities that caused me to compare myself to others. And I said well maybe I'd glorify you more God if I could sing like "her". But what I realize now that wasn't my heart trying to glorify God, that was my flesh trying to please man. So they can say oh wow you do this so well or you sing so well etc. I'm needing to get to a place where I know God loves me for me. And that should be enough and I should ask him to use me however he sees fit and put in the path where I can use those gifts. This devotion was a God send.

And just a side note thanks so much Sallyann because we frustrate ourselves so much with wanting to know God's will instead of seeking him first. And as we seek himlike Matt 6:33 says everything else will be added.

GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU!! I NEEDED THAT TODAY!!!

Anonymous Christa Parrish said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I am glad this devotional did encourage some of you :)

In Him,
Christa

Blogger TMOPRAYS said...

I need this devotion today. I have been struggling with my husband's layoff for the past year. I have grown angry and upset because of things going on in my life.

I read this post and realized it is partially me trying to please everyone and always take care of and handle things. I am always taking responsibilty for things when no one else will. I am always beating myself up for not doing more.

I realized through this word and some counseling I have been going through that I don't know who I am. I have been so busy trying to be 'Miss Christian.' Always trying to do the right things. People have even said to me that they think I am the most faithful, God fearing woman they know.

That always gets me because I know that is not the case. It always surprises me because I don't see myself that way at all. I am struggling to let go, and get going with God.

I appreciate your post. It is yet another part of my healing and moving closer to God. Thank you for being so open and so faithful.

Blessings,
Tina Marie

Blogger Nora said...

THANKS for your honesty Christa in your sharing. I felt the same way. I could totally relate!!

I appreciate you sharing and encouraging others. Thanks for being yourself.

Blessings

Nora :D

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