Monday, September 9, 2013

When I Look Down

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
~ Psalm 3:3, ESV ~

I am jealous.  There.  I said it.  It disgusts me.  I expect more of myself as a believer in the eternal promises of Christ.  But I know how it happens, how I get to that point of unhealthy envy.  I look down.

When I look down, I see my messy life, and it isn't too pretty.  All that I lack overwhelms me.  My children's comparably poor health saddens me and weighs me down.  The lack of help from family or friends, leaves me feeling unlovable, alone and depressed.  Financial struggles build resentment as we work ourselves to exhaustion with little to show for it.  By the world's standards, my life looks hopeless, while the lives of most around me look amazing.  What they take for granted, I consider a simple luxury that we always seem to be denied.

When I look down, I resent that you get to go on that Florida or Colorado vacation.  When I look down, I'm upset that friends are posting on Facebook that they got together with other friends for dinner and didn't invite us.  When I look down, I'm angry that you have time to play tennis, but don't have time to volunteer for our ministry.  When I look down, I'm heartbroken that your children have the joy of going to prom while mine barely have a friend.  When I look down, I can't be happy for you because you go on living contentedly while not giving a whit about our challenges.

Does those sound like oppressively negative or toxic thoughts to you?  They are, and thankfully, these darkest plummets into my emotional valleys are rare.  But even the most positive parents find themselves here from time to time.  The trick is to not let yourself get stuck there.  Bitterness and apathy can rob you of your God-given purpose if you remain downcast.

Instead, I need to surrender to the "Lifter of my head".  When I allow God to lift my head, I can cooperate with His command to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.  (See Hebrews 12:1-2)  When He lifts my head, all I can see is His beautifully, breathtaking glory, not my deficits.  When He lifts my head, my challenges are merely stepping stones as He includes me in the work of His big picture.  When He lifts my head, I am overwhelmed with awe-filled joy, gratitude for boundless blessings, and humility for lavish grace poured out on me when I hardly deserve it.  When He lifts my head, I am more than a conqueror through Christ.  When He lifts my head, I suddenly realize that I am a daughter of the One True King.  When He lifts my head, all of life's issues and blessings are temporal.  I am just passing through this world as His ambassador.  When He lifts my head, my troubles shrink, and my perspective becomes eternal.  I feel like the richest woman in the world, when He lifts my head.

God is a gentleman, my friend.  Every day we get to decide afresh whether we are going to look down at life's struggles or allow him to readjust our focus upward.  I am so grateful to surrender to the Lifter of my head.  Which will you choose?

PRAY:  Father, You make all things new!  I am so grateful!  I praise You because only You can lift our heads and bring us joyful hope in spite of this dark world.  Help me to reflect Your glory, by continuing to tell those around me of your loving faithfulness.

Photo Image Courtesy of 123RF


  1. I'm going through the same thing right now. ((((HUGS))))

  2. Hey Barb,

    Appreciate your honesty. As someone in a position to "peer behind the curtain" so to speak, I can tell you that Facebook is a big brag book, and life is not necessarily wonderful for the folks who are putting their best face forward. There's a reason why the path we're called to pursue is the narrow one as opposed to the wide one.

    I don't understand God's purposes on many occasions for the pain we have to experience, but I know He's faithful to His promises and completely trustworthy.

  3. Thanks, my Friend, for a glimpse into your heart! It encourages me! The looking down part is such a trap!

  4. Well said my friend! Know you are loved & prayed for often. Sure wish I could give you a big hug!

  5. So beautifully written - thanks for the reminder to look up to God!