Celebrating Complexity

I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!

Psalm 139:14 TPT

This is one of those verses where translation matters. And this translation gave me something new to consider.

Most of the other translations read the psalmist declaring he is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” What a head-shaking nuance to consider being made mysteriously complex. And to sound joyous about it.

There’s normally a negative tone when being considered complex. We say it about ourselves to ourselves. We say it about others-well, maybe we just think it.

Whoever we say it to, what if we changed the tone? What if we celebrate instead of bemoan the complexity of how we’re made?

I had to practice this today. I was in a setting where there were open displays of people’s makeup. Bemoaning tried to reign in my head, but it couldn’t stay because of the joy in the room. Why? No one was pointing out flaws, dislikes, or disapproval; no one was bothered by their own or anyone else’s complexities. Like-minded psalmists caught their breath and marveled.

Lord, forgive us when we fail to marvel. May we stay amazed in your mystery.

Photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash


“No” Can Become a Better “Yes”

Got a “no” this week. Many times I’m perfectly content with one, even freed. This one…no.

48 hours later I was. How? It started by expressing honest reaction and ended with exploring agreeable alternatives.

Left in react mode, “no” can quickly become divisive, hurtful, accusatory, disappointing, even grudge-building. A pivot to option-seeking tells everyone as bridge-building as possible, “This isn’t over. Game on!”

God gives out “no”s frequently. And unfortunately, his children can stay in react mode far too long. A chasm grows that isn’t beautiful nor life-giving. Noone truly enjoys this season.

Finding ourselves in a God-forsaken chasm doesn’t have to be the end result. In fact, the pursuit to rising out of it could result in a closer relationship yet to be experienced.

This pursuit could start something like this: “I hear your ‘no.’ Can we talk about other options?” This conversation often leaves me in a much better place, chasm closed.

Go ahead. Lower any pride in the way. You might be surprised how much better the resulting “yes” is. So much better.

Making Faith Complete

I don’t know that it matters how long someone has been a professing Christian to wonder why you still have thoughts like this one: “Is my faith good enough?” Or maybe, “Am I doing this right?”

I just read a line from a devotional that might help us all, whether you’re fresh in or a long hauler.

Was Abraham’s faith a faith without deeds? No way, says James. Abraham trusted God so much he was willing to sacrifice his son (Genesis 22). His faith was not only a conviction about the existence of God; it was a conviction that was ‘made complete,’ that is, shown to be true faith, by his deeds of devotion. And so was fulfilled the statement of Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” To believe in God in the biblical sense, argues James, involves a commitment to action.

James 2, Worldly Favouritism (YouVersion)

99.9% of us will never be asked to carry out Abraham’s test. But if we’re attempting to communicate daily with the Holy Spirit, we are asked to do ordinary faith deeds every day. When we do, our faith is being made complete.

For example…

  • When we hold our tongue from gossiping
  • When we don’t return hate
  • When we respect our elders
  • When we love the unlovely
  • When we are generous with our time
  • When we say yes in spite of our fear or rebellion
  • When we have compassion for a stranger in pain
  • When we weep with those who weep

This list could go on and on. The meaningful and encouraging word from this devotion was that my faith may not be perfect, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s active.

At the end of each day, may we look back to see where our faith was active and hear a whispered, “In you I am well pleased. Your faith is complete.”

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash