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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “It Isn’t the Mane Thing About You”
In this episode, Rarity is rather excited about an upcoming photo shoot that will feature her and her highly-prized mane when an accident causes the bulk of her hair to fall out. Robbed of her pride and joy, forced to cancel her photo shoot, and soon noticing she doesn’t garner nearly as much attention as she did with it, she sinks into a cycle of depression and self-pity, endlessly obsessing about what she lost. While her friends let this go on for a few days, when she shows no signs of quitting they stage an intervention with a bit of “tough love”; reminding her that there’s a lot more to her than her mane that they all love about her. Finally shaken out of her glum mood, Rarity is able to make what’s left of her hair into a new style that’s just as eye-catching as she remembers her flair for inspiration and creativity. While she still would prefer her mane back, she realizes that all of her time wasted on lamenting it wasn’t doing it or her any favors, especially when it made her start forgetting about herself and her worth as an individual.
I consider myself very blessed by God that I have made it this far in my life without having to have something permanently taken away from me via injury, illness, or major catastrophe. I know there are many out there who are not nearly so fortunate, and I won’t presume to be so bold as to say I know how they feel. Yet even if you’re like me and are at the time in your life where you’re still having more opportunities open to you, there will come a time for all of us where doors will start shutting. I’m not going to be able to get much older before there will be limits on how strong and agile I can make my body. Not long after that and I won’t be able to eat what I used to and I’ll need to make a point to pay more attention to my heart and lungs. Assuming I’m lucky enough to not need glasses by then, in a few more years I’ll have to cut back on my exercise and say goodbye to any long competition runs. Eventually, all of us will reach the point where even getting around the house will become difficult, where we have to relinquish our ability to drive or get ourselves in and out of the shower, and may not be able to enjoy much from a physical standpoint at all.
In that sense, all of us will eventually reach the time of our life in which we lose something we thought was going to be a part of us forever–something we may have even enjoyed, relished, and prided ourselves in, and be left wondering what comes after that. If we’re lucky that will come early in life. If not, we’ll experience loss much sooner and far more abruptly and suddenly. All it takes is one incident to rob us of our sight, our hearing, our mobility, or our appearance.
When faced with this kind of loss, the grieving process is as natural as it is for when we have a death of a loved one. In a similar vein, both involve realizing you have lost something you aren’t going to get back and are now faced with an emptiness or, in this case, a closed door where once there was an open one. Anger, bargaining, denial, and depression are all natural reactions. Christians experience this as naturally as everyone else too. In fact, they might feel the reactions a bit more strongly: blaming God for what happened to them, thinking praying enough or doing good deeds will somehow undo it, and lastly feeling abandoned and unable to fulfill any meaningful purpose. How would, for example, a person once admired for their beauty, especially one in a romantic relationship, feel if they were a burn victim? Or how would someone who used to be an active athlete feel if they got damage to their spinal cord?
I don’t have any answer to how to make someone feel better after something like that, and if I did I wouldn’t presume to think I could. Even if I had been though a major loss such as that, it would be ignorant to believe I could understand how someone else was feeling who was experiencing such tragedy and that I could wash it away with some magic Bible verse. Grief is a natural process, as I said, and it has to be endured and gone though in its own time. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4)
The only thing I do know is from this episode: you can’t let a loss dictate who you are. You can’t reach a point where you think you’re nothing now; where you start defining yourself by what you lack rather than what you still have. You may reach a point where you have a disability, but you are not “a” disability.
Remember what the Bible says. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16) “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12: 6-7) ““Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15) “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:35)
God sees glory and beauty in you even when you can’t see it inside yourself. There is no one who is “worthless” or “too broken” in his eyes, whether in the spiritual sense or in the physical sense. At your lowest point in your life where you thought you were of the smallest, most insignificant value, God appraised you as worthy enough for his Son to die in your place. (John 3:16; Romans 5:8) In the midst of whatever you’re going through, please don’t forget that.
And if you are lucky enough to have all of your own faculties but know someone who has experienced such a loss, first bless God for what you have, but then take a page from Twilight and her friends in this episode. Let that someone know that you still see them just the way they are now as you did before their loss; that you value them as much at this point as at that one. Don’t try to offer any platitudes or maxims or empty advice…just let them know that you are there whenever they need to reach out, and that you’ll be with them to “grieve with them” as long as they need. “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35); “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15)
As a final bit of motivation toward encouraging the downhearted, I’d like to link one of my favorite songs: Here on Youtube.
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you for your words of encouragement found in your Word, the Bible, that constantly assure me of my worth even when I feel worthless. If I have been stricken with loss, help me to cling to that and remember that even with what I lack I am more precious to you than I can possibly imagine. And if I am fortunate enough to not be lacking, then help me to always be there for others who need me in the way they need me–even if it’s only to sit with them as they cry. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”