April 3, 2008
To Become Small
by Meghan Kleppinger, Editor, Christianity.com
He must increase, but I must decrease.
Where do you go to become small?
Or, where do you go to remember… to remember that you are small?
A friend recently told me that it was her greatest desire to be number one in her class. "I've never ranked first in anything," she confided. "Just once, I want to be number one."
It's easy to empathize with her isn't it?
There is something in us that strives to be more. We want to be successful at work and in our personal lives. Seeking significance, we look for ways to make an impact in our communities. At the end of our days, we want to leave something behind that says, "I was here and I was important."
It isn't wrong to strive for excellence or to do our best in all things; in fact, we are to do these things. The problem comes when we strive, not for excellence, but to become excellent for ourselves. It's in our need to be the best.
That's where God reminds me of how small I am.
I used to tell people that I must have been born in the water. The ocean is a place where I've always felt connected, comforted, and challenged. Because my parents and their families are from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, when I was growing up, the sea became my second home.
I love the smell of salt water, the feel of grainy salt between my toes, the never ending salty breeze that swirls around in all directions. I love swimming and surfing and the sun, but strangely, my favorite time of year to visit the beach is winter.
More than once, in the middle of the cold months, I've made my way down to the water's edge, bundled up in my warmest clothes, from the ankles up anyway, and stared out at the awesome site before me.
An empty beach,
Biting January winds,
… and a massive sea staring back at me.
There has never been a time when I've stared out at the water that I haven't experienced a sense of awe. The ocean is huge. I can't see where it ends. From the time I was a small girl until now, one thing has remained the same; no matter how much I've grown, the ocean is still huge in comparison.
God reminds me that the same is true with him. He uses the ocean to humble me as He shows me His awesomeness. No matter how "big" or important I become, He will always be greater.
There is comfort in knowing this, isn't there? It isn't about self esteem; it's about remembering who God is.
God is bigger than all things - not just us, but our problems, our pain, our struggles, and our sin.
Somehow, when I see the ocean and am reminded of God, the need to be number one diminishes.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Let our great and awesome God guide you in all that you do.