Max Lucado tells a powerful story about wooden people who spend their time putting stickers on each other and the impact that has on them. Those who are not performing at their best or are not so lovely get gray dots, but those who are able to do great things or appear perfect are given gold stars.
Gray dots and gold stars. We are so often plagued by what other people say about us or think about us. The words or lack of them, the actions or lack of them, all seem to burrow down inside of our souls and leave us unsure of whether we are lovable or valuable. The pesky gray dots are not unlike termites gnawing away under the surface destroying as they go.
As in the story, our solution to the problem propels us to try to do something amazing, to do things “just right”, to lose weight, get a new hairdo, buy a more current outfit, or learn to play tennis. We hope that in the process we will get gold stars that will somehow cover the gray dots so we will be seen as more lovable and worthwhile, gold stars that will also help us believe in ourselves more than we do.
We care so much about what others think of us! Some of us say we do not, but I wonder how much truth there is in such a statement. At our core, we all want to feel lovable, appreciated, accepted, and desired. We spend time trying to earn or attain that from others and to help us cancel our own negative self-perceptions.
Sadly, none of the efforts are very effective and even if they seem to help for the moment, they do not last. We continue to be haunted by whispers of doubt we carry inside. The whispers come from words carelessly spoken to us or about us from childhood onward as well as from the enemy whose skill at creating doubt was first demonstrated in Eden.
There is only One who knows us completely and loves us perfectly. There is only One who offers grace, forgiveness, and forgetfulness for every failure. Yet, we seldom ask Him what He sees or believes about us and His Word on the subject too often stays in the chair where we read it that morning rather than being etched in our hearts.
When He reminds me that He loves me everlastingly, I am awed and humbled.! How could He? He knows everything about me! Yet, somehow, when I listen to Him more than those who are eager to hand out gray dots or gold stars, I gain an inner knowing that I am loved, valuable, and precious by the One who created me.