I’ll just crawl under the pew now, thanks.
Has it happened to you? Right at the pastor’s most dramatically silent pause: your hideously loud stomach-growl.
I say growl, but remember those old movies when Tarzan yodel-yelled and in response elephants stampeded? That.
You put your hand over your stomach—like that’s going to muffle anything. Then the thought dawns that if there was one wolf-howling-at-the-moon growl, there will likely be more.
That’s when you try to bargain with your innards: Stomach. At least wait until one of the sermon’s shoutier parts. Stomachs will rarely be reasoned with. Scolding and shaming your belly doesn’t work either, but you still find yourself mumbling at it anyway, I ate oatmeal so you wouldn’t pull this business again.
Then your belly mocks your oatmeal and answers with the worst take on Mahler’s Symphony Number 8 ever.
And all you want to do is to melt into your seat. To be anyone else on your row except you.
I do understand there are bigger—even louder—reasons we tend to become less enamored with being who we are. But despite every kind of noise, remember that your loving heavenly Father has a purpose for you. Your seemingly flawed parts. Rumbledy parts. Every part. As a matter of fact, He created those too. “For it was you who created my inward parts” (Psalm 139:13 CSB).
Anytime you’re feeling like your belly is too loud, your nose is too big, your body is not muscly enough, your words are not flowery enough, your brain is not fast enough…your “this” is not “that” enough, remember that you were designed. You were created with love and with great forethought. All His creation—yes, including you—is reason for praise. “I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made” (vs. 14).
He gave you a look and a sound and a personality all your own. When He looks at you, He sees the child He adores, and He will always be your every “enough.”
Insecurities, embarrassments, disappointments, and feelings of failure will growl and howl from time to time in this life. Don’t let those feelings bully your psyche, and don’t let them influence your identity. Look past “you,” and find who you really are in your Creator. Ask Him to make you more like the Jesus who fills your heart. Ask Him for the wisdom and courage you need to be the “you” He created you to be.
Yes, be you. Let your worth come from a heart full of the love of Jesus, and the sure confidence that the Creator who loves you also has a purpose for you—just as you are.
Father, let us see ourselves as You see us. Help us rejoice in—and praise You for—exactly who You’ve created us to be. “I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.” (Psalm 139:14 CSB). Empower us to consistently “know this very well.”
In conclusion, and in taking this prayer into account, I’m going to guess that what I did last time my stomach growled in church was wrong. So…I should NOT have cast a judgmental eye toward the person sitting next to me with a “Man, you should’ve had some oatmeal,” right?