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This week I decided to make some soup. It was the kind that you just use what you have leftover from different things. I grew up watching my mom make soup this way. We were pretty poor growing up and often didn’t have food in the house, so every little scrap that could be used was used, and more often than not we got a “leftover soup”. This week we had some different odds and ends of things that I decided to turn into a “leftover soup” of my own.
I used my handy-dandy Instapot, added some beef, assorted veggies, broth I’d saved from a recent pot roast, and a little bit of lentils and quinoa I had been saving for such a time as this. The soup had cooked, it was still pretty brothy (totally a word), and I decided to add a little more quinoa and lentils. When it had cooked some more… it was no longer soup! I ended up with a sludge-looking goup. It smelled delicious, but MAN did it look nasty! Who would want to eat this goupy (again, totally a word) looking mess?
Seeing myself in this goupy mess
Here I am staring at this not-soup-goup and, as silly as it sounds, I saw myself. I look at this soup and say to myself “it should look different”, “this couldn’t be very good”, “this is not worth having”, “my mom’s always looked so much better”, “if I had just done something different…”.
In reality, I ate some not-soup-goup and what’d you know? It was delicious, filled with nutrition, and will feed my family all week. This felt so much like God’s work in my life. So often I feel like the different struggles, experiences, pains, joys, and in-betweens have nothing to do with each other. How could this heartache have anything to do with that joy over there? How could this blessing have to do with that struggle? How could these pieces possibly fit together? Simple.
For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11 CSB
God works in everything, every circumstance, every pain, every joy, every gain, every loss. God planned you and took pleasure in you before He even made the universe. You are exactly who God made you to be, where He called you to be, and He has a plan for your life that was made specifically for you. Every detail of your life is used for His purposes. All the experiences of your life; past, present, and future, God uses to grow, steep, stew, and brew you into the complete creation He intends you to become. It may look like a goupy mess now, but remember that God’s not done with you yet.
4 For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.[a]5 He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.Ephesians 1:4-6 CSB
13 For it was you who created my inward parts;[a]Psalm 139:13 CSB
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
22 “The Lord formed me from the beginning,
before he created anything else.Proverbs 8:22 NLT
God crafted us on purpose for His purpose
God sent His Son to die for each and every one of us. Christ said that you, me, and everyone else are worth dying for. Looking at myself and seeing what I have been trained, taught, and told by the world to see; a mucky, goupy mess of a person, I have to stop and remember that is not how God sees me. God sees me as His handiwork, and when I look at the peas and carrots of my life I see God’s work in my life coming together in an unexpected way to make me into what He designed me to be – His child, His creation, His image-bearer. God sees me and all my sins and flaws and said “you are worth saving”.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.Ephesians 2:10 CSB
16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.John 3:16-17 ESV
Comparison tells God His design isn’t good enough
Reading Luke 18 this week I was struck. Jesus is telling us about a Pharisee and a tax collector who were both praying. The Pharisee thanked God that he was not like “other men”, while the tax collector prayed for God to have mercy on him.
The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.Luke 18:11 ESV
Have you looked at someone and thought “at least I am not as bad as them”, “at least I have this and not that”, “thank you God that I am not like that person”, “I may mess up, but at least I haven’t messed up as bad as them”?
Do you tend to beat yourself up thinking, “I’m not good enough”, “I can’t be useful to God”, “I’m not nearly as good as them”, “their life looks so perfect, I want their life, car, home, husband, friends, job,” “I want that body, I need to be thinner, taller, shorter, larger”?
When we compare, we in our pride are telling God that His design is not good enough. We place God in a box and say His sacrifice wasn’t enough, and His plan isn’t good enough. When we don’t put on the identity we have in Christ, we slap God in the face and tell Him He made a mistake.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.John 1:12-13 ESV
Rest in who, what and where God made you to be
Comparisons are dangerous and tell God “the way you made me, and the life you have called me to isn’t enough”. It tells Christ that His blood that was shed for you wasn’t enough.
Judgment and comparison affect the heart and blinds us to our sin. Like the tax collector, we must acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of repentance, forgiveness, grace, and mercy and likewise are called to show forgiveness, grace, and mercy. We are called to imitate Christ and lead others to Him through our lives and testimonies. Grace and mercy leave no room for prideful comparisons. In being imitators of Christ, we should bear the fruit of His gracious Spirit rather than the sinful fruits of this dark world.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
Knowing you are a sinner is important, and also knowing in your heart and soul that Christ is enough is vital. If you find yourself comparing your not-soup-goup with someone else’s delicious-looking gourmet stew you will miss out on the blessing and grace given to you, and find yourself rejecting the salvation you have been offered and neglecting the peace and rest we can only have in Christ.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
Where do you need to rest in the life God has blessed you with? Where do you need to repent, to be grateful, to forgive, to extend grace? Where do you need to let God in and turn the goup into a delicious, satisfying, eternal relationship with Him? Where do you need to stop comparing and start glorifying?
Give it all to God today and thank Him for the life you’re in. He is making you into a beautiful masterpiece and loves you just the way you are, goup and all.