I guess I was not a keeper. My mind has gone in a thousand circles, asking myself what I could have done differently. I ask myself the deep, contemplative questions. "Was I too controlling?" I then move to the more ridiculous questions. "Do I have bad breath?" I nitpick every part of my personality and body apart until I am left with a list of all the things that could possibly be wrong with me. I allow myself to become completely absorbed with the "list of wrongs." I think about those things long enough that I begin to wonder if there is anything good about me. At that point, I start thinking that it is no wonder he does not want me.
Tonight was orientation at the school where I currently teach. I have taught at the school for two years now, so I know many of the students very well. I know some of their stories. Many of them have experienced rejection. Some have experienced it through high school crushes. Others didn't make the athletic team they tried out for, or they didn't get the position for which they hoped. However, a few have experienced the ultimate tragedy of being rejected by a parent. I have students who, in their very young years, have traveled roads that I have never gone anywhere near in my forty-two years on this earth.
I love these students. When I look at them, I see beyond their scars and imperfections. I know that some will come in some days and give me that look that says, "This is the last place that I want to be, and you are the last person I want to see." Others will come in some days and accuse me of being the most unfair teacher in the school. But still I love them. Why? Because I look beyond their imperfections, and I see their hearts. I believe that every single one of them has a good heart. Some just have that goodness buried a little deeper than others.
When I walked in tonight, two of the first students that I saw were ones who have traveled some of those difficult roads of life. They have had more than their fair share of valleys in their short lives. They have been rejected in life at times by the very people who should have loved and cherished them. Did they deserve to be discarded? Absolutely not. They are wonderful and gifted children of God. They are not perfect, but they certainly never, ever deserved to be thrown back. They were keepers! I have watched them grow over the last two years. They are moving beyond the hurt and pain of rejection in their lives. I know that they, along with many of my other students, are going to do great things in their lives. It is my privilege and honor to watch them as they achieve some of these great accomplishments in life.
I thought about this when I got home last night. It would break my heart if these students sat around and thought of nothing but their imperfections. I want them to know that they are special, they are loved, and they deserve the very best in life. They are a keepers!
I started thinking about my own life. I have a Father above and family and friends below who think I am a keeper. They know that I am far from perfect, but they see the good in me, and they love me for that. I am still striving toward being all that Christ calls me to be, but I will not allow the enemy to constantly bombard me with thoughts of inadequacy and insecurity. So here is what I am going to do. I am going to lay my "list of wrongs" before my Heavenly Father. There are some things on the list with which I truly need to deal. But I am going to ask Him to help me sort through and find the ones on which He and I need to work. I will seek Him to help me overcome those traits in my life that do not point others toward Him.
We are all traveling on some sort of "Unplanned Journey." We must remember that no matter how we feel, God still loves us, and to Him, we are keepers!
Psalm 139:13-14 (New International Version)
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.