The Woodpecker

by Rhonda, June 08, 2022

Today, I was tricked into telling myself that I'm stupid.  Not for a long period of time, but certainly for a while.  I made an innocent, unintended mistake at work and that's all it took.  I felt stupid, I was convinced I am an idiot, and oh yeah, I was pretty sure I'm stupid.

I left my computer and I went crying to my heavenly Father.  I sat on my deck, frustrated with tears streaming down my face.  It wasn't a big deal.  I knew it wasn't a big deal.  But, it didn't stop my tears.  

The Lord whispered to me, My child, don't you know how much I love you?

I couldn't imagine why.  I am always screwing up.  I get so frustrated when I can't seem to do things right, despite my best efforts.  

Just then, a woodpecker landed on my deck.  It was a small black and white bird.  This particular breed is usually pretty tolerant of humans, but I'd never had one stand next to me so closely.  I'd been reading recently that birds can identify the person that feeds them, and they will tend to respond favorably to that person.  

Turns out perhaps it is true.  

I sat still while she walked by me.  She nearly walked onto my arm.  Then, she took a quick flight to the feeder and ate just a few feet from me.

If even the wild bird shows affection towards you, and she can detect danger, how it is possible to hate yourself so much over an innocent mistake? 

I didn't have a good answer for God's question, but it definitely got me thinking.  

When it comes to how I feel about myself, I judge first and love second.  The love comes only when I've successfully passed my standards and judgement.  Being a type A personality, the standard is high.  This is why I (and many others) associate perfection with love.  

But, the order is wrong.  The judgment is out of place.  Love for yourself cannot comes after judgement of yourself.  It can only come before.  (Judging ourselves isn't our job anyway.  Its God's.)

God doesn't judge the way the world judges.  He loves first and judges second.  His first response is grace, not consequence.  His love for us is far more than we can even understand.  We are beautiful in His eyes.  He hears our pain, and He loves us through it.  In fact, His grace is sufficient for all of our mistakes, big and small.  

He knows we are doing our best.  He sees it every day.  We will always make mistakes.  But when these mistakes are kept in the appropriate line of priority, they won't affect the love we have for ourselves.  If we can see our mistakes through the lens of love, we can correct ourselves without hating ourselves in the process.  

We don't have to hate ourselves for our mistakes.  We don't deserve to hate ourselves for our mistakes.  We are worth far more than any little mistake, anyway.  Our heavenly Father thinks so.

So, even though it is hard to put these things behind us, it is perfectly fine to do so.  

These problems don't deserve our tears.  Everything is going to be just fine.

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