Will you please stop saying that?
Have you ever known a time when a particular phrase starts to annoy you? It seems to be everywhere, and the more you hear it, the more it grates. I’ve been experiencing this over the last few months, and the phrase in question is “You are amazing.”
“Why?” I hear you cry! Why should that phrase have been upsetting me? (I need to be clear at this point that it hasn’t been addressed to me exclusively – not very often at all – but has been used a lot in my hearing and on social media too).
I think I am more comfortable thinking of myself as a poor, miserable sinner – a wretched man, like Paul thought of himself (Romans 7:24). I know myself, all the things I do that I shouldn’t, the things I don’t do that I should, and what my thoughts are like. They are not ‘amazing’ at all – I am a sinner in need of a Saviour – and I thank Jesus that He is my Saviour. This view of myself (and I assume other people to be like me too!) is why I was finding the phrase such a challenge. I also didn’t like the idea that it is all about me, and what I can do – with the right application and effort. This seems like a view that is all too common today – “I can be anything that I want to be” – which leads very quickly to pride, but also disappointment if I don’t achieve what I want to.
This can lead me to be like Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3) trying to hide from God because I know I have sinned. God came looking, and He still does today. A couple of Sundays ago, someone at church brought the following prophetic word:
“You are too busy looking inside yourself at what is wrong, rather than looking in My face and seeing the purpose and destiny that I have for you.”
It was one of those ‘Oh gosh’ moments when you know God has spoken directly to you, and it caused me to reflect on my reaction to the ‘You are amazing’ phrase. I know that I am a sinner, but if I just focus on that, then I don’t develop my relationship with God or move forward in any way.
I have to hear what God thinks about me. As David said, I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God (Psalm 139), and I was created in His image to be a carrier of the divine presence – His Holy Spirit. That does make me truly amazing – probably much more amazing that the thoughts that are in people’s heads when ‘The phrase’ is uttered. I am amazing because of the One who made me, understands me and saved me. That’s no reason for pride in myself, but rather in praise and glory to God, for what He has done in me.
What does the way of the cross say to this? It says most clearly that I am a miserable sinner, unable to save myself and unable to set myself free from the grip that sin has on my life. The cross clearly tells me I am right to view myself like this, because if I wasn’t a sinner, then the cross wouldn’t be needed. However, the cross also says that I am amazing – so amazing that the Son of God should leave His place in heaven, be incarnated into this world and then die in my place on the cross. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” This works pictorially too – the horizontal bar of the cross represents the result of my sin – a barrier that sits in between me and God, stopping all relationship between us. The vertical post represents God breaking through – from heaven to earth, because He thinks I am wonderful.
So – don’t stop saying it! “I am amazing.” – only don’t say it in a “I can do anything” way, but in a “I am a miserable sinner that is so amazing the Son of God died for me” way!