Hearing him say those words broke me.
“I feel like nothing.”
Like getting punched in the stomach, punched in the heart. What causes a child of only 7 short years, to say such a thing?
I know the answer.
I have known the answer for a long, long time. I have felt that feeling before. Nothing. It’s a hollow word. Nothing is empty, lonely, an absence. Nothing. The context for such a despairing statement is important, but not as important as the root of it; the root of feeling like nothing.
We’d had a rough day, my better half was out of town, and behavior ran wild all day. Snow and ice had us hemmed in and energies were bursting, eager to romp wild and expend themselves empty again. It was bedtime, prayer time, our routine, coming together time that is frequently fraught with chaos and disobedience, as they struggle to avoid the inevitable – sleep. As we recounted our day, the trials of it all, the naughtiness listed out, those words came forth, head down, mouth tightly curled into a frown.
“ When I do bad stuff, I just I feel like nothing.”
I sighed and wrapped arms round him. “You are NOT nothing.” I speak low. He sighs too, heavy shoulders, 7 years of the world weighing him down, but really, it’s more like centuries, since this feeling, the root of the ‘nothing’ comes from ages ago, disguised as a viper, cursed, slithering through paradise, slipping into the hearts of man, eager to deceive and destroy. He has many names, but one stands out in this moment, his name, deceiver. We talk about this feeling, and how it’s a struggle for everybody. We read Romans 7 and 8, those words from Paul so many years ago,
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15 ESV)
We talk about the human struggle against sin, against the flesh. I pray silently that his struggle ends here. That he never feels like nothing again. His heart is sensitive to the Holy Spirit, he has accepted Christ as savior now 3 years past, and I have seen a change.
He feels the struggle as Paul did, as I do.
The fumbling some days of trying to do the right thing, to say the right thing, and the failing, and stumbling and doing what I hate. But there is hope, I assure him, there is hope!
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.t For the law of the Spirit of life has set yout free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,t he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4 ESV)
He is encouraged, we pray, we hug tight, we give thanks for God’s grace, for his rich grace that flows from the cross and covers us. Those Abba arms that wrap us tight and that Holy Spirit that whispers into our ears the truth,
“You are not nothing.”
I am not, nothing.
Why is the lie is easier to believe?
The truth, is hard, it doesn’t make sense in a world that assigns worth based on account summaries, square footage, designer tags, attractiveness or skill level on a playing field-
We choke on truth; we cannot understand a love that died for us; A love that gives all for us, just because we exist. There is no other standard that need be met, no other qualifying factor.
How can we begin to understand Jesus, who accepted death just for us, for me; A broken reflection of my maker. The deceiver taunts constantly, thrusting our failure and missteps in our face, “you’re not worthy” he hisses. “You’re nothing”.
But then it comes again. Truth. He gave his life as a ransom for many.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 ESV)
He didn’t die for nothing. I am not nothing. We are not, nothing. Our identity lies in Christ, crucified. I pray my children know this. That they hold fast to the truth, and shut out the lie. That their ears are closed to the venom of the one that squeezes and ‘comforts’ them by whispering ‘nothing’ into their ears when they stumble. I pray that we are instead overcome with the truth,
for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:23-25 ESV- emphasis mine)
Some of my 1000 gifts:
95. Abby singing to Jesus on the potty-”Jesus will help me learn to use the potty!”
96. Laughter during the schooling hours
97. The way You (God) orchestrate the lesson plan
98. nap time peek-a-boo with Phoebe
© Kris Camealy