I have a memory of childhood. It's strong and indelible, but at the same time fuzzy at the edges and dream-like as some childhood memories are, floating unmoored to context and circumstance. I can't even remember how old I was, or what I was doing there.
I remember being a big, dark room. It was full of other kids and we were watching a live show about outer space. Like all shows for kids, they called for crowd involvement. Lollies were handed out for answering questions and a few volunteers were called to go up on stage. They got to act in front of a blue screen that made it look like they were flying in the milky way on the video screen.
I wanted to answer a question and get a lolly. No-one picked me. I wanted to volunteer and get to go on the special video. No-one picked me.
It's my earliest memory of that feeling, "Why will no-one choose me? Why don't I ever get picked?"
We go through life carrying that feeling a lot, whether it started in getting picked for teams, for special privileges, or getting noticed in school, through to watching others get picked for promotions, winning competitions and getting noticed in our adults lives.
Recently I went a One Day Hillsong conference. At the time I was considering what it was God was really calling me for and feeling like on was on the verge of something new. But I was uncertain and unsure. On the way to the conference I had the thought, "Wouldn't it be great if one of the speakers had a word from God for me, and actually called me by name. 'Jessie Costin, God's calling you'. Then I'd know for sure."
It didn't happen. I never really thought it would, but it's still easy to fall into that feeling of 'Why will no-one notice me!'
It was later that I found myself singing the song "Fear not, for I am with you...says the Lord". That song is from Isaiah 43.
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine."
God has called me by name.
Here I was wishing that He would, and He already has. And He has already has called you too. You don't need that validated by other people before you can be sure of it.
He has redeemed us. He has called us. We are His.
We all struggle with feelings of wanting to belong, to be noticed, to be special. We look so hard for it from the people around us, rather than remembering that God already chose us before we even came into being.
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.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
God chose YOU! Do you get that? Do you get how precious you are, how amazing that is, that the creator of the universe specifically wanted you to exist! You never need to feel unnoticed or left out when you know that God created you, and had a purpose and a plan in mind for you. You are not a child sitting in a dark room unseen in the midst of so many others.
God sees you. God chose you.