Knowing who’s who makes a big difference–specifically, knowing Who is God and who is not.
I memorized Psalm 100, a psalm for giving thanks, in first grade in order to earn a special ribbon-like bookmark in Sunday School class. This bookmark was the first in a collection of hundreds. Each time I look at the bookmark, I fondly recall the Sunday School class at Olivet Baptist Church in Wichita, Kansas, and my teacher, Mrs. Gutshall, who a few years later generously provided the financial means for me to pursue my love for flipping and twirling via gymnastics. I remember running up the stairs of the church, clickity clacking in my new shiny black patent leather mary janes, excited about what crafts we’d concoct out of empty tuna can lids and construction paper.
I recite Psalm 100 each time I pull out the faded ribbon. It’s amazing how my memory has clung to the psalm’s vibrant words for decades.
Today as I read the psalm yet again, I noticed that before it instructs us to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise,” it admonishes us to “know that the Lord is God.” It then goes on to clarify, in case any of us are feeling confused about who’s who, to state that “it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.”
But how many times a day do I attempt to take the reins and control my own destiny, often steering myself off the best course for my life? How often have I clearly been instructed by God to do X and did Y instead? How many times do I worry and fret over situations out of my control without turning those worries over to God, who is very much in control? How often do these actions result in additional anxiety, missteps, and self-pity?
All the time.
The Psalmist–or God–must have known that stubborn folks like me would read these words and need to be reminded of who’s who.
God’s God. I’m not.
If I understand that, I can let go of my worries, release my fears, stop trying to fix everything, and rest knowing that Someone more capable has things under control.
Then, and only then, can I wholeheartedly and single-mindedly focus on thanking Him for being Who He Is and making me who I am. When I know Who He Is and who I am, I’m more likely to feel gratitude for what I have because I understand that all my blessings are gifts and that my futile efforts and the fruits of my labor could never amount to a fraction of what God provides me with.
Maybe I’ll remove that old orange satin bookmark from my collection box and tack it onto my bulletin board to remind me of who’s who.