This morning, I saw something about myself I didn’t very much like.
These things happen when you’re healing, amen?
I grew up watching the 1970’s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. Have you seen it? Jeannie was a genie who materialized only to serve her master’s needs. At all other times she lived a very small life confined in a bottle. In fact, one of her superpowers was her ability to shrink or disappear completely.
I realized this morning that while my name is Jenny, I’ve got the superpowers and behavior patterns of Jeannie:
- I can make myself small.
- I live my life in miniature.
- I appear only when wanted.
It’s shame that shrinks us. You know that, right?
And shame is not a superpower I want to keep around!
In the past, I’ve needed applause, approval, acceptance or at the very least acknowledgment in order to appear – to materialize – to feel safe enough stepping out of that blasted bottle. As if I needed someone’s permission to take up space. But my mattering does not hang on the volume of anyone’s applause (or the depths of anyone’s need).
Before emerging, I’ve just wanted to know — will I be welcomed? Will I be received? Will there be room for me? Enough space? If not, I’ve been all too happy to shrink back into my bottled up life.
I think what it comes down to is this: I’ve wanted pre-approval before appearing. I’ve materialized only when *they* (my masters) have told me I mattered.
One whiff of disapproval and I’d cross my arms, nod my head and disappear in the blink of an eye. Shrunken down to size.
To materialize is to come into existence; to become real; to assume bodily form (like a genie); and – get this – to appear after having been invisible.
Meanwhile, matter is something that has physical substance; in science, matter is that which takes up space (hello again!). Of course, it also means to be important, as in, you matter to me (which, by the way, you do!).
Matter is something that takes up space, so when I say I want to matter, I’m essentially saying I want to be important enough to take up space. To materialize, yes? Yes, a thousand times yes!
Friend, you and I ARE matter (scientifically speaking), and therefore, we DO matter (are of great worth). And that goes for every single person on this planet.
I don’t believe we’re to diminish ourselves or others, and we’re certainly not to disappear. Who are we to shrink those whom God has saved? Wouldn’t it be fun to go around uncapping all kinds of bottles, freeing others from confinement and tiny little lives, watching them magically appear in full form before us? I fear too often we do the opposite. We shame & shrink, control & contain, and it breaks God’s heart.
Oh, let us stop this because the truth of the matter is we all matter.
We don’t just matter, we are matter.
Friend, here’s the thing: If you HAVE matter, you DO matter. End of sentence.
“The truth of the matter:” Our Little Life Words of the week.
- Is one of your superpowers the ability to shrink? When do you use it and why?
- In what ways does shame shrink you?
- Who are the ‘masters’ that determine your mattering?
- Watch an episode of I Dream of Jeannie on YouTube.
- If you see someone shrink in shame, uncork their bottle and set them free. Tell them of their mattering.
- Our song of the week is: You Say by Lauren Daigle.
- As you sit in prayer, picture God uncorking your bottle and calling you out. Talk to Him about all the feelings involved in such an invitation.
My dear friend, here’s what I want to say: Don’t shrink. Don’t shrink yourself. Don’t shrink others. “It is for freedom Christ has set us free,” and that’s the truth of the matter. (Galatians 5:1)