I can still remember trying to play baseball as a youngster. I could neither bat nor catch well because I could not tell where the ball was or judge how fast it was coming to me. I did not know until years later that my inability to play baseball was due to my having monocular vision – the ability to focus only one eye at a time.
Depth perception, which is normal with most people, is based on binocular vision – the ability to focus both eyes together to produce a three-dimensional effect.
But as a youngster, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t play baseball with the other boys. I just knew that I felt shame and rejection because I was not like they were. Of course, many people have physical or mental impairments that are much worse than mine. But whether they are major or minor, these disabilities often cause childhood heartache and difficulty with self-acceptance as an adult. When we become Christians, we may begin to struggle with God over these disabilities.
People who have no disabilities may struggle with problems of physical appearance. Their ears are too big or their nose is too long, or their body in some way does not match normal proportions. Still other people have difficulty with temperament or emotional traits.
Whatever the problem, many people struggle to accept themselves as they are. For them life is continuous adversity, not from outside circumstances, but from who they are. Their greatest need in trusting God may be to “trust God for who I am.” For those with this need, Psalm 139:13, 16 has some very important things to say.
God Made Me Who I Am
Psalm 139:13, 16 teaches us that we are who we are because God Himself created – not because of an impersonal biological process.
Notice in verse 13 that David says to God, “You wove me in my mother’s womb.” He pictures God as a master weaver at work in our mother’s womb, creating us as directly as He created Adam out of the dust of the earth.
Obviously David was aware of the biological process that God used. He does not deny that. Rather he teaches us that God superintends that biological process to fashion each one of us into the person He wants us to be.
The first part of verse 13 says, “For You formed my inward parts.” The Hebrew word for “inward parts” is literally “kidneys,” a word used by the Jews to express the seat of longings and desires. The New International Version Study Bible says the word was used in Hebrew idiom for “the center of emotions and of moral sensitivity.”
David is essentially saying, “You created my personality.” David was the person he was because God created him that way – physically, mentally, and emotionally. And just as God was personally involved in the creation of David, so He was directly involved in creating you and me.
The writer of Psalm 119 said, “Your hands made me and fashioned me” (Psa. 119:73). And God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer. 1:5).
The application of this truth should be clear. If I have difficulty accepting myself the way God made me, then I have a controversy with God.
Obviously you and I need to change insofar as our sinful nature distorts that which God has made. Therefore, I do not say that we need to accept ourselves as we are, but as God made us in our basic physical, mental, and emotional make-up.
David, instead of fretting over the way God made him, said, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psa. 139:14).
David was a man “with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance” (1 Sam. 16:12). So we could say, “It’s well enough for David to praise God because he was handsome, athletic, skilled in war, and a gifted musician. But look at me: I’m very ordinary physically and mentally.”
In fact, some people feel they don’t even measure up to ordinary.
I understand people who feel that way. I’ve never been excited about my physical appearance. But God did not give His own Son handsome features. Isaiah said of Jesus, “He had no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him” (Isa. 53:2).
Jesus, at best, was apparently nondescript in His physical appearance, and it never interfered with His carrying out the will of His Father.
David praised God, not because he was handsome, but because God made him. We need to dwell on that. The eternal God who is infinite in His wisdom and perfect in His love personally made you and me. He gave you the body, the mental abilities, and the basic personality you have because that is the way He wanted you to be. And He wanted you to be just that way because He loves you and wants to glorify Himself through you.
This is the believer’s foundation for self-acceptance. I am who I am and you are who you are because God sovereignly and directly created us to be who we are. Self-acceptance is basically trusting God for who I am, disabilities or physical flaws and all.
If we have physical or mental disabilities or impairments, it is because God in His wisdom and love created us that way. We may not understand why God chose to do that, but that is where our trusting Him has to begin.
When the disciples asked Jesus why a certain man was born blind, He replied, “… it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).
What about our own physical disabilities or inadequacies? Is God’s glory worthy of those also? Are we willing to take our physical limitations, our learning disabilities, and even our appearance problems to God and say:
“Father, You are worthy of this infirmity in my life. I believe You created me just the way I am because You love me and You want to glorify Yourself through me. I will trust You for who I am.”