Beautifully Complex

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether….
13 For you formed my inward parts;

    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:1-4; 13-16

Yes, I know, we have heard this passage time after time.   We often use this entire psalm to remind us God knows us more than we know ourselves, God formed us before the foundation of the earth, and God has plans for our lives beyond what we can see with our eyes.  Yet as I conversed with a friend the other day, and as I’ve watched the news headlines in recent days, God has reminded me of another important truth written within these lines, a truth that is key to living a healthy life as God intended. Yet it is also a truth currently being challenged by society. It is affecting our families, our friends, and most recently, our military. What is it?

Gender identity.

Now please don’t stop reading. I’m not one to typically broach such topics, but after recent events, I feel compelled to do so.

During a conversation with a friend the other day, my friend mentioned a child she knows who by physical traits, is a girl, but in all other attributes, is quite boyish.  The little girl likes all things boy–so much so the family will sometimes comment to this little girl, “You should have been a boy.” Now I know the intentions of such a comment toward the little girl are not meant for evil or made in a derogatory manner.  I know this little girl is well loved by her family. I understand they make this comment in a light hearted way simply because she is a girl who gravitates toward all things boy. I’d say their outlook is the equivalent of the tomboy label of years past.

Yet even though I know the good intentions of such a comment, hearing it the other day struck something inside of me. And my heart hurt for the little girl. For it is such comments–no matter how innocently spoken–that are filling the minds of impressionable young lives nowadays. Some boys are being told they “should have been” girls.  Some girls are being told they “should have been” boys.  And some parents are actually choosing to “let their children decide” what gender they desire to be. Yet in all this, young people are getting the wrong message. They end up thinking that if the ones they love believe they “should have been a boy” or “should have been a girl,” then maybe they should have been. Maybe the wires got crossed while they were being formed. Maybe what they were meant to be isn’t who they are. Maybe who they are is a mistake. In fact, some–believing their body a mistake–actually change their physical bodies to reflect who they think they should be.

This grieves my heart, for too many people are starting to think they are a mistake. But God doesn’t make mistakes. I repeat: God doesn’t make mistakes.

People make mistakes. And I believe it is in part our mistake as a society that has led to this gender identity crisis.

What is our mistake? It’s two-fold. First, we assume that just because someone acts in a way contrary to society’s definition of normal, then that person is a mistake.  We think if a boy plays with dolls or acts in a “feminine” manner then he must want to be a girl.   Or if a girl hates dresses and dolls but loves to play war and wrestle with the boys, then she must want to be a boy. We have these preconceived notions about what it means to be a boy and what it means to be a girl.

Yet our notions are just that. Notions. There is a difference between societal expectations and Biblical standards. Going against societal norms doesn’t equate with being out of God’s will. Nor does accepting God’s will always match up with the world. Going against the flow doesn’t make someone wrong; it just makes someone different. And God loves (and often uses) different. God loves (and often uses) unique. God doesn’t want us to act the way society expects; He calls us to be who He designed us to be. And if who we are does not fit the norms of society, then so be it.

It shouldn’t be wrong to be different. It shouldn’t be wrong for a boy to like things typically associated with girls. It shouldn’t be wrong for a girl to like things typically associated with boys. But it should be wrong to convince someone that God must have intended them to be someone else– that God somehow messed up in how He fashioned them.

Which brings me to our second mistake: we think we know more than God. We think that if our physical bodies don’t “fit” our personalities, then God must have made a mistake. And if God made a mistake, then we should fix it. Yet we have no right to “fix” God. We have no right to believe that when God intricately wove someone together that He somehow missed a stroke. We have no right to steer someone in a direction that leads them to doubt their value, their worth, and their God-given identity.

Here’s the deal. This gender identity issue isn’t about being born the wrong way; it’s about a group of people who feel the only way to feel whole is to change who they are. They feel they’re trapped in the wrong body because what people expect of them is not who they are. But God doesn’t want any of us to change who we are; He wants to use us as we are for His good pleasure.

Does the propensity of a little girl to be boyish mean her female features are a mistake? Should a little girl like the one my friend knows have been born a boy?

No! God doesn’t make mistakes. No one is born by accident. No one. God doesn’t create someone then say, “Oops! Why did I make her a girl?” God intricately fashioned each of us. He knew exactly what He was doing when He formed us. As He penned our story, He knew the qualities necessary to fulfill His plan. The One who created us–the One who formed our inward parts–knows the specific purpose He has for us, and it is with that specific purpose in mind He created us. God knows us more than we know us.

This girl my friend knows and those in similar circumstances to her are not mistakes; they are masterpieces. They were created by God for God. They are beautifully complex. In fact, we as people created by God are all beautifully complex. Each of us is unique. Each of us is a purposeful creation of our Creator. This means a female is meant to be a female, regardless of whether or not she chooses to act that way according to society’s standards.  A male is meant to be a male, regardless of whether or not he chooses to act that way according to society’s standards.

This little girl my friend knows, and all those individuals who may be struggling to figure out who they are, have been designed beautifully complex and for a specific purpose. Not one of them is a mistake. I fully believe God can and will use a little girl’s love of all things boy as well as her feminine identity to impact the world for His glory.  She doesn’t need to change who she is; she needs to be who she is.  And my prayer is that those who love her will speak such words of life into her heart so she may know she was designed complex and intricately by a God who loves her intimately.  She is valuable; she is a gift. And she is not mistake; she’s a masterpiece.

So my prayer today, and I hope it will become yours as well, is that every individual will see their worth and their value from God’s perspective–that they will realize and know God doesn’t make mistakes. God is more than able to and will use every aspect of our personalities–even the “unconventional” traits–for His good pleasure.

No one is a mistake; everyone is a masterpiece. And this includes you.  You are a masterpiece, my friend. You are a beautifully complex masterpiece. God did not make a mistake when he created you, when he formed you, or when he fashioned you. God knew exactly who he wanted you to be, and He designed you with that purpose in mind.

So today, whether or not you feel you fit into the mold of society’s standards and expectations–whether or not you live life inside or outside the box–remember whose you are: You are God’s. God created you, God loves you, and God will never let you go. He’s got plans for you, my friend–plans beyond your understanding, beyond your comprehension, yet full of hope and full of promise. You are special. You are unique. And you are loved. Don’t change who you are. Be who God designed you to be: fearfully and wonderfully made.

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