With My Eye Upon You
Open Your Bible
Lamentations 4:12-22, Psalm 32:8-11
Text: Lamentations 4:12-22, Psalm 32:8-11
I’m the worst athlete. But just to make sure, my parents made me try all of the sports when I was growing up. I was so excited to receive a basketball trophy in the 5th grade for being “the only player to not score any points.”
If I had to pick a sport I was the least terrible at, it would be competitive swimming. For a short season, I inhaled glorious chlorine fumes and flaunted a one-piece like a true athlete. I preferred long distance events because they require more endurance than technique and, unlike basketball, a majority of the swimmers were short, meaning I had a leg up on the competition. Literally.
But my favorite part about swimming was that I didn’t feel much pressure. Coaching takes place before the actual event and spectators lose interest after the first few laps, so my victories were small and my losses unnoticed.
The only person to see my every move was the lifeguard who sat in a tall plastic chair, overseeing the safety of the swimmers. His only job was to keep me from drowning or to blow his red whistle if I were to cross into someone else’s lane or, say, hit my head on a diving block. He was pretty quiet for the most part and I liked it that way. Between my flailing freestyle strokes and gasps for air, I never really noticed him.
Somehow, and for a time much longer than my swimming career, I allowed this lifeguard mentality to frame my relationship with God.
I’ll just keep doing my thing and you let me know if I’m out of line.
Save me from tragedy and I’ll call on you when I need help.
Meanwhile, my execution might be mediocre, but I’ve got this.
When I read that God “sees” me, my rule-following tendency assumes it’s a warning, as if God’s blowing the same red whistle and saying, “I’m watching you. Behave.”
I wish I could write a really endearing story about repentance, but the truth is, I’m still aiming for endurance, hoping to finish the race unnoticed. When I do ask God for forgiveness, it’s more a quick gasp of air to sustain me until the next time I feel guilty enough to swallow the reality of my sin.
I become overwhelmed by the inadequacy of my sorriness, leading only to repentance for my lack of repentance. But then I’m stuck, drowning in weight of whispered words to God, face down in my transgressions, and that’s where I stay.
I begin to believe repentance is more about my guilt than being freed from it.
While I know God sees me, I don’t look for Him because I’d rather live in ignorance.
I’d rather perceive God as an obligatory watch guard or stoic spectator than see Him grow and refine me. I choose surface apology and manufacture makeshift grace for myself.
And Lord, I don’t want to any longer.
You are well-versed in the depth of my fears.
You are mindful of my faintest joys.
You don’t just see me; you see me through.
May the comfort of your gaze push me to bold, unashamed expression of my need for you.
Kaitlin Wernet is a Carolina girl who now plants her feet in Tennessee as the Community Coordinator for She Reads Truth. Each day, she excitedly celebrates grace with her SRT sisters while attempting to tame her curly hair and avoid parallel parking.