Youth Sunday

December 28, 2021

Erin McGuire Sermon - Listen Here

When was the last time someone told you something you’re doing wrong?

When was the last time someone told you something you’re doing well?

We tend to focus on the negative things about ourselves, we focus on what’s wrong with us instead of good things about ourselves.

My older brother is really good at math. He took more advanced math all throughout middle and high school than I have and he is taking more advanced math in college than I will. He consistently got better grades than me. He picks up concepts much faster than I ever can. And we both spent most of our lives at Greenhill, which is a small school, so all the math teachers knew my brother before they knew me. Every new year when I would meet a new math teacher I would wait for the inevitable recognition of my name when they read role. They would see McGuire and say “Oh Hartley’s sister!” I always felt the need to apologize for not being as good at math as him. And it’s not just my brother, my whole family is good at math. My mom studied computer science in college and my dad studied business, both extremely math heavy. For 17 years I always felt like I was being told I wasn’t good enough at math by my teachers and family and peers. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized something: it was never my teachers or my family who made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. It was all me. I was comparing myself to my brother’s achievements.

This feeling of self-doubt is not a unique one, and it’s not even unique to today. Jeremiah was a kid and God asked him to be a prophet. He doubted himself too. He didn’t think he was good enough to be a prophet. But this story doesn’t just apply to someone who thinks they’re too young for something. It can apply to anyone who thinks they’re not good enough in any way. That’s why this story is so powerful: it applies as much to a kid so long ago who doubted his ability to fulfill God’s calling as it does to an adult today and as it will continue to apply to all different ages far into the future.

God tells us, “Before I created you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart.” God knew each one of us even before we knew ourselves and he loves us exactly as we are. God is telling us that because he knew us in the womb, we should be kinder to ourselves. We don’t need to judge ourselves so harshly. We need to treat ourselves just a little bit nicer. And that’s not to say that we can’t try to improve ourselves. Rather, we do not need to treat ourselves so harshly.

I needed to hear this message from God because it allowed me to remember that God has plans for me, and for all of us. We tend to forget that sometimes, so it’s nice to have a reminder that God knew us in the womb.

When was the last time someone at church thought you could do something better? God knew you in the womb.

When was the last time someone at work thought you were underperforming? God knew you in the womb.

When was the last time you told yourself you weren’t good enough? God knew you in the womb.

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