Not a Dead Dog
(Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash)
As a child, I was extremely shy. I didn't know how to talk to the kids at school, and although I don't remember, my mom told me I cried everyday in first grade. We had just moved from Dallas to Peoria, and for whatever reason, I couldn't handle the change. Or maybe it was something else. I don't even know if I was shy before we moved. But first grade was the beginning of a painful childhood for me. I didn't think about my self-esteem until high school when I began to believe this is who I was, and nothing would ever change. I carried it into my marriage and my relationships. I knew I was unlikable and there was nothing I could do about it. So I didn't try to change. Most people thought I was quiet but sweet. I hated myself. I didn't want to be sweet nor did I want to be quiet. Although the circumstances were vastly different, I felt a lot like Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth.
Mephibosheth was five years old when his nurse dropped him, and he was crippled in both feet. Both his father and grandfather had just died in battle. Mephibosheth was the only son of Jonathan and the grandson of King Saul (2 Sam. 4:4). God had given the monarchy to David, but even if he hadn't, Mephibosheth probably would have been disqualified from the throne given he was now lame. After his accident, he went to live with a family in Lo-debar who graciously took care of him. But did they love him?
About twenty years into David's reign as king, and after two victories in battle, David asked if there was still anyone alive from the family of Saul. He must have remembered the covenant he had made with Jonathan years before when David had to flee because Saul wanted him dead. David made a promise to Jonathan to look out for any family he had if he died (1 Sam. 20:14-15). And now he wanted to make good on the promise. He was told about Mephibosheth. David didn't ask how severely he was crippled or what he was like, he simply brought the now young man to his home and what happened next must have shocked Mephibosheth a great deal. David wanted to give him the property that once belonged to his grandfather, Saul, and from that day forward, he would eat at the king's table. Mephibosheth bowed and said these words; "Who is your servant that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me? (2 Sam. 9:1-8)" Now that's low self-esteem. He thought he was worthless. He had forgotten he was made in the image of God. He only saw his crippled feet.
The story of Mephibosheth and the kindness of David is a picture of God's love and grace for you. God doesn't care what condition you are in; He invites you to come into His presence as you are. Mephibosheth didn't seek David out and ask to be taken in, David sought out Mephibosheth. If you feel like a spiritual cripple, you are in good company. Remember though; you live in the palace with the King. You eat at His table because He says you are worthy.
It would be many years and much freedom before I believed I was worthy. Not because I deserved anything from God, but because He said I was worthy. He had sought me out, and He loved me in my shyness and my fear and my shame. He accepted me even when I couldn't accept myself. I'm still a work in progress, but I have come a long way thanks to the grace of God.
And thanks to the grace of King David, when we later meet up with Mephibosheth again, we see he is now more confident. And he is grateful to David for all he has done for him. He is active, not letting his disability keep him from living life. And he is loyal and content to live with the king (2 Sam. 19:25-28). That is what can happen for you if you will live in God's grace, allowing Him to heal your shame and fear. If you will live in His presence rather than running or hiding and if you will use gratitude as a way of life instead of focusing on your condition or circumstance.
That's not to say it's easy or happens in a day. I don't know what you are facing. I only know how God changed me from a frightened, lonely person who didn't feel loved (or liked) by God or people into a woman who is confident in who I am in Christ and in His love for me. It absolutely made all the difference and it can for you too! Say it with me, "I am not a dead dog! I am worthy!"
I got to keep my head up one more day and get by Look perfect on the outside But I’m dying on the inside I could work so hard, slave the day away But end up broke tryin’ to find my place In my attempt to prove I’m worthy But it’s already done [CHORUS:] So I won’t spend my whole life Paying my own price Tryin’ to be good enough I’m gonna just let You love me Finally see me the way You see I’m believing Your grace is enough for me Thank God I don’t have to hold on with my own strength I’m not the one who saved me So I’m trusting You completely ‘Cause the best in me is only You I run out, but You come through Now I’m never looking back, You don’t see the past All You see is I’m forgiven [CHORUS] If You said it, I believe it If You did it, it’s completed Ooh I was hurting, You were healer I was broken, You’re redeemer So I won’t spend my whole life Paying my own price Tryin’ to be good enough [CHORUS] Your grace is enough, it’s enough for me