Standing shoulder to shoulder like soldiers waiting for inspection, Karen McKinley’s ninth grade girls gym class has assembled itself for the annual volleyball team choice. Two girls stand out among the other twenty-eight. The first is Suzanne, last year’s team captain and this year’s voted “Most Popular” girl. The second is Jordann, class nerd and socially recognized “Least Likely to Get a Date” before the end of her senior year – if ever.
Ten feet away Karen McKinley stands with her clip board in hand, her back facing a cloud filtered afternoon sun, the space between her hazel eyes puckered as she thinks back to the conversation she had earlier that morning with Vice Principal Ortega.
”There have been complaints from several of the parents that you are showing too much favoritism to Suzanne Michael’s. They say that you’re not giving the other girls a chance to develop leadership skills.”
She would have liked to deny their allegations, but in her heart she knew that what they said was true. She had shown favoritism towards Suzanne since seventh grade. The girl was both a natural leader as well as a born athlete, choosing her to be team captain only made sence.
“What would you like me to do?” she asked. “Choose someone with less talent, weaker leadership skills?”
Shifting his gaze to a spot just left of hers, Ortega replied, “Yes. Yes I do.”
Cutting his eyes back to hers he raised his hand to stop what she was about to say. “I know. It will more than likely mean losing the state championship and possibly losing levy funding. But the parents who are speaking out the loudest are those whose political positions decide who gets elected to city and state council and who doesn’t. If we lose them, we’ll likely lose more than just funding for sports.”
The conversation had gone on for another ten minutes, but the bottom line was, instead of making Suzanne team captain, and assuring them of a better than eighty percent chance that they would win this year’s finals, Karen was going to have to pick someone with neither the skill nor the talent to lead their team.
And she had already been told who that person was to be.
Neither Suzanne nor Jordann are aware of the turmoil in their teacher’s heart, or that they are about to be faced with a choice that will alter both of their lives. All they know is that they each have a need to be recognized and appreciated for who they are, and that need has always elicited the same response.
For Suzanne it is to be the center of attention and the first person chosen for every team captain and class president. For Jordann it is to be passed over, looked through and never seen for the gifted person that she is.
Both need to be loved. Both long to experience what it feels like to be favored and adored. One will find her needs met, the other will not.
From the moment we take our first breath until the last, the human heart will always long for the love and affection of others. We hear it in the cry of a newborn baby, see it in the eyes and outstretched arms of a young child, sense it in the longing of a teenager’s heart, and feel it in the day- to- day pursuits of men and woman.
You may have been a Suzanne or you may have been a Jordann. Yet even though one seemed to have it all while the other one didn’t, both types of girls had the same secret cry of the heart, “Choose me!”
The good news is that the Father of love has already chosen you to be His special treasure, the apple of His eye and the one He adores. When Moses was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt and across the desert the Father said, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” Exodus 19:5 NKJ
It is part of your DNA to want to feel special, to be seen and loved for who are. Abba made you that way so that He could be the one who fulfills all those longings in your heart. It gives Him immeasurable pleasure to be the one who meets your deepest need and wish for love.
1. Find a quiet place without distractions (this would be a good time to play soaking music) and spend a few minutes thanking the Father of Love for sending the Son of His love Jesus to pay the penalty for every sin, adopting you into His family of love and wanting to bring you into an encounter with His love.
2. When you feel like your mind is quieted down, think about when you were growing up. What kind of childhood did you have? Were your parents nurturing, did they demonstrate their feelings to you easily? Or maybe they were quiet and found it difficult to express themselves. Maybe one or both were absent and so you didn’t have an opportunity to know what having them express or prove their love to you was like.
Ask Holy Spirit to help you isolate one event that had a strong impression on you. Maybe you were overlooked and you felt left out and invisible. Maybe you were like Suzanne but suddenly one day someone else got picked instead of you. Whatever it was, once you have a picture or strong memory, ask Jesus to come and stand in that feeling with you and show you how much your Abba Father loved and adored you right then. Ask Him to help your experience what being loved without measure feels like.
3. You might like to write down any thoughts or feelings you had. Often when we begin the journey of experiencing our hearts being healed of painful memories it can open the way for other painful events to be healed as well. It might be helpful to be able to go back later and read and mediate on what happened and the feelings of peace, or joy, or love you had.