I Bet I Can Make You Smile

When you woke up this morning, what was the first thought about yourself that you had?

“The LORD your God is with you… He will take great delight in you; in his love he will… rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17, various (NIV)

When you woke up this morning, what was the first thought about yourself that you had? First thoughts to come to us when we wake are usually some evaluation of how we feel, or something we need to do. “I feel tired; I shouldn’t have stayed up so late,” “I need to get a new pillow,” or “how am I going to get everything done I need to do today?”

But then, perhaps your thoughts wander to yourself, and to the state of your life. You might be a saint who quickly moves to thanking God for the new day ahead of you, or you might be like the rest of us and think primarily about whether you actually like who you are or not.

Would it surprise you to know that, according to the Scriptures, God is present to you as you’ve been sleeping (Ps. 121:4)? That He’s not only awake when you are awake? Your Father is ever awake, ever aware, and ever watching you.

For some of us, that might make us nervous! But let’s step back, and imagine what God might be thinking when you wake up.

I imagine the moment might be similar, every morning, to the moment a baby wakes up while a parent or grandparent is watching.

“There you are! Good morning, sweetheart. I love you. Did you sleep well? It’s so good to see you, yes it is.” Then, with a kiss on the forehead, and a warm hug, the day begins.

There is nothing to be fixed. Nothing to be corrected. Only love, affection, and delight in you.

Consider the possibility that the thoughts your loving Father is having about you as you wake to each new day are not about what needs to be fixed in you, what is wrong with you, what is a problem to be dealt with in you or your life, or what is the way He is going to have to teach you to have a little more faith because you are just so darn slow to learn.

Consider that you are always delightful. You always make Him smile, and chuckle, and be so glad He made you to share life with Him. You are worth all that affection in His overflowing, all-knowing heart. You are precious. You are valuable. You. Are. Fine.

Then, as the day begins, consider that God begins to say, “Now, precious one, what can we get out of the way so that you can see yourself the way I see you? So you can like yourself, even love yourself, the way I love you? What is tangling you up, confusing you, making you afraid, causing you to hurt others without realizing it? Let’s touch those things so you can begin to enjoy the life that we have together, and with those I’ve given you to share it with.”

You are delightful to God. Jesus named you “Beautiful” before you ever combed your hair or put on your makeup. You are beloved. You are treasured. You are adored.

And that is a reason, right now, to smile. Go ahead, no one but God is looking. Smile.


Spirit of God, the smile on my face is my reminder that You absolutely adore me today. I’m so thankful that we’re in this together, because life can be very, very hard at times. Help me see myself the way You see me, and in the next few moments of my day, when my mind turns toward all that needs to be fixed in me, remind me that the goal is just to free me to be who You made me to be, and to help me live a life that brings delight to me and to others through me.


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Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.