Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Salvation and Stilettos Blog

#MyVisionFast: The Lord IS with YOU!



Have you ever received a compliment that you rejected, deflected, ignored, or denied?

Think about that for a moment.  Who said it?  What did they say? When did they say it?  Where did they say it?  How did they say it?  Why do you think they said it?  How did it make you feel?  Was it true?  Did you agree?
Was it awkward?

As I reflect on today's scripture, one of the most pivotal parts of the birth story of Jesus, I cannot help but to highlight Mary's hesitation not just at her call from God to carry the Gospel but at the compliment she is given before the call.

 The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. [Luke 1:27b-29 NIV]

Did you catch that?

The angel tells Mary that she is highly favored and that the Lord is with her.  And the writer records that Mary was troubled at the angel's words.  I could understand if she was troubled by the angels' presence or by the angel speaking to her, but the text does not necessarily say that.  It says that she was "greatly troubled" at his words.

“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

What gracious words!  What high compliments! What a way to be greeted!
I read those words and I think that they sound nice.  Flattering.  Positive.  Special.  But Mary was "greatly troubled" at his words.

Why was Mary "greatly troubled" by such kind and highly complimentary words?
Why are any of us "greatly troubled" when we receive such kind and highly complimentary words?

Again, I could understand if the text said she was "greatly troubled" at the presence of the angel or by the fact that the angel was speaking in the first place, but that is not what we read here.  She was "greatly troubled" by the words.  

Perhaps she was "greatly troubled" because she did not think those words described her. Perhaps she was "greatly troubled" because she did not believe those words about herself. Perhaps she was "greatly troubled" because she did not understand what those words meant.

I am not sure why she was "greatly troubled" but I can think of times when I was, maybe not "greatly troubled," but definitely very uncomfortable with someone sharing kind and highly complimentary words with me.  Honestly, I have had to discipline myself to just say "Thank You"  because in my own mind I am thinking about all of those questions we opened  this blog with.  Now there are a few people that I know are genuinely sincere in their compliments to me.  But honestly, depending on who the words are coming from, I likely have to check in with my own self as to my comfort level with the compliment received.  Yes, I know.  I should just take the compliment and move on or just say "Thank You' and leave it right where they gave it but there are times that I do not and it feels awkward.  Yet, there are times when I know the person is being real and they are being nice and, after my quick mental assessment, I am OK with what they have shared.

Friends, today, I want to offer you a compliment.  I do not want you to be "greatly troubled" by the words that I am going to share because I believe these words are TRUE about all of you... about everyone whose mind, body and spirit, like Mary, is ready to receive an amazing gift from God.  I say to you all...

“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

This is who YOU are as a child of the most High!  THIS is who you are!  And I honor that truth about you.  YOU are highly favored - whether you feel like it or not.  The Lord is with YOU - whether you feel like it or not.  Will you receive those words about yourself?  If not, why?  I cannot answer that question.  It is not a question for me to answer.  It is a truth that I hope that you grow to accept about yourself so that YOU can transform your mind about how you see yourself and about how you move forward in the things that God is calling for you to do.  This compliment speaks to your identity, your value, and even your character as a son or daughter of the Almighty and I hope that YOU would embrace it.  For YOU are highly favored and the Lord is with YOU.

Friends, what will it take for you to own these words as your own?  What will it take for you not to be "greatly troubled" at these words?  What will it take for you to just say "THANK YOU, LORD" for thinking of me in this way?

BlogFam, YOU are highly favored and the Lord is with YOU.  And just like Mary, there is a special and unique call on your life that will make a tremendous impact on the Kingdom of God so just say "THANK YOU" and “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.”

God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!

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