I suspect most everyone at some point in their lives has or will suffer from a grasshopper complex: feeling that everyone else is bigger, better, or more important than you. No matter what you call it – low self-esteem, insecurity, timidity, lack of confidence – the root of a grasshopper complex is our failure to trust God. Ten of the twelve men Moses sent in to spy out the land of Canaan (in preparation for the Israelites going forth to claim the land God had promised them) suffered from a grasshopper complex. Ultimately their lack of faith infected the entire camp.
When they (the twelve spies) returned from spying out the land at the end of forty days, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel . . . and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Thus they told him and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak (giants) there. We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us. There also we saw the Nephilim (giants); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:25-28, 31, 33
How about it? Ever been there? Have you ever set out on a God-ordained mission or assignment only to come up short because you succumbed to a grasshopper mentality?
As I’ve reflected on those occasions or seasons in my life when I’ve given myself over to a grasshopper mentality, I’ve realized my failures have been as a result of taking my eyes off God and placing them on:
1) myself: my own weaknesses and shortcomings;
2) on others: allowing my own perception or someone else’s self-proclaimed perception of their importance or abilities to overshadow my personal importance or abilities;
3) circumstances: too many obstacles or difficulties to overcome.
Journey with me for a moment as we look at what God’s word says about our tendencies toward becoming entangled in a grasshopper complex.
First of all, God never said we were to accomplish His plans and purposes in our own strength. In fact, scripture tells us the exact opposite is true.
And He (God) has said to me (Paul), “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:9-10
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith . . . Hebrews 12:1-2a
What is the common denominator in these passages of scripture? In each of these teachings we are told the secret to avoiding a grasshopper complex is keeping our eyes on Christ and depending on His power instead of focusing on our weaknesses.
What about Paul’s admonition to Timothy in II Timothy 1:7?
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
Would you not agree a spirit of timidity is similar to a grasshopper complex?
Definitions of timidity are: Lacking self-confidence; fearful and hesitant; fear of the unknown or the unfamiliar or of making decisions; fearfulness in venturing into new and unknown places or activities.
Sound familiar? “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us. There also we saw (giants); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:31, 33.
BUT God has not given us a spirit of timidity. In other words, God has not given us a grasshopper complex. If that be the case, why do we so often surrender to a spirit of timidity? Why are we often tempted to sell ourselves short? The New King James Version of the Bible translates II Timothy 1:7 this way: For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
What is the root cause of timidity? (If you’re not sure, check the definitions again.) Most cases of timidity can be traced to FEAR: fear of failure, fear of being embarrassed or shamed, fear of being laughed out or ridiculed. But if these fears are the reason for our timidity, then clearly we have our eyes focused on the wrong person or people. Yet how often have we allowed the fear of what someone else will say or think to keep us from doing what we believe God has called us to do?
In the end, will it really matter if someone else approved or disapproved of our actions? No. When all is said and done, the only One whose opinion will matter is God’s. And even if we try and fail, He will be there to pick us up, brush the dirt of our knees, and help us try again. Furthermore, if we’re afraid of being laughed at or ridiculed, as a child of God we can rest assured our heavenly Father will never be the One making sport of our efforts to use the gifts, talents and abilities He’s given us. In His eyes, our efforts will be one of His most prized possessions.
I’ll leave you with this: For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
How about it? Whose bondservant are you? Man’s or God’s. There will always be people who you’ll be unable to please or impress; men and women who are convinced they are better or more important than you (giants). Don’t let them reduce you to nothing more than a grasshopper. God has created you for much better things than that. Stand up tall, draw your shoulders back, and go forth in the confident assurance that if God has called you to it, He will see it through.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it (He will accomplish what concerns you). Psalm 37:5
This week at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow style through words and pictures: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing. Hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com
On a more personal note, our youngest granddaughter is turning ONE on March 10th.
We celebrated a week early (on March 3rd) in Alabama
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KATELYN!!