Today’s Musing is from Marlene McKenna.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. —Psalm 17:6-9 NIV

Recently, I told a vendor I was disappointed. My purpose in using that word was to motivate her to action. “Let’s see if we can’t get it sooner,” I thought she’d reply, “We can’t have a disappointed customer.” But she didn’t say that. Instead, she said, “We are all disappointed.” Then, she told me how hard things were for her.

Unfortunately, I can relate to this reaction. Why? Because the statement, “I am disappointed,” implies that you have failed; you don’t measure up; you’re bad at your job; you’re unacceptable. That’s how I felt for the first 40 years of my life!

Of course, what I meant to convey was less nefarious. Perhaps if I had said, “The service wasn’t what we were promised,” or “the product quality wasn’t what we expected,” the reaction might have been different. But many people internalize disappointment as an attack on their character—or even their identity. I know I did. Subconsciously, I thought, “I am a loser, and her disappointment proves it. Of course, that’s too painful to absorb so the shield goes up and our blackbelt skills in deflection go into overdrive. Hiya! Take that! We’ll/I’ll do just about anything to get that finger pointed in another direction. Deep down we are all afraid that we are a disappointment, so fear motivates our actions and reactions to real or perceived criticism.

Unfortunately, this isn’t isolated to relationships with people. Have you ever felt like God was disappointed in you? Even after reading His encouraging words, doubt lingers like the bad guy in a B movie, hissing, “You don’t really think that applies to you, do you?” For many years, I didn’t think all God’s promises applied to me. “My beloved” was a pet name for uber-Christians, not for me. Instead, in my mind, I had to earn God’s approval. I would ask myself, “Am I doing it right? Am I doing enough? Is God pleased with me?” This cycle repeated over and over, even though I knew the promises of God. It was like looking into a beautiful mirror with negative messages written all over it. What I saw was not based on reality, but it became who I believed I was. I thought, “Perhaps, if I just work a little harder, I’d look better?” Every day the focus was on me and my standing with God—not on God Himself. Then I read Psalm 17:7-8

Show me the wonders of your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings!

This is the heart cry of a child who knows he/she is loved by the Father! But it was the phrase “keep me” that made me realize: I already am the apple of His eye! Only He could keep me. I could do nothing, because Jesus has done it all! His great love is wonderful, whether I believe it or not. He protects me, gives me refuge, and loves me because I am His child, not because I earned an “A” in Christianity. Mercifully, the pattern completely shifts when we listen to God’s Word and allow Him to define us—when we trust Him with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
—Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV

Lord, please help me to see myself as the apple of Your eye. Open my heart to receive Your words of encouragement and admonition as a love letter from a good Father. Help me trust that You mean what You say and help me understand that You are never disappointed in me.

Marlene is a wife, mom, and empty nester. Her passion is writing, but she also enjoys golf, travel, and walks on the beach. She loves teaching a discipleship class and longs for all her sisters-in-the-Lord to find freedom in Christ.

God is gracious,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Candie Remick
    October 11, 2021 1:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Marlene. It has taken me
    a long time to come to the realization that I am special
    to God and that He loves me unconditionally, despite my
    flaws and inadequacies. I am so thankful to be a child of God
    and the recipient of such a great love.


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