I want you to meet a dear friend of mine – Punchinello the Wemmick. Yes, that’s his name, and a Wemmick is a person made of wood, kind of like Pinnochio. But Punchinello has a problem. He is not what the other Wemmicks would consider a good Wemmick. He’s not the prettiest Wemmick, and he’s a bit clumsy it seems. And, in a town where the inhabitants walk around all day giving gold stars and grey dots, this doesn’t bode well for Punchinello. Since he wasn’t quite the best Wemmick, it earned him A LOT of grey dots. I mean, he was covered in grey dots from all the other Wemmicks who looked down on him because he didn’t fit THEIR definition of a Good Wemmick. Poor Punchinello felt that he was beyond all hope… until he met Lucia. She was different from all the other Wemmicks in that she didn’t have any gold stars or grey dots on her. None. And when Punchinello questioned her about why that was, her response was that she spent time every day with Eli, the woodcarver who made the Wemmicks who lived in that little town. When Punchinello further inquired as to why she did this, she encouraged him to go see Eli for himself. Everything in Punchinello told him that Eli wouldn’t want to see him because of all his flaws and the fact that he was covered in grey dots. But what he found out when he mustered up the courage to climb the hill to Eli’s cottage was quite the opposite. Watch and see what happened…
“Punchinello?” The voice was deep and strong. Punchinello stopped. “Punchinello! How good to see you. Come and let me have a look at you.”
Punchinello turned slowly and looked at the large bearded craftsman. “You know my name?” the little Wemmick asked.
“Of course I do. I made you.” Eli stooped down and picked him up and set him on the bench.
“Hmm,” the maker spoke thoughtfully as he inspected the gray circles. “Looks like you’ve been given some bad marks.”
“I didn’t mean to, Eli. I really tried hard.”
“Oh, you don’t have to defend yourself to me, child. I don’t care what the other Wemmicks think.”
“No, and you shouldn’t either. Who are they to give stars or dots? They’re Wemmicks just like you. What they think doesn’t matter, Punchinello. All that matters is what I think. And I think you are pretty special.”
Punchinello laughed. “Me, special? Why? I can’t walk fast. I can’t jump. My paint is peeling.
Why do I matter to you?”
Eli looked at Punchinello, put his hands on those small wooden shoulders, and spoke very slowly. “Because you’re mine. That’s why you matter to me.”
Punchinello had never had anyone look at him like this – much less his maker. He didn’t know what to say.
“Every day I’ve been hoping you’d come,” Eli explained.
“I came because I met someone who had no marks.”
“I know. She told me about you.”
“Why don’t the stickers stay on her?”
“Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them.”
“The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about the stickers.”
“I’m not sure I understand.”
“You will, but it will take time. You’ve got a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me every day and let me remind you how much I care.” Eli lifted Punchinello off the bench and set him on the ground. “Remember,” Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door. “You are special because I made you. And I don’t make mistakes.” Punchinello didn’t stop, but in his heart he thought, “I think he really means it.” And when he did, a dot fell to the ground.
The first time I heard “You Are Special” by Max Lucado, I instantly identified with Punchinello. But, then again, don’t we all? In a world and society where everyone wants to put you in a a category, to stamp you with a label that dictates who you are and what you are worth in this world, it’s really hard to not let the gold stars and grey dots of this life stick to our souls. As much as we would like to say that we are tough and that we have thick skin, it makes no difference. Unless we take the time to go to our Maker and let Him tell us how special we are to Him. Because the reality is that He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of you, and neither should you.
A few years back, I attended a multicultural student leadership conference, and one of the speakers at the conference spoke about something that I will never forget. It was one simple question: “What is your noun?” The question was really about who you see when you look in the mirror, how you define that person that you see reflected back to you. Is she a woman? Is she an African American, a Caucasian, a Latina, an Asian? Is she tall or short? Is she beautiful or ugly? Is she a professional? What is that first thing, that first noun that comes to mind when you look at yourself in your mirror? I had to think about that. Over the years that noun has evolved, but I can tell you one thing for certain. I decided, from that moment on, that I would speak life to the woman that I saw in the mirror every day, and I would teach her to see a daughter of the King, created in His image and likeness.
Beloved, there are so many voices around us trying to tell us who we are, who they think we ought to be. But they are not our Creator. Only our Creator can truly tell us who we are and who He created us to be. David proclaimed that he was thankful for being fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139.14). That is what we ought to see when we look at our reflection – someone fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of our Creator, someone who loves us endlessly and unconditionally. And the only way the labels of this world will begin to fall off of our souls, is if we take the time to climb the hill and step into the cottage of our Maker, and let Him remind us of how special we are to Him. Your past doesn’t have to define you. Your mistakes don’t have to define you. Your life choices up to this point do not have to define who you are destined to become in the future. No one and nothing but your Maker can really tell you how valuable and priceless and magnificent you are. You possess profound power within you, simply because you were created with it already built into your being! But the only way you are going to tap into that boundless power is to spent time talking to the Source of that power, the One who created you with purpose, on purpose, and for a purpose.
Singer Matthew West wrote a song called, “Hello My Name Is.” It’s a dialogue between a person and the things that try to label them and hold them back from living an abundantly free and beautiful life, things like regret, defeat, and shame. But then he says this:
I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life
And then he goes on to declare:
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
Now that’s an awesome change of self-perspective! That’s what happens when you take time to talk to the Maker and let Him remind you of who He created you to be! We don’t have to live in the shadows of our past mistakes, or even the opinions and expectations of people who haven’t the faintest clue or couldn’t care less about our true purpose and destiny. Go back to the One who loves you, who created you to be the mirror image of the Divine. Take time to talk with Him and spend time with Him, and watch the gold stars and grey dots of life fall off as they matter less and less to you in view of a Maker and Creator who loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3.) Because YOU ARE SPECIAL.