Sayang (sah-yang). In bahasa Indonesia, it’s a term of endearment.
Calling someone “sayang” is equivalent to calling them “dear”, “darling, or “beloved”. It can also mean “too bad”, “what a waste”, or “pity” when further translated from Indonesian or Tagalog (the language of the Philippines).
I remember my dad would call us sayang. Or when I didn’t finish my food and it needed to be thrown away, my mom would say, “ah, sayang nak” (nak = child).
You know what will always be sayang? Our children. And I mean that using both of its translations.
We easily believe that children are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and the truth is that they are, yet we forget this truth about ourselves.
It becomes buried deep under a calloused heart after experiencing failures, setbacks, heartbreak, comparison, and the pressures that come with entering adulthood. AKA, the inevitable of life. And the truth is, our beloved children will experience those things as well. We begin to believe one of the enemy’s #1 lies – that we aren’t good enough. So as we tell children that they’re unique and capable, too many of us live a life that has outgrown that. I know that sometimes I have.
Let’s take a few steps back. What does it even mean that we are made “fearfully”? I used to be so confused by this.
The OG Bible was written in Biblical Hebrew. In Hebrew, fearfully translates to “with great reverence, heart-felt interest and with respect.” We are created in that manner. Our human anatomy and physiology are intricate, complicated, and capable. Our minds and heart were developed in such a way to feel deeply, create, and carry out compassion. We matter, have purpose, and are loved more than we know. Aren’t these things we tell children? They grow up believing this so they also believe in themselves. They are confident and fearless. They are powerful. They are resilient. They are our sayang and they identify themselves by this.
We are also made “wonderfully”. Meaning that there was no accident in God’s purposeful design of you, whether you deny that you have a purpose or not. You are set apart and irreplaceable. There is seriously and literally no one else like you and no one else has the same purpose God has set aside for you.
But, how well will our kids be able to grow up retaining and believing this if we, as their parent or caretaker whom they look up to, don’t accept this truth enough to live like it? Many of us choose to not believe it; that it’s as falsely assuring as a Disney movie. Gosh, how sayang it is that we forget our great and freeing identity in the One who has created us, who sees us as His sayang, His children.
How would our days be like if we always started them with self-love? How would our interactions be like if we knew our worth before searching for it in others? How much of a better mother would I be to my son if I found my confidence in the truth that I have been made to be capable and extraordinary? How much stronger would our resilience be? How much more gratitude for myself is it going to take for me to finally be able to give freely and wholly to the ones I desire to give freely and wholly to without feeling empty in the end?
Personally, maybe, if I begin to look at myself in the same perspective my son looks at me, then possibly I will finally see that I am fearfully and wonderfully made – just as much as I see that in him.
We want our children to grow up knowing that because God created them this way, in the likeness of His image, the world cannot overcome them (because He has already overcome the world – John 16:33).
Honestly, I’m sharing this with myself as much as I am sharing it with you because believing that I am good enough and more is something I struggle with. So whether you have accepted and surrendered to Jesus or not, I want you to know that you are immeasurably valued and admired in the eyes of God. I’m learning so much. And I’m learning that I no longer hold an infant whose trust I need to earn. Instead, I run after a growing individual who needs to be shown that he is competent and significant in world with billions of people.
Don’t let it go to waste. It is sayang. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, it seems so mundane. Yet it is a virtue that goes unrecognized.
Thanks for reading and lots of love always,