Updated: Nov 6
A grasshopper lived together with his other grasshopper relatives and friends. This grasshopper knew that he was different from the others, not because he looked different, flew differently, or chirped differently. He was different because he didn’t identify as a Grasshopper. It’s the year 2023, so you know when I say he didn’t identify as a grasshopper you can already understand that what he was and the way he perceived himself, did not align.
This grasshopper felt braver and stronger than his kind and often wondered why they didn’t see it in themselves as well. The problem was that his friends suffered from a common ailment of their species called the grasshopper syndrome. It caused them to only see themselves as merely jointed appendages, ringlike segments, exoskeletal, six-legged, grasshoppers.
The great grasshopper, however, was not delusional; he knew that he was a grasshopper, but in his mind and heart, he was more.
Twelve representatives of the tribes of Israel were asked by their leader Moses to spy out the land of Canaan which the Lord promised they would occupy and which was flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13). They came back with a report of abundance in the land, however, they went on to report that the cities were fortified and that the descendants of Anak who lived there were big and strong.
Despite Caleb’s confident clarion call to invade and seize the land, the others were not as zealous. In fact, the other men were terrified. They warned Moses that they saw giants and went on to say, “we were like grasshoppers in our own sight” and that the giants perceived them as grasshoppers as well (verse 33).
I cannot lie, I often identify with the Israelites. If you are honest and have ever been in a big enough room, with enough powerful or influential people, or highly esteemed experts, then you probably had your own dose of the grasshopper syndrome.
To me, this syndrome is beyond imposter syndrome, because it is not about your ability and what you can or can’t do, it is a crisis of identity confusion, the war between who you are created to be and how you perceive yourself.
In chatting with my husband, he gave me this unique perspective … I don’t believe the Israelites were wrong for seeing themselves as grasshoppers or that they were wrong about the giants seeing them as grasshoppers. The problem with the grasshopper syndrome is that regardless of who you are by nature, your connections or lack thereof in the big rooms, what should matter more to you and should have mattered more to the Israelites is how God saw them.
If you feel like a grasshopper but God sent you into a room with giants, then you better believe that God sees and knows that there is a giant in you.
When Daniel walked into the lion’s den, he was walking into a room of his kind because there was a lion in him and the giant that was in front of David, was no match for the giant that was inside him. They both knew who they were because they saw themselves as God saw them.
Amid his grasshopper clan, Caleb saw himself as greater. He was greater than what others saw in him, and He was sure that the One who truly saw him, gave him the heart of a giant.
It takes giants to see fortified walls, glass ceilings, and unchartered territories and say, ‘I am going to invade it anyway’. Let them look on and say who is this grasshopper stepping onto stages and into rooms reserved for giants? Tell yourself, “I am more than able!”
The greatness in Caleb was in his mind’s eye. He was more than what his environment dictated, more than the contrived narrative of others, and bigger than the giants of fear, insufficiency, and trauma.
God told Moses to send spies to the Land which He promised to give them, but along the journey, the Israelites must have forgotten what God said because most of them came back defeated before a fight even began. They lost the battle in their mind about who they were and what they were capable of in God.
Many of us are quick to identify as grasshoppers in the face of our perceived giants just so that we can excuse and justify giving up on accomplishing our dreams or not even trying in the first place.
The worst part is that it is always the ones whom God has called to be giants who see themselves as grasshoppers. Verse 2 of Numbers 13 says, “from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them”. Yet, those who He saw as valiant, trendsetting, ground-breaking leaders, looked at themselves and saw grasshoppers.
Our mind's volatile self-perception is more natural than we think so whenever I have those grasshopper moments, to keep my thoughts in line with who God says I am, I take refuge in His Word so that I can be saturated by His truth about me.
How God sees you will eternally trump the way others see you or how you perceive yourself.
Please know that He sees you as strong, He sees you as capable, victorious, influential, prosperous, and bearing every characteristic of the Christ who lives in you.
You are not a grasshopper; you are a GIANT… now start acting like it!
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