The Grasshopper Syndrome

Susan Narjala   |   February 12, 2015 


We’ve all been there. That uncomfortable, sometimes even threatening place, where we feel insignificant, insecure and downright invisible. Maybe it’s an interview for a job where you feel underqualified. Maybe it’s as innocuous as a party where you don’t know a soul and everyone else looks like they stepped off Page 3 of the local daily.

I’m calling it the “grasshopper syndrome” - a phrase inspired from way, way back. Think the Old Testament.

Remember when Moses sent out a recon team to scope out the Promised Land? Twelve buff dudes went out super confident – after all God had pretty much promised to give them the Promised Land (no kidding). Ten of them returned completely out of their element and scared out of their wits.

They reported in Numbers 13:32-33, “Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

We can be quick to point fingers at them. (I mean, guys, didn’t you see God leading you in a pillar of cloud and fire, and witness quail and manna fall from heaven? Hell-oo . . . it’s about time you trusted God’s promise.)

But how often do we fall into the same trap ourselves?

We focus on our own inadequacies and measure ourselves against the “giants” of the world. We embrace our grasshopper status in a heartbeat.

And it leaves us paralyzed. Fear comes knocking at our door - and we set up a lavish buffet table for her.

But what if we saw fear as an opportunity? Because without stepping out into the fearful unknown, there’s no opportunity to trust God.

Christian author Ann Voskamp says, "Everything your Father has for you — is over the fence of fear."

So, what does it take to leap over the fence of fear?

Knowing Who We Are

No, we’re not invincible. (At at barely 5 foot high – on a good day, with high heels - I, for one, am no pole vaulter or fence leaper.) In fact, we’re vulnerable. But, there’s beauty in vulnerability when it draws us to God.

Our vulnerability, I believe, is one of the ways  women tend to be more in sync with God – we recognize our deep-seated need for Him. We resonate with Paul’s words in Corinthians, “In my weakness, Your strength is made perfect.”

When we know our identity as one created by Him for His glory, as beautiful inside and out, as a new creation in Christ, it gives us the freedom to jump over fences and leap over walls.

And there’s nothing grasshopper about that.

Knowing How God Sees Me

The ten fearful men in Numbers also reported, “And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers” (Numbers 13:33, emphasis added).

They became fearful when they stopped to consider how the descendants of Anak viewed them.

We would never do that, would we? Of course, no one in today’s world feels measured by what others think of them. Definitely not in the age of social media where ‘Likes’ equal self-worth. Ha!

Outward appearances, a number on a weighing scale, bank accounts and degrees – sure, the world may rate us on those parameters. But God never uses those standards. When our focus shifts from what others think of us to how God sees us, our fear dissipates.

Because, with God, it’s never about what we can do; it’s all about what He has already accomplished.

When the Father sees us through the veil of Christ’s blood, we are blameless, we’re His treasured possession, His beloved, His bride. Sure, we’re also a work in progress, but we’re His work in progress.

He created us to stand out, no matter how insignificant the world may tell us we are. Like Caleb and Joshua, the two men who stood strong among the twelve, we too can say,

“If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land . . . ” (Numbers 14:8-9).


Photo Credit:  Colton Kats via Flickr cc

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog,

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2 comments on “The Grasshopper Syndrome”

  1. I recently went for a wedding, where I felt like a "grasshopper"! This is so encouraging. Blessed to know how God uses my own vulnerabilities to draw me closer to Him.

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