Selfishness has been a frienemy of mine.
I serve the King and then start to think the applause belongs to me. Even when I am excited about His kingdom, I start to pick up the bricks and mortar to build my own. I often bow for the accolades when I should be giving it. Twisted up in delusions of grandeur, I think the show is all about me. Sometimes I even go so far as to think without me, there is no show.
I had lost my love for writing. I was over it. The numbers were not adding up and in order to be a successful blogger I am supposed to “add up.” Right? I would literally pour my heart and soul into posts and just feel empty. Stalking other bloggers would reveal their “tribe” was growing. It’s like they were grilling filets and I had the cheap hotdogs. It is hard not to feel discouraged when other woman are doing what you are doing but they are doing it better – much better. They have the numbers, the retweets, and the subscribers. I have always hated math! Anytime I start messing with numbers my pits sweat. I started tallying the numbers of my life trying to figure out if I “add up.” I never do. Life isn’t about building ourselves bigger and better.
Here is some truth to build your life on.
You don’t have to rock. Jesus is the Rock.
Instead of evaluating myself based upon my “stellar” performance or comparing myself to the performance of others, I can give thanks for other women sharing their story – sharing His story. I can “like” and encourage other writers work because I am cheering on His Kingdom, not my own.
Are we afraid to champion other women because somehow it signifies that our work for the Lord is not as significant? Are we afraid to add to their numbers? How would our life look if we cared less about building our own kingdom and more about His?
I am back to writing and over numbers, at least for now. Then I will probably only do it again, and then I will repent again . . . and again, until I see heaven.
Berly, is the kind of friend I love hanging out with you know, the jacked up, hot mess, looking crazy in farm animal print pajama pants kind of friend. The friend that doesn’t get mad cause you called her a hot mess because she knows she needs Jesus. The friends that will hunt you down when you are being shady, letting it all hang out for the glory of God.
A few years older than I, Berly was proclaiming the greatness of her 40s. She explains it’s the best ever and that she feels more secure in her own skin. As she is speaking, I am thinking, “blah blah blah . . . whatever,” and my eyes drift off to a family collage behind her head where there is a picture of her rocking a bikini. I of course had to make a comment. “Dang!!! I would want those abs in a frame too. You should feel secure in that skin!”
The first time I met Berly at church, she asked me if she became a “Baptist,” would she have to wear a “Baptist” bikini. I love questions like this. “Well, it’s not in our church constitution and I am not sure if they make those?!??”
Berly no longer sports bikinis and according to her, nor is she is sporting the same bikini body (though I think she still has it).
Two hot messes, discussing insecurities and the temptation that exists for women to compare ourselves to those who rock it and let it all hang out!
We conclude that when others have their awesomeness on display, they are putting on boxing gloves and challenging us to duke it out. “Work harder, be better, be the rock star. Come on, show us what you have!”
There are always going to be people seeking to display their greatness (whether externally or internally) in hopes of being noticed. We all just want to be known.
Comparing ourselves with others will always lead to chocking down condemnation.
Ahh, Summer. The heat is on. The time where clothes come off and insecurities come out.
My husband and I recently got back from a pastors’ retreat in Destin, Florida with the Sojourn Network.
I am confident in Christ . . . until I see someone who looks better (which happened much of our week on the beach). I’m just glad it wasn’t Spring Break week.
“You! The Hawaiian tropic model, sprawled out on the beach, massaging lotion all over your tiny frame as you eat a 12-inch Philly cheese steak – that is just rude!”
I just thank God my sister-in-law bought me a sarong for Christmas. Now I can cover my backside, which keeps “rockin” back and forth, even when I’m not in motion.
Other than that (or “those,” I should say), I’m not rockin much these days. Actually, I never really did. I just lived in a delusion that was my own special bubble. In his kindness, God blessed me with many pins for popping it.
Walking through waves, my husband and I were discussed our excitement about the Sojourn Network – new church plants and the evidence of God’s kingdom growing. Our souls were rested. Then, we started to compare our ministry to others. We felt our souls ache because in the midst of being excited for the kingdom, insecurity (and jealousy) can grow. We can so easily look at grass that appears to be greener and long for other stories – stories seemingly more glamorous than ours. In this state of mind, we’re not championing the Gospel-story, we’re championing our own story.
When we start listening to other peoples’ jam, everyone else becomes a rock star and we are just playing an air guitar! Is our ministry lame? Does our work matter? Everyone around us seems to look bigger and better. They shine so much brighter.
Looking up at the sky, star gazing. Counting Stars. Big stars. Rock Stars.
With calculators out, we start to measure the sum of our lives. But can numbers really give meaning? Numbers don’t add up and being big cannot bring contentment. So often we keep score to see who is winning but the only equation that matters in this life is: Jesus plus nothing equals everything (to use Tullian Tchividjian’s language).
Thankfully we are part of a network that teaches that the only thing we are rockin’ is sin, and that’s why we need Jesus, whose grace rocks even louder.
The whole world is exhaustingly fighting for attention and Christ says, “Rest here.” Strivings cease at the cross. Is it ok to be small, even when the world says go big or go home.
Even though it’s probably inadvertent, it seems like we have created a celebrity-like culture inside of the church. We’ve rolled out the red carpet, placing Christians into categories of Good, Better, and Best.
Good Christians – the faithful church goers, Bible-readers, help out in the church nursery.
Better – Pastors, teachers, missionaries.
Best – The rock star Christian with calendars full of speaking engagements, hundreds of retweets, best-selling books, devotionals, and conferences with the face on the cover.
Either way, I am so thankful for the men and women whom the Lord has uniquely used in my life: the Ann Voskamps, John Pipers, and Beth Moores. I have been encouraged by so many blogs, sermons, and podcasts. I thank God for their humility in the spotlight.
There are no rock star Christians.
The title of “rock star” was nailed with Jesus to the cross. The day when we rocked it the most . . . even that day was nailed to the cross. Only Jesus can boast the name that is above all names because He played His entire life in in the key of perfection. There is only one kind of Christian – a needy one – just as needy today as the day we first believed.
Jesus rocked it so we can stop ramping up our amps for the big show. People don’t need to hear our jam. There is only one Jam worth turning up and the Father sings it over His children.
Let’s pull out the headphones and stop playing that track – you know the one – telling us to work harder, prove ourselves, be bigger, better, stand out, shine bright!
Listen to the voice of the Father who is singing over you. Do you hear it? He is singing, “It is finished.” You can be small because He is great.
The Lord sees you. When we truly understand we have His attention our hearts can stop reaching for the spotlight. He sees you and the affirmation that you are longing for is found at the cross where He stretched out His arms. He proclaims in Christ, “My love for you is this big. You are free to be small.”
Standing with my feet on the ground, gazing into the night sky, all stars seem small and when the sun comes out, they are invisible. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes all it takes is the smallest willing heart, some fish, and bread to feed thousands.