One month before:
This isn’t what You want, right? They just asked because they don’t know the real me. You can move without me. You’re God.
And He said, “Trust Me.”
One week before:
What if I misspeak? What if I’m misunderstood? Who needs to hear from me anyway?
And in His grace He said, “Whoever said this is about you, kiddo? Trust Me.”
Two hours before:
OK, we’re here. You’re faithful and You made this night possible. Be with me? There’s going to be a bunch of people listening, God. People whom I respect and admire. I don’t want to move without You.
And He said, “I AM with you…always.”
5 minutes before (after all but sprinting out of an auditorium of 150+ to the nearest ladies’ room) to be alone 1 more time before:
Abba, I love that people are asking You to take care of me right now. Thank You for singing over me to quiet me with Your love. We’re in this together right now, aren’t we?
And once more He said, “It’s just Me and you, kiddo. Trust me.”
(What kind of crazy mystic actually believes that she hears from God that regularly? And God does NOT call people “kiddo” for crying out loud.)
Hmm…beg pardon, but yes ma’am, yes sir. He sure does.
This is a little of the dialogue following my being asked to talk about the passion of my heart in front of a group of gracious attendees at Night For Freedom.
Let’s talk about that night for a minute, yeah?
This is a night where a light would shine on modern-day slavery in which people would pay a registration fee to cover costs and then hear from 3 nonprofits who are fighting human trafficking here in St. Louis and in India. This is a night where we would rally around the cross of Christ and celebrate His freedom and His hope. On this night, the Pastors of my church would be putting themselves behind the Cross as they express, with all their hearts, their desire to see physical and spiritual freedom come to “the least of these”. On this night, I would see dozens of selfless volunteers spend hours laboring toward a goal with all their many gifts and talents. This is a night where the sanctuary filled with everyone from 13 year old girls to a white-haired Pastor Emeritus with a passion for change, where organizations and denominations are second and pale in comparison to the unity found in Christ being the Head of the Body. A night where a prayer room is filled with the broken-hearted and burdened…some literally prostrate before the God of freedom. A night where one of those broken was a teenage girl who would be led to Christ by her youth pastor! (Amen?!) A night where a financial goal is blown out of the water as family after family gives toward an end…an end to human trafficking in Jesus’ name.
But also a night where an introverted young lady who blushes with too much attention and whose voice shakes and breaks uncontrollably when she’s nervous….has been asked to get up on a stage and share what God has done.
And you know what happened?
was is faithful! He was is with me. I didn’t have the annoying-shakey-voice-problem. And it sure did help that the lights were so bright I couldn’t see anyone out there at all. It was just me and a friend having a conversation about things God has done with 150 of our other friends. 🙂
Ya know what came to mind as it ended and gracious people came to thank me for “my testimony”? The apostle John’s words in chapter 3…
Verses 29 and 30 read,
It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
This may have something to do with my having been a bridesmaid (count it) 15 times, but I LOVE this analogy! I loved getting to hear how God moved in the hearts of people as I got to stand by as a passive observer while He spoke to His Bride.
And goodness, gracious…the “Thank you’s“. I ran out of words by about 9pm and still had a few hours to go before I could let my hermity-internal-processor flag fly. So, how do you accept praise when you know you don’t deserve it? A friend, who often speaks truth into my life, recently told me that’s on my list of things to learn, “You’re going to have to learn how to accept praise at some point, Amanda.” (And then I may or may not have whined a little bit).
Because it feels so strange to “make much of ourselves” doesn’t it?
John Piper explains this paradox when he says that even the love of God does not serve to make much of us, but to make much of Himself.
“He did not die to make much of us, but to free us to enjoy making much of God forever.
Jesus Christ died and rose again to forgive the treason of our souls, which have turned from savoring God to savoring self. In the cross of Christ, God rescues us from the house of mirrors and leads us out to the mountains and canyons of his majesty. Nothing satisfies us – or magnifies him – more.”
:: John Piper ::
And it has been said by someone much wiser and more articulate than me…
“The human soul was not made for fame.”
:: ?Anonymous? ::
This is evident in watching someone literally stand speechless upon receiving accolades. Or when a person visibly shrinks back as they’re overwhelmed by attention and praise, like their soul were turning inside out and they weren’t quite sure how to handle it. When the bulk of the night was over, all I could do was take a deep breath, put my head down and walk straight into the arms of my dad and brother. I disappeared in them, hiding in the comfort of my smallness.
We know that this is only the normal reaction for most of us. Especially those of us ending up a very strong “I” (not a hint of “E” in this girl) on the good ol’ Myers-Briggs. Only a fool would open her arms wide, tip her head back and take it all in, a place meant only for One.
We see this looking at the famous among us; movie stars, musicians, TV personalities and even those people who are famous for being famous. They share their art (or their ability to be craycray 24/7) and we want to hear/see it, but as soon as they get too big or get too much attention, they become the subject of narrowed eyes and SNL jokes. If we can’t win, then neither can they. We do this to our athletes, our politicians and even to our professional Christians. We know better than to exalt them, but we elevate them a little higher than ordinary. We sometimes forget (or maybe never really got) that He holds all things together, all things that were created for him and through him. He is the firstborn over all creation. All. Creation.
So, I agree with “Anonymous”, our souls weren’t made for fame, but they were made to reflect the One who made us.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
:: Ephesians 3:20-21 ::