Many years ago, I wanted to be famous. I dreamed of writing books and doing music tours, wowing the crowds. I imagined what it would be like to become a world famous doctor and invent a cure for sick children. My name was plastered on newspapers; when people spoke about me, everyone knew who it was that was being talked about.
Thankfully, I am not that person. For the most part, I do not have to deal with this judgemental, hypocritical world – when things get too much, I can hide away in my own home, knowing that most of the world has never heard of me, let alone the embarrassing and sometimes hurtful things I am capable of.
Yet my prayers have always expressed something of a desire to shine out to make God known. Thus, I have learned the hard way that glorifying God in my life does not mean lifting myself up by making myself known or desirable – even if people know me for the words I proclaim about God. In fact, more often than not, my words are counteractive in revealing God’s awesomeness.
For it is not in our abilities or greatness that God reveals His wonders. It is in our stumbling and failings, through the cracks in our broken souls that His light can shine out into the world.
Moses did not gain fame for what he said or did – his inability to speak for himself before the Pharaoh and the results of his quick-sparked anger were certainly nothing to brag about (see the book of Exodus). But in fact, God worked through these failings, and in spite of them performed His miracles in a great display of power.
This is the hardest lesson for me to learn – I am proud, insecure, feeble, week – I am nothing without something to hold me up and keep me going. And yet, even now, I am not sure I fully understand this; otherwise, I would be living a life that belongs to God alone. Not Facebook, or others’ approval. Not to my achievements or my growth in character.
Still, there is something inside me that craves acceptance from those around me, and ironically, the more I depend on these cravings, the more doubt and insecurity takes over, releasing within me anger, pain and feelings of inferiority.
My last post may read very similar to this one, but I am simply learning this same lesson from a different angle – though more painful, I can see the fruits of my prayer, and the value of how God is revealing the bad stuff in my life. He’s showing me repeatedly that I cannot seek to control my own life, but to surrender everything to Him:
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” – Luke 9:24
Over the years, God has stripped back this verse for me and revealed its layers: To begin with, I took it literally – as followers of Christ, we should value our faith in Jesus higher than we do our physical lives. Then, as I became more aware of what my parents (in particular I looked to my Mother for a role model) were sacrificing for me, I realised that it is possible to give up our lives in more ways than physically; we can give our lives in serving another person, attending to their needs over our own as a gift beautiful beyond words. Today, I have come to realise that this verse means more than choosing to live or die, or to do good for the sake of others. This verse highlights the necessity of giving up all control to God, recognising that He is in control, and realising that whatever happens, His glory will be revealed.
And so, as I face the many decisions that I must face – and they seem to be becoming increasingly more important and grown-up-like – I can be reassured that whatever happens, He is in control. Despite my deepest fears, He is in control. When those fears are fulfilled, He reveals His glory in every embarrassing moment and emotional exposure. He feels my pain and turns the situation around in unexpected, even unwanted ways at times, but even more so because He shines through the cracks and into the world and leads us all to a place of humility in which His glory shines brighter the more humble we are.
Knowing this does not mean that He wants us to fall, or that those moments will become easier to bear. But it does mean that I can look to Him with a deeper sense of wonder and trust, and regain my focus on the path that leads to Him – not on the road to fame, but on a journey that is full of adventure and exploration, where writing is joy, music an expression of praise, and helping others is simply an exact reflection of His union in perfect harmony.