Before I continue let me say something. There is truth in the adage, "It takes one to know one." I know this is true because I have been in that place. I have been the one to stand up and say, "good evening, ladies, it is an honor to be here with you. I am a (singer, writer, worship leader, mom, wife, aspiring speaker) and so my question for you is how do I ___________ to get myself on stage and share my talents with the world?"
NOTE: I did NOT - EVER - say it like that. It would be couched with Christian friendly phrases like, "I sense God's call to share my talents to glorify His Kingdom, but I'm wondering how to overcome....." The enemy wouldn't have us be so bold in front of humble servants of Christ with our self-centeredness, would he? NO! He wants us to come off as a humble, expectant and simply curious person.
But I did say it. I would give my resume' before I asked a question. I would share my dream before I asked how they accomplished theirs. I would tell them all the great and wonderful things about me then say I was terrified and didn't know how to get past that fear. "Is there a secret, ladies? You're on stage, and I'm not, so obviously you know the secret and I need to know it because I want to be on stage, too."
I must give Natalie and Charlotte praise here - just as Jesus dealt fairly yet firmly with the Pharisees in His compassionate frustration, those two crazy blondes spoke with friendliness and firmness in what they had to say. With the first resume' given they simply answered the question. However, as the questions continued and it seemed like each new questioner needed to one-up the last, the answers became bolder and clearer that the real problem was not the issue asked about, but the heart. The heart of the person asking "why am I no longer getting asked to speak?" "what do I do with the fear that seems to hold me back?" "how do I do what I do better so God will notice and I will be famous like you?" (that last one was asked in a very different way, but....) was the real problem.
If the heart lacks wisdom we need to ask GOD Who will give it generously without condemnation. (James 1:5 paraphrase mine)
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey His commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise Him forever! (Proverbs 3:7)
It's a heart problem when we long to be famous "so we can share our talents for the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven."
It's a heart problem, not a fear problem, when we are afraid we won't be good enough for so-and-so, or that we won't look the way we think we should, or that we aren't funny/intelligent/as gifted as the other person so we are afraid to step out and DARE TO BE.
And like I said - I know this because I've been there. I've been that person asking the question but really just wanting to be able to say I told the-person-everyone's-heard-of who I am. I've been that person legitimately wanting to know how to get past my fear but not even realizing that, to those who have learned this hard lesson, I am simply a person who needs to get real with God and let go of the desire to BE something I'm not (yet).
AAAAAAAAAnnnnnndddd....true confessions: Charlotte's words of God's truth struck down a chain in my own heart regarding the sins that so easily entangle.
I do struggle with fear. I have lived my life within the stronghold of shame - not of what I had done, but of who I was. I have been made fun of and put down for being myself, so I've tried to fit in by being someone else. I've been there, and, although I no longer live in shame (THANK YOU, JESUS!), I still fall into the pit of comparison (which is probably why I have to write about it so much...I'm preaching to myself!).
One gal, sitting behind me, asked the question I would have asked, but she asked it much more beautifully than I could have. "How do you deal with the insecurity and stage fright that comes from being a worship leader?"
Natalie's answer was a balm to my soul. I'll paraphrase, but basically, she said she has learned to celebrate the fear because if she's not nervous or doesn't have a bit of stage fright then, to her, it means she's gotten to the place where "she's got this" and she isn't going to fully rely on God to show up and do what He does. If we really want God to be glorified, we need to be uncomfortable in our own skin so we don't pat ourselves on the back when things go right.
Charlotte's answer hit me right between the eyes. Again, I'll paraphrase...there is a difference in fears that we sometimes don't realize. To be afraid of something because we want God to be the center of attention and we're afraid we're going to do something to botch it up is a godly fear. It is a fear of the Lord. However, to be afraid we're going to look wrong, be dressed wrong, mess up somehow or not 'do it right' is a fear of man and we need to confess that and deal with it.
I fight within myself the fear of man.
I know I'm not alone in that ring. I know there are many, many women who have those boxing gloves made of cement on their hands, too.
So ladies, instead of trying to be better than the next gal why don't we learn to celebrate the fact that God created us to work together? Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill stood on either side of a woman from our local community and spoke truth - we are sisters in Christ, we will spend eternity with each other, let's celebrate and honor one another instead of pull each other down and pump ourselves up.
is there someone you'd like to honor today? Please share it in the comments so we can all honor them, too.
Go today, ladies, and spur one another on to outbursts of love and good deeds!!
(and I'm praying right now that if no one even responds to this that it just won't matter...Lord, I write because You're asking me to write. I surrender and ask forgiveness for my desire to be honored and lifted up for who I am instead of WHOSE I am. May You do whatever it is you want to do with this blog...and may I remain faithful to Your Word no matter the number of people reading.)