A few nights ago, I had this crazy dream…
It began on a Sunday morning at church, the final worship song had escorted the crowd of people out of the sanctuary. Like everyone else, I made my way into the lobby to go pick up my kids and chat with friends. I remember I stopping in the lobby, lost in my own world, thinking about my struggles and how to apply the sermon I just heard. But finally I looked up and saw a couple next to me staring off into space. Their shoulders were stooped almost like they were looking for a lost ring on the ground, except they weren’t searching the floor. They were just staring blankly at the ground, not saying a word.
I turned to them and said, “Excuse me. May I ask what’s on your mind?” And the man stumbled out in reply, “I don’t know…I feel like what was spoken in there just now was good, but it held no power…I’m struggling and bound up with many sins and the speaker’s words didn’t share with me anything liberating. I’m still bound. I feel like the setting was just a runway for their words, as a way to show off their beauty and talent. But it held no power to set me free from what binds me.”
And they both hung their head even lower and walked out of the building.
Then I woke up.
Wow. Just a runway for words, but holding no power to set people free.
A few weekends ago I attended a ladies conference where Christine Caine spoke. Something she said rang in my ears after this dream – “People are coming to church bound, hearing eloquently executed words and then they walk out and they’re still bound.”
She talked about how we use our gifts to draw a crowd, how they make flashy brochures which fill the seats, but the gift of speaking isn’t what changes people. The Spirit of God speaking through that person is what changes people. It’s not by might, nor by power, but by MY Spirit, says the Lord. (You can listen below, it’s only a minute and a half long and may even be sideways!)
Sometimes it seems that our culture today is so wrapped up in producing Hollywood style content hoping to be seen and recognized for the talent we have that we forget God doesn’t look at the outward appearance.
God told Samuel that He had rejected David’s brothers as king. He said, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature…for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
I mean I feel it in the blogging/writing world! I’ve seen it divide my heart. For what started with a desire to share the things the Lord put on my heart turned into wanting to share things so other people would want to share them. So I can build a platform. So I can be noticed. So I can gain a following and one day have a book deal. Because people have said I have a gift.
One day I caught myself praying in church that God would show me how I can build a bigger email following. What series can I start Lord that people will read? I prayed. Immediately the desire of His heart impressed upon mine and I knew my answer…Make followers of Me.
Man, how did I stray so far? How did this become about making a name for me? It’s crazy how a little shift in perspective and purpose can dilute the whole batch of whatever we’re working at.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own affairs and forget there’s a whole world out there full of hurting people in bondage to sin who need to hear the message of salvation and be free.
Sharing that message doesn’t hinge on flashy externals.
God’s chosen us to do that! People want to see, hear, taste and smell God’s love for them, and He’s chosen to put that message in a broken clay pot in the form of an imperfect Christian so that His light will shine brightly through us.
When we’re focused on the me, it becomes about the outward appearance – the clean look, perfect pose, catchy title, well filtered picture. But it’s just a runway for our words to go down. And in the end there’s no transformation, it was just a fashion show.
On one hand I wish I had life together and everything figured out. A clean house with a place for everything and everything in its place. But then I think, what fun would that be? It’s in life’s messes I watch my Creator make a masterpiece. He takes my spilled paint, torn fabric and frayed strings of life and weaves in His Redemption and Love and makes it something beautiful. His creativity inspires me to be creative. So watch your step! And thanks for joining me on this messy, creative adventure of life.