So, I was at the grocery store the other day, and I had a very small list of things to pick up, all unrelated. And then I saw a sale and picked up one extra thing. I’m in my own little world, and I put my items on the belt. The husband of the couple in front of me glances at the items, does a double take, then smiles real nervously at me and looks away. I blankly look at my items, then start chuckling. The stories that could be told from a few items! Go ahead, caption this (the white box are straws) …
This story really gripped me the other day, and I had a lot of thoughts about it. Take a few minutes and read it, so you can follow along with me (Judges 7):
So, he started off with 32,000 men, and God whittled it down to something He could work with. But as I wander along the paths of this, so many things come to mind.
Like, when God calls this “mighty man”, he’s hiding in a wine-press. There’s a potential in so many of us and when God calls it out of us, we have the choice to remain hidden, or actually do what He’s asking us to do. And sometimes, just sometimes, we have a general idea of what He wants, and we have to figure out the plan “as we go”, as it were.
And I think about the people who Gideon gathered and were later dismissed. Did Gideon mess up? Should he have waited for the direction to call out just those 300 people? Did he get ahead of what God wanted to do in gathering the people together? I was pondering on that, and actually wondered if the process is where God wanted to go, and He used this instance to take care of a whole lot of other lessons. Like making sure that these men knew that they were wanted to fight, maybe, regardless if they ended up in the battle. But also maybe that they needed to know that it was okay to be afraid, and God still valued them, maybe. And maybe that bravery also looks like taking care of their family and their land, maybe, and that is just as important as fighting on the front lines. Maybe. And maybe that Gideon needed to do the work of finding this many people so that he could figure out how to lead, maybe.
We often see the obvious lessons, but what if there were other purposes to what God was doing? And how can we trust and be obedient to what God is calling us when we don’t understand all the facets, maybe, of what He wants to teach and accomplish? Because maybe, it’s about more than just us.
I keep coming back to this quote, and it really has been a lesson to myself in the last few weeks. I was talking to a friend when these words came out of my mouth, “God has gifted me with [these] gifts and talents and made me a steward over them. I have a responsibility to steward them well and manifest His glory.”
It was a conversation about knowing my worth, and not in an arrogant sense. You know when you are cognizant of the value of something, you treat it as something precious and valuable, and you don’t want to take it for granted? In fact, when you see others doing so, something rises up within you in defense of that object or person. But how often do we turn that examination towards ourselves?
In the previous post, I talked about our own light shining, and for me, I’m coming to understand that we – I – need to value the light that God has put within me. I’m reminded of a certain story somewhere in the scriptures (Matthew 25:14-30), about the responsibility of taking the value He has given us, investing, and making a return. He gave them talents (money). He gives us talents (money, actual talent, wisdom, abilities, capabilities, etc.). Because it is in us, do we bury it so that we don’t take away from the Father? Do we spend it without regard or discretion on things that don’t give a return? Do we hoard it for a time when it may really be used, never knowing when that time may come? Are we afraid to lose what He has given us, only to hide it and really lose the value of what was given?
I was in the midst of writing this post when I came across a video of this incredible spoken word that seemed to underline the quote that I’m talking about. It’s pretty awesome, so you should watch it. No, really.
Pretty intense, yes? But then, I came upon the back story and was completely blown away. Here it is, and it’s a bit long, but it is worth every minute of it.
If you go to about 15 minutes, this is what stuck out to me: when the woman said, “God said to me, ‘My Glory is bigger than the arena’… This was for God’s glory, not ours.” What was that quote, something about being made to manifest the Glory of God?
I don’t have these answers, but I sure am reflecting on it. I want to manifest His Glory, because that is who He is, and He’s the one who made me. I’m just a small part of it, but I am a part, and I refuse to hide it any longer. I am slowly, but surely, beginning to know that I am brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous, because that is who He made me to be.
So I have this quote on the side of my blog that encourages me every single time I take the time to read it:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson, Quoted by Nelson Mandela at his 1994 Inaugural Speech
What does it speak to? Our identity, our destiny, our fear. Pride, humility, and all that. We are His children, and He chooses to partner with us, and often takes us to places that are over our heads, and we look to our own inadequacies. True, we are inadequate without Him. But, as David Crowder sings, He has made everything glorious, and He made us, so what does that make us?
So when there is something we know we must do, and we are intimidated and shrink away because we don’t feel qualified, or do not want to seem better than others, what does that accomplish? There are times when you are put in a place for “such a time as this”, and it becomes not about you, or your talent, or your ability, but about manifesting the glory of God.
And the fear of pride makes its insidious way into our thoughts, making it about us again. I heard a saying that false humility is a form of pride. “Your playing small does not serve the world.” We need to recognize that we are children of God and shine for His glory, and give people a picture of what it may mean for them to shine.
And so I ask, who are you to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? You are a child of God, and it’s not just some of you, it’s everyone. Let perfect love cast out all fear, and be an example to others to let their light so shine, too.
Totally skipped these pictures! This is the rest of day 9 – enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed the presentation of Masada – I enjoyed putting it together and listening to it once again. But it wasn’t the only thing we did that day, and I had a few more pictures to share from our time at the Salt Sea and Ein Gedi. It was a wonderful day, and an awesome way to spend our last full day!
This was passed on to me by a friend, and I laughed a lot. This is one of the non politically correct posts I mentioned in my intro, so if you are easily offended, I would pass this one by. Have fun!
When I was born, I was BLACK
When I grew up, I was BLACK
When I went in the sun, I stayed BLACK
When I got cold, I was BLACK
When I was scared, I was BLACK
When I was sick, I was BLACK
And when I die, I’ll still be BLACK
NOW, you ‘white’ folks . .. .
When you’re born, you’re PINK
When you grow up, you’re WHITE
When you go in the sun, you get RED
When you’re cold, you turn BLUE
When you’re scared, you’re YELLOW
When you get sick, you’re GREEN
When you bruise, you turn PURPLE
And when you die, you look GREY
So why y’all be callin’ us
So here are a few pictures from my last few days in Israel; the end of one journey, but something that I will be looking forward to repeating sometime in the near future. I hope you all get to experience Israel in your own ways!