Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Behind the Scenes

I had a conversation with God this morning and it went something like this:

“It’s funny, you know. How I know exactly what I need to do, what I need to talk to You about.  And yet, as excited and eager as I am to break this new ground with You, I keep putting it off.  Finding excuses. Justifying my procrastination.  Why?  Because I’m scared.  Scared to hear what You might say to me.  It’ll be what I need to hear – it always is.  But it’s not what I want to hear.  So I sit and wait and think and look forward to the time when I can give You the focus that I need to.  When my heart is ready to receive the tough lessons that I need to learn.  Because I know they’re there.  I know I need this.  But what if it changes everything? What if…..” 

It’s funny, you know.  How I want something so badly but am afraid to actually get it.  Why is it that I’m afraid of something that I know is good for me?  If I truly am living my life for Christ, shouldn’t I be doing whatever is necessary to draw closer to Him?  So am I really living my life for Him?  Or is it for me?  Is it really for my glory or to somehow lift myself up on a pedestal?  And I do it in the name of Jesus – of course I do.  And my actions even point to that.

But where is my heart?

Is it tangled up somewhere in the web of self-righteousness?  Screaming from deep within in its pitiful yet mighty voice – “Look at me! Look at what I’ve done! Look at what I am doing!” Is it longing for attention?

I believe it is.  I believe my intentions are good but my heart is not in the right place.  I believe on the surface, I am doing everything right.  But if you were to look in the deep, beneath the surface, you would see my heart desperately seeking attention, trying to break through the surface and say “Look at me!”  And why have I been putting off this talk with Jesus?  This tough lesson that I’m so eager for yet dreading at the same time?  Because heart work is hard.  It is messy.  It requires me admitting to things (gasp!) and bringing them into the light.  It requires me to actually do something.  It is active recovery.  There is nothing passive about it.  It is, in the words of my pastor, shedding light on reality versus reputation.  It is stepping out of any spotlight that I may be in, back into the dark corners of the theater, working tirelessly yet happily behind the scenes.  Letting God have the spotlight.  And you see, that’s just it.  I've never been a behind-the-scenes type of girl.  But I need to let God take center stage in my life.  And my proud heart is fighting with me on this.  Which is all the more reason that it needs to happen.  All the more reason, that as we approach Valentine’s Day (and coincidentally the anniversary of my birth), my heart needs help. It so desperately needs help.

I can’t help but think that a heart screaming for attention is wearing itself out.  It must be exhausting for my heart.  Always wanting to be out front, always wondering how I can stay in the spotlight.  And I know that my heart is not made for this.  This pressure that I am putting my heart under is not necessary.  I know that my heart would be much happier playing a supporting role in a play, a life, where Jesus is the lead character.

But that damn pride keeps getting in the way.

And I feed that pride daily.  My pride is getting fat, actually.  I feed that pride on meals of Facebook, Instagram likes and Twitter followers.  On “atta boys” that come from people – some strangers and some close to my heart.  I feel that pride with volunteering for things.  For showing up when people are in need.  In comparing myself with others and thinking “I’m better than her”.  And I know I need to starve my pride.  Feed my humility and starve my pride.  And that doesn’t mean that I stop doing anything that I am doing.  It means that I do it even if nobody finds out.  It means that I go from putting myself in the spotlight to being behind the scenes.  I can think of so many clich├ęs that are appropriate here.  But I can say them all and never mean any of them.

I need a changed heart.  Not a replacement, but an improvement.  I know the only way I can get that is through my relationship with Jesus.  And I’m sorry to say that I’m just too scared for that at this moment.  Too afraid to let go of whatever it is that motivates me every morning.  Because it’s probably not all Jesus right now.  I’m scared to starve my pride.  What will I be without it?  I realize that pride and humility cannot co-exist.  They cannot be roommates in my heart.  But I just don’t know how to evict the pride.  And I don’t think I’m ready to just yet.  Because heart work is hard.