Don’t judge me, but I enjoy the show “American Idol.” In spite of the eye rolls from my family, I have not been deterred. It’s mindless entertainment and I do my own eye rolling in response to Katy Perry’s outfits and the judges often cheesy feedback. Regardless, I keep watching week after week.
My musical resume is below average. Forced to play piano as a child, I can read music, kind of. A band geek in highschool, I was better at twirling my flute in the marching band than actually playing it. And my participation in choir was all about blending in, not standing out. I still remember being singled out by Ms. Pam in the Methodist youth choir. She asked me to sing a bit softer, like an etherial angel she added, when my face failed to hide my disappointment.
It’s not surprising, that I often miss the technical aspects the judges notice. But I sure know which contestants I like and which ones I don’t.
What intrigues me most, I’ve concluded, is knowing their story. Knowing where they come from, and what they’ve gone through seems to influence what I think of their singing. American Idol has capitalized on the formula. They know, we root for the underdog, the downtrodden, the broken, the hurting. We’re inspired by those who defy expectation and overcome the odds. Idol searches the highways and byways to find contestants, and their voice is only part of it.
So whether you sing or not, what’s your story?
During this strange time, it’s easy to see how we’ve become wrapped up in our own stuff. Less aware of ‘others out there’ we’re more preoccupied with our own comforts and calendars. Such myopic behavior flies in the face of God’s purpose for us, in us and through us. And we don’t get a pass during a pandemic.
Ephesians 1:11-12 (MSG) It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
So who are you and what are you living for? I suspect, most of us are just putting one foot in front of the other and not giving such a big important thought much space. Or maybe the question makes us feel small and inconsequential. Sometimes daily life is just hard and we’re simply preoccupied with getting through it. Regardless of why, when we forget our purpose, we lose our way.
In truth, I think we over-complicate it. What if we just entrusted the Lord with our story, ALL. OF. IT. Especially the chapters we don’t like. The way I see it… When it comes to our purpose, it’s more about Him than us. When we lose our expectancy of God, He becomes small and our purpose feels heavy.
Have you ever gone through a long, hard season and adjusted your thoughts about God to fit your circumstances? Perhaps you became weary and gave up hope because He was silent for too long. Or maybe you withdrew from Him, disappointed with the outcome. I’ve been there and it can feel dark.
But… as I’ve wrestled and prayed, my perspective has shifted. God has impressed upon me the importance of interpreting my struggles rightly. As if He turned the telescope from my navel to the heavens, my tough circumstances and failures and disappointments become His training ground. His Holy boot camp. His divine opportunity to weave little insignificant me into His vast kingdom story.
Don’t you get it?
Without the wilderness, our credibility gets questioned, our words fall flat. Unless we’ve been through the fire, others won’t believe us when we tell them, it’s going to be ok. In contrast, when we boldly share our darkest valleys and how God brought us through, we become believable. Hope becomes conceivable. Our story is redeemable.
The way I see it, we share a common purpose far beyond our present comfort or provision. Each of us has a roll to play. We’re called to be a blessing, a hope-giver. If we love Jesus, the story of our life, the good, the bad and especially the ugly, is in itself a healing balm to a hurting world.
The Who’s Who of Heaven
Picture it… heaven will be teeming with contestants…former underdogs, the poster children of what only God can do. You won’t recognize them because they’re no longer downtrodden, broken or hurting. They are the ones who stepped into their calling the moment they believed God at His word and entrusted Him with their story. They graduated from Holy bootcamp with their candle burning brightly.
Holy Father, I am amazed that you want to use me in Your perfect plan. You’ve called me to be a hope-giver, but I make it complicated. Forgive me for hiding behind the smallness of my story. I forget that you are sovereign and you don’t waste even my past failures or tough circumstances . Help me to see their value so I never lose my expectancy. Remind me that I’m “just a beggar showing another beggar where to find bread.” Amen.
Betsy Everett says
Thank you Debbie for reminding us that God knows our story, even the bad parts, and loves us anyway. I am reminded of Psalm 8:5 “What is man that you are mindful of him.” We are important to Him!
Yes indeed. I think I find it most surprising that our stories are often the tool that draws others into the family. I KNOW that God has used your story powerfully in people close to me.
Anne kole says
I am amazed and thankful that God loves me in spite of knowing all of my story! Then I remember that he sent his Son to die for me! And this God who sees me is persistently changing me into his daughter and a citizen of his Kingdom. Sometimes it is almost beyond my comprehension and that’s where trust comes in. God will finish his work in me and keep his promises. Thank you Debbie for reminding me of this truth.
I’m blown away by the idea that you and I are critical pieces to His remarkable puzzle. Keep being you.
Your post today brought to mind an old hymn, “God’s Grace”:
“Grace, grace, God’s grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God’s grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace
Freely bestowed on all who believe
You who are longing to see His face
Will you this moment His grace receive?”
Profoundly thankful that God redeems my flawed story with his marvelous grace.
Grace never gets old. Even without the tune… you’ve got me humming it.
Martha Nail says
Your words give me strength and a reminder to rely on God for the next part of my story. God will carry me if I let Him.
Yes… all those unknowns can make us crazy. Grateful that He is with us every step of the way. Miss you.
Berta Pitzer says
Thanks for affirming me in what God’s been showing me. I matter because He loves me and has chosen ME to be me where He’s placed me. There was a saying decades ago, “bloom where you’re planted”. Live in the moment letting Him shine through me.
Spring is a good time to bring back the oldy but goody… bloom where you’re planted. Especially when you invite others underneath your beautiful protective petals.
Emmy Browning says
Wonderful message. I need to let God be in charge instead of me. Trust
He is a much better author… isn’t He?
Today is the 9 year anniversary of my sons severe TBI. After 3 months in the hospital he was able to come home on stand-by assist and progressed to walking unaided. His vision and intellect (cognitive) were greatly changed. We were so grateful to have him home though. 17 months later we were skiing with him as a vision impaired skier when he fell 30 feet from a chairlift when I was with him. Needless to say he shattered bones and had another TBI. I was so very angry with God. To have come so far and now this?? The ensuing months of no weight bearing and caring for him in our family room (he was 18 at the time) just about killed me-but funny thing, or rather GOD thing, my faith grew even stronger. Today, when people ask me how he became disabled, I forget to even mention the 2nd accident! It was actually harder on his physical body than the first. That one was all brain related. God redeemed those months to the point of forgetting them. He is the God of my hope.
OH MY GOOOOOODNESS Sheri. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your amazing story of perseverance and hope. I’m most amazed that you have no bitterness. I would love to meet you and know you… I feel a kindred spirit.
My daughter lives in Santa Fe. Maybe someday before heaven we can meet. Love your devotionals. You are gifted.
I would absolutely LOVE that! Please be in touch if you’re ever that close.