A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend and I roamed the shelves of Books-A-Million. (Yes, we actually had a date in a bookstore). All went well until I spotted some merchandise. But not just any merchandise. Much to my disappointment, I saw action figures and other items based upon an individual who—in my opinion—shouldn’t be celebrated.
My frustration must’ve been obvious. Eventually, my girlfriend asked me who the publicized woman was. The woman found in action figure form. And I responded, “She’s a very horrible person.” Out loud. With a touch of fury. And a whole lot of regret.
It’s a cry from my heart. A longing of my soul. I desperately desire to be found humble at the feet of Jesus.
I’ve been the one surrounded by people after preaching a sermon. I’ve been the one who gets a standing ovation. I’ve been the hesitant recipient of praise from people. And through it all, my heart cries, “Keep me humble, Lord.”
After all, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18 ESV).
I’ve been the one surrounded by encouraging people after preaching a sermon. But I’ve also been the one ignored and seemingly rejected. And I’m learning to be okay with both.
I often find myself deceived by the applause of man. Every time I publish a message, I find myself discouraged. I hardly ever get the response that I expect. Each week, I pour my heart into the Bible. Sometimes, to the point of mental exhaustion. Only to receive a handful of likes on Facebook. And it’s quite discouraging.
But I shouldn’t even think those thoughts. Let alone write them. But I doubt I’m the only one who tries to please people over God. And so, here’s a message to people pleasers like me.
I can relate to Jeremiah.
He writes, “Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’
Then I said, ‘Ah, LORD GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’
But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a youth”; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD’” (Jer. 1:4-8 ESV).
I recently watched “The Greatest Showman” for a school assignment. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, it’s a musical encouraging viewers to be themselves. One of the songs in the movie is called “This is me.” It strives to celebrate the differences between human beings. In other words, the song shouts, “Be yourself!”
Today, I’m writing about identity. But I’m doing so from a biblical perspective.
In my home, there’s a quote on the wall. It reads, “In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.” It’s a cute cliché, but I forget it’s there. Actually, I forget the words. I don’t know about you, but I struggle to be comfortable in my own skin.