To love the life God has given us isn’t a matter of collecting the laudation and likes of men, but finding security in smallness, knowing you are seen in hiddenness, and rising in service with greatness.
Yeah, tell me — on roads winding to highways, and platforms promising prominence, and every Facebook ad popping up on how to make it big on the Internet — sometimes?—you just wish you’d have what it takes to make that one big break, that you’d go viral someday, be noticed by many and loved by all somehow.
We secretly want what social media promises — other’s admiration.
I cut up the watermelon.
We are all gathered around our kitchen island.
My husband. He’s all man and all boy. He sinks his teeth into the slices, drips all those sweets, and sends his wife scurrying around for a wipe.
He checks his phone, breaks into the widest grin, and showing me his screen; started laughing and high-fiving our three kids.
I knew it; his video. He’s been thanked every day from everywhere around the world, commented and viewed by some ridiculous 275000 people for his ‘how to unclog the toilet without a plunger’ youtube video, and for what it took, he said: “It’s crazy, I get more thanks than in my real job!”
His real job, however, isn’t in the handyman business.
We live in such a different time and a different world today. It seems like anybody can become a somebody who is connected to the Internet, and any commoner a celebrity.
And perhaps it’s this lure and belief that trending on Twitter, being Facebook famous, starring on Youtube, being a hit Instagrammer that hits us in our sorest spot — we all want a slice of that: being seen, being liked, being known.
I sigh silently, would our soul really be satisfied with merely that?
Is significance really derivable from becoming an Internet sensation, from posting what pitches and promotes, from content circulating faster and wider than the speed of light— and that is today’s mantra for success?
Doesn’t elusive fame also easily extinguishes our frame?
Our soul may not thrive well with so much attention; when what it really thirsts for is affection.
The right affection — the unending, unyielding, unchanging, forever loving kind of affection.
It’s somewhat unearthing to learn that our young people who aspire to be social media influencers today can still fail to sell a mere 36 t-shirts to start a new fashion line even when they have painstakingly curated a 2.6 million Instagram following. Could our influencer bubble be bursting because it never holds in the first place?
Fame is fickle and will one day fizzes, and we have to be gut honest about this: platforms won’t make us, they’ll only expose us.
More than fame we long to be seen: fully acknowledged, dearly affirmed, unconditionally accepted.
“We ache for something we cannot name”
(Lauren Slater, American Pyschologist)
I read and reread John 7; a material the church is studying on.
I sit and let this truth soak me up a bit —
The passage picks up at the point of time Jesus’ movement seems to be falling apart. His disciples had left him, His betrayal is in view, and He lays low in Galilee because of death threats in Judea. His brothers, however, had goaded him to leave Galilea and urged him to go to Judea.
Judea, they said — is where the spotlight would be. The Feast of Tabernacles would attract all the prominent leaders to congregate in that one place, and to establish Himself as a public figure, resume His followers, prove His divinity, and showcase His ability, He needed a marketing strategy starting with being in Judea. This his brothers had logically reasoned and strategically concluded.
And you can almost hear it playing in your mind too:‘To be big, spend time with the highly accomplished, hang out with the super-achievers, and connect with the well-established — this is how you’ll be set’… (For who would gather a following without a platform and who’d influence anybody without putting yourself out there for everybody?)
But Jesus? — He wasn’t driven for glory as much as giving God all the glory.
He was secure enough not to strive for any superficial success.
He was never attracted to the pool of popularity more than he was to the watering pool where the lame and losers lament, the broken and bitter bond, the hurting and heartbroken helplessly hope —- corners of our world that sometimes beg for shafts of glory light to shine.
His identity was rooted in a relationship so rich with His Father that He could go privately, love lavishly, heal wholly, taught authoritatively — not to gain traction, but to pave way for God’s ultimate triumph.
His brothers didn’t know it — that one day, Jesus’ greatest work would indeed be performed in Judea, but not through His life, but in His death.
Jesus shows us the truth about gaining and losing our soul — because the Kingdom of God is an upside-down, inside-out kingdom.
That to be big, you must be small.
To be first you must be last.
Those who want to lead must lower himself to serve.
And I’m wondering — instead of using our social spaces to become a seen, screen sensation, may we:
Use our position, place, and platforms to pronounce the greatness of our God, proclaim the good of this world, and promote the everyday precious people passing our paths?
Because there is everyday greatness that receives no glamour but is deeply glorious.
There are real soul struggles needing real solutions that can shove ahead those behind that only social media can brilliantly do… (even if that means unclogging someone else’s blocked toilet 🙂 )
Why let the delusion for fame and status rob us of what truly flourishes our soul?.
The like and love of men may rise and wane. People will one day love you and another day loathe you — and it’s the wisdom of the aged to learn not to allow their compliments to get over our head, and their criticism to get into our heart.
“Never allow men’s compliments to get into our head, and their criticism to get into our heart”.
Jesus offers us something better than stages and spotlights — He offers us a seat .
And when you catch Him there: touching the lepers yet totaling no laudation, healing the lame yet hearing no applause; you can receive Him here —-
He promises we can live with our pitchers full; so we can make our mark by filling others’ up.
Why not — let Him scaffold our shaky social scapes so we can soar with security and live with significance…
And that may just give us our full satisfaction…
(My deepest thanks to @timkwokphoto for capturing fields of faces & giving insight into the beauty of this life to us.)