I love the JumboTron—but not for the reasons you might think. I don’t love it because its massive screen allows us folks in the cheap seats a decent view of the game. No, I love the JumboTron because of the power it has to make people do the silliest things.
I’ve seen middle-aged men in sensible sweaters leap to their feet and shimmy like Britney Spears. I’ve been showered in pink punch by a small child who had flailed himself into a frenzy, trying to earn a split-second spot on the big screen. And we’ve all seen those college co-eds, painted from head to toe in school colors, mugging for the camera. Why do we do it? What’s the appeal?
Ever since Eve took that bite heard ’round the world, we’ve been craving the spotlight, the chance to be glorified, to be viewed like God, and what better way to shine than on a 131-foot screen in front of thousands?
But God never intended for us to be glorified, on the JumboTron or in life. Our souls were not created to withstand the weight of something that is meant for Him and Him alone. But still we try. We minimize the ways God displays His glory and maximize our own. We absorb the glory and attention due Him, and unwittingly become self-absorbed. It’s like we become the leading actress of our own play—life—which deters rather than invites the weightiness of God's presence. We claim the spotlight, which may feel good temporarily, but is exhausting long term, and leaves us feeling empty and exposed.
Before we can recognize the radiance of God, we have to first recognize that it is our dark and selfish hearts that relegates the God of the universe to the back drop of life. It is our sinful nature that absorbs His glory as our own curtain calling.
Do you ever feel like you are “on camera” in your own life? If you have been absorbing God’s credit, then now is a good time to apologize. God is jealous for His glory, but He is also gracious to forgive and draw us back to Him.
Then there are those sacred moments when we get away for a retreat or attend a powerful worship service when we refocus on the reality that He is the only One deserving of the limelight. Whether it’s in the macro moments of a conference or a sunset getaway or in the micro moments of everyday 9-5 or at home, both can serve to shift our focus to the One deserving of attention, if we let ourselves see like a child.
For example, my son thanked God for letting us go to the zoo. We went once, but he thanked God for almost a year straight. My daughter thanks God for her classmates by name. I frequently hear, “Did God make this leaf… this food… this school… this toy… this dirt?” I am reminded when I answer my children, “Yes, honey, He did.” He did. Didn’t He?
What if my life became a constant childlike prayer? What if I was consistently thankful for the small, simple pleasures?
I got back from a weekend away and was humbled by how wonderful it felt to just hold and rock my 1-year-old to sleep. Thank You, Father. Thank You for this moment. If I re-shifted my constant gaze, how can I even have the space to focus on me, me, me?
Maybe you could fill in the blank: “Hello, my name is _____________. I am a recovering ‘Me, Me, Me’ addict”?
As women, we’re all recovering from some sort of self-absorption. Whether it’s a “My Kids are the Best” mommy complex or an “I’m a Yoga and Whole Foods Goddess” mentality, it can all add up to a JumboTron of … exhaustion.
Women in particular are groomed from a young age that the walk down the high school halls might as well be a runway, and every party has the potential to post us into social media stardom, so we better be ready. But what happens we are all dressed up, but still feel empty?
When we are the center, we will always feel drained because we were not created to sustain the attention of men. We were created to refract glory toward God. Still, like black leather seats in the August sun, our sin nature attracts the applause of an audience, despite how fleeting or unfulfilling.
Truth is, we’re not the leading role in our own story. God is, and He wants us to simply be… His. As we spend time with Him, we end up bearing more and more of His image—brilliant, wise, creative, loving, breath-taking, bold—all those ethereal features we women work so hard to portray. God already is, and we become effortlessly, as we simply abide in Him.
It’s actually energizing to feel the God who designed the petal of a flower and the lines of a leaf, dress us in the morning with joy and a creative modesty, more feminine that we could have ever imagined. And there is a tangible rush when the same God who engineered the radiance of a rainbow and the power of lightning actually leads our home, our ministry, our studies, and our job.
When He helps, the applause we might receive for being great, funny, beautiful, quick-witted or kind, belongs to Him. It is a win-win. He deserves the credit, and we don’t have to manufacture some “Super me” because “Christ in me, [actually is] the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).
What is one area where you want to begin refracting the light of Christ to others, rather than absorbing it?
Authors also include Adrianne Schwanke and Michelle de Miranda of Shabby Chic Ministries