Monday, October 28, 2013

Wisdom from Cher and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.  Before you leave, take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!

I'm going to ask you a question, but before I do, here are the ground rules:
1.  Your sentence needs to start "I..."
2.  Your response should be 10 words or less.
3.  You need to write the first thing that comes to your mind.

Ready for the question?  Here it is:

Who are you?

Now, think about your answer.  How did you describe yourself?  Did you use a noun or a role? (i.e. I am a mom.  I am a wife.  I am a girl.)  Did you use a positive or negative adjective?  (i.e. I am funny.  I am single.  I am overweight.  I am pretty.  I am a Christian.)

How does this relate to our study of John?  The Jews heard about John the Baptist and his crazy ways.  They sent priests to check him, even the Sanhedrin, not only because his ways were unorthodox, but because they were worried he might be a false prophet.  The first question they ask John the Baptist is the same question I asked you here.

"Who are you?"

But John doesn't answer with his role or an adjective.  He doesn't list his credentials, even though he has them.  He is a priest by descent, but he doesn't use this to prove his place or give credence to his actions.

He simply answers their question by saying these simple words:

"I am not the Messiah."

And I wonder if I thought about myself in these simple, and yet profound, terms, how much my perspective, expectations, and general life might change.

This weekend, we were honored to attend a wedding for a family member.  Since we were coming in from out of town, we also attended the rehearsal dinner.  The wedding was semi-formal, but the party was casual.  As such, between the four of us, we had a total of 15 pairs of shoes.  Ridiculous, but true.  With all of this outfit coordination and weather changes, I inevitably forgot things.  Like my eyeliner.  And all my jewelry, save the wedding ring on my left hand (which, my husband pointed out, was the only important piece anyway).

I thought about dropping by the mall to pick up some pieces, but since so many things broke in our house and cars this month, new eyeliner and costume jewelry just didn't make it into the budget.  If my friends had lamented to me they had forgotten theses same items, I would have given them the eye roll and said "Who cares??  It doesn't matter.  You are not the bride." (just like I am sure you are yelling at the computer screen right now).

But, I had to figure out why I cared.  In my introspectiveness I realized I cared because in my head I was telling myself I couldn't keep it all together.  I forgot things.  I was fallible.  I am not as collected as I think I am.  In essence, I realized this:

I am not the Messiah.

It all sounds silly, but how many of you get a little crazy about the little things?  And maybe you do that because you disappoint yourself or others because you're simply not all you thought you would be this time around.

I knew I was going to be teaching about this section of John (chapter 1:19-28) and so when I started to criticize myself, I would repeat I am not the Messiah.  And when I started to become judgmental and critical of others, I would repeat They are not the Messiah.

And we know we are not Jesus, but sometimes, we expect perfection.  Instead, what would happen if we focused less on our own appearance (physical, social, spiritual) and walked in humility.  What if we answered the question posed to John the Baptist like he did?  Could I say with real conviction that I am simply,

"a voice of one crying in the wilderness?"

Can I be content with no one looking at me?  Can I be content with just everyone looking at Jesus?  Of course, I want to give a resounding "YES!" but this is not something that is lived out naturally for me.  And how do I know this?  Because after every class, I pick apart what I said and how I said it.  And while I am getting better at not being so critical and just trusting that God did what He wanted, it's still hard not to think about what I said and what I did.

If I am content with being just a voice, people's opinions of me will not matter.  I will be content with the fact that God used me exactly the way He wanted to and that He will redeem anything that wasn't from Him.

While watching "The Voice" with my kids last week, I was struck by this nugget of wisdom from Cher:

"The moment you start judging what you're doing, you're done."

She's talking to one of The Voice contestants because the guy that's singing is simply thinking too much.  He's constantly evaluating himself instead of letting himself get immersed in the music and in the meaning of the song.

If I am trying to judge and evaluate myself as I am speaking and teaching my class, my focus in not on Jesus, but on me.  And when I am focused on myself, I am done.  I have ceased to be fully committed to being just a voice preparing the way for Jesus.  I am too busy preparing the way for myself.

But I am not the Messiah.  And to believe that, I need a heavy dose of humility.  To see myself as a reflection of His light.  He is the sun.  All I can be is a moon.  My light is not possible without His.

And this is a very good thing.

Your turn to get introspective:  Where are places you are exceedingly critical of yourself? Of others?  When you imagine yourself as a "voice crying in the wilderness," preparing the way for Jesus, what is stripped away?

Linking this on Monday with Michelle and Jen too!
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photo credit: garlandcannon via photopin cc (words added by me)


  1. I'm still working through this. I'm beginning to realize that I give up way too easily because of what I judge myself over - I quit because of I'm insecure. But, like you said, I'm not the Messiah. This is good stuff.

  2. Now that my kiddos are in pre-school their behavior is being... looked at. :) I find that I am hard on myself every time there is a problem. Rooted in this- my desire for perfection/perfect kids and for others to see them as such. You reminded me- I am not the Messiah. He alone is perfection. Thank you Jen for this :)

  3. You've made me think, Jen. I'm an introvert so I just prefer people look somewhere else. I think my biggest issue is comparison. Everyone speaks better, writes better, looks better. I'm going to remember "I am not the Messiah." What a beautiful post -- God surely led your "pen."

  4. Amen Jen! I am reminded everyday that I am mere mortal and He alone is Lord and Savior! Humbling, but needed....that daily reminder! :) Blessings to you friend! ~ Jen

  5. This is really helpful. It is interesting how we are all so different. I have an easier time with the fact that I am not the Messiah, but a harder time giving that grace to someone else. YIKES.


  6. John the Baptist is a pretty amazing person -- he wasn''t concerned with appearances. He knew why he was here, and that was to point people to Jesus. He was consumed with that one passion.

    I wish I could be more "unconcerned with appearances." Oh, for Jesus to be my one all-consuming passion!

  7. Beautiful post! As I read this, I also thought of how we cannot be the "Messiah" for others. We can only point them to Him but we cannot save them or change their circumstances for them. Grateful to have read this today!

  8. "I am trying." If I'm honest that's the phrase that came to mind first. I think reciting "I am not the Messiah" covers pretty much every base — for the rescuers, perfectionists, judges, etc. Thanks for that perspective, Jen!

    Christy @ A Heartening Life

  9. Such a wonderful word today! I a m often one who wants people to look at me. And this hit home. Like everytime I am writing something about what God has done for me I want people to think, "Wow she's getting it." "Wow, she knows Jesus." "WOW! She has a great relationship with Jesus."

    This is something I'll need to work on now that this has come to my attention.

  10. Oh goodness. This is good stuff. Real, convicting stuff. Thanks for sharing. :)

  11. What a great insight, God gave you, Jen....What I thought was "I am God's beloved," and when I can fully live in that truth, and it is a process, then I can focus on Him, and not on my performance, for the most part...Thanks for keeping it real, my friend :) I am sure you were still lovely even w/o eyeliner :)

  12. Jen, this is theline that spoke to me: "Can I be content with no one looking at me? Can I be content with just everyone looking at Jesus?" That really is my heart's cry and prayer but SO many times my voice and actions are so loud they can't see Him for me. Jesus, help me be content to make you look good through me.

    Great word, sister.


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