If I’m being completely honest- every once in awhile I can trick myself into thinking I’m important- into thinking I’m somebody special.
Every once in awhile, compliments bury themselves deeply in my mind and my heart, and I start to strut a little bit more- thinking that because they like my boots, or my writing, or my hair- that I matter.
A few nights ago, I was at a dinner party.
It was my second one since moving to Gainesville, and strangely, the second dinner party hosted by men.
They invited us over, cooked us dinner, set the table and hosted us like champs.
(I hope that their moms read this, because they should be super proud.)
This last time, long after we were finished eating, we sat around the table talking and laughing and trading stories.
In one particularly quiet moment, our host began to talk about Jesus.
As he talked, his eyes filled with tears- overwhelmed by the goodness of the God that we serve.
And it was about that time that I started to feel like a terrible human being.
I looked down at myself, at my outfit and at my arms and my hands thinking ‘I walked out of the house feeling important today’ and all of a sudden I had no idea why.
As I listened to this man talk- talk about God and their relationship and the beautiful things that God has allowed him to be a part of- I began to slip, low and ashamed, down into my seat.
It’s not that I don’t love Jesus… I do! I’ve seen God work fast and perfectly in and around me.
I’ve been there.
But that wasn’t the part that had me beet red and wanting to disappear.
My shame was coming from my perception of myself- the fact that I was caught thinking that I was something for a moment there.
I had felt important walking into the house that night… I had felt important all day in fact- confident, feeling capable and good because of what I was doing- what I was accomplishing.
I felt that way right up until Jesus smacked me, hard and fast, with someone who, in the span of a few tears, showed me all over again what it means to love Jesus and to love people- well.
And all of a sudden, my list of accomplishments, my storehouse of compliments and my confidence slipped out the back door, leaving me with a clear understanding of the fact that none of that is impressive to God.
It was there- sunk low in my chair, face beet read and heart wide open that God had the chance to really speak to me.
And this is what He said:
“Stephanie, do you want to know what makes you important? What makes you powerful? What makes you strong? Do you want to know what you have to offer to the world?
I have given you an extraordinary ability to be my little girl- and when you sit with me, when you snuggle with me and love me and let me pour out my love and affection on you- you’re the woman I created you to be.
That’s what makes you strong, that’s what makes you capable, that’s what makes you important. Nothing else matters.”
And then in my head, it was like I was watching a split screen movie. On the left side was me, stomping down a hallway in stilettos, acting important and busy- the very image of ‘success’. And on the right side, I was sitting, wrapped up in a blanket, at my daddy’s feet, painting outside the lines- looking up at him every once in awhile to see if He’s proud.
But He’s not proud of me for stomping around like I matter- He’s not proud of the meetings I have or the things I ‘accomplish.’
Those don’t even touch his radar- but my painting? My haphazard splashes of color across a page? To him, those are very impressive.
His glowy, Fatherly pride comes from the fact that I know how to sit at His feet- I know what intimacy with my Daddy looks like, and I delight in His color.
And that’s what makes me important- that’s what I have to impart.
I know intimacy with the Father, and I know it well. I can recognize His beauty with the best of them, and I can find His love and romance anywhere.
And the crazy thing is that to do those things, I can leave my stilettos at home. I don’t actually have to DO anything.
In fact, it’s usually the opposite.
All I have to do to live in a place where I’m overflowing with goodness, enough to pour out on everybody I see, is to hang out with Him- to spend time with Him- to fill up on what He’s pouring over me, and to share it with everyone I meet.
That’s what makes me important, that’s the corner of the market where I have room to speak, that’s the thing that I can teach, impart and inspire… nothing else. At least nothing else that’s impressive.
And I’m fine with that.
I sat up a bit straighter then- my shame replaced with the deep understanding that only comes from the correction of the Father.
-Because I realized that even when I’m old and wrinkly – even if I never write another word or get fired from my job tomorrow- I’ll still be his little girl. I’ll still be worthy of so much- with so much to offer.
I sit up a little straighter these days.