Updated: Nov 4
I had a rather interesting dream recently.
I am sitting close to the stage at the Oscars, settled between two successful actresses you would likely recognize, They are known for the depth and skill of their character portrayals. Somehow in this dream world, we know each other well. Having started out in an acting career about the same time, we had mutual respect for each other’s skills.
To give some brief context, I have professional acting and singing experiences in my wheelhouse. Many people affirmed my talent and encouraged me to pursue an acting or theater career as a young woman. There was a time when there was nothing else I wanted more to do than this. When I found my faith, however, that desire faded quickly for me and was replaced by a different calling altogether. Slowly, over time, I walked away from that life and never looked back.
Yet in this dream, sitting between two women who are respected in their field, with one holding a shiny, gold Oscar in her lap, I felt so insignificant. It was like nothing I have done compares to what they have accomplished. I meekly state what to me is obvious: “I’m not a good actor anymore. I no longer have the skill.”
Both women rush in with comfort. They say something along these lines: “No, that’s not true. You just made a different choice. Had you wanted this, you could have had it.” Like somehow that made my proclamation okay, and that somehow made us “on par” as people in their minds.
I hear their words, but I know what they’re thinking isn’t true. I answer with something like this: “No. You don’t understand. I can no longer act. I truly can’t. I don’t have any of these skills anymore, and even if I wanted to, I couldn’t do this.”
A sort of back and forth goes on. Eventually the actresses see the truth of my words, and the feeling changes. They become awkward in my presence, clearly trying not to show their embarrassment for me. It is an uncomfortable moment where they no longer seem to want to sit next to me because I am now “subpar.” They both twist away a bit in their chairs, looking for someone more interesting in which to engage.
Shame washes over me, and I am enveloped in deep sadness as my worldly insignificance is exposed. Then something remarkable happens. Out of nowhere, Jesus appears in front of the stage of the auditorium, walking toward me. He singles me out and offers me his hand. Everyone around me notices. He gently pulls me up, gathering me in his arm, and very confidently begins to escort me up the aisle to the exit. As we transcend the red carpet, I can hear the whispers begin all around me.
“Hmm. She’s one of his kids.”
“Wow. She belongs to Jesus.”
“Do you see her? She’s with Him.”
It’s a profound moment, the feeling of which remains with me long after the dream ends. Why? In that moment I realize where my true value and meaning come from. Meaning that’s not tied to what I do or who I am, but WHOSE I am. I have value because I am the daughter of the King. I am chosen by him, wholly and perfectly loved. He is my defender. He lifts his banner of love over me to shelter me from the lies the world would tell. He is my rescuer.
Author and speaker Skye Jethani states it beautifully: “What brings a person value, significance, and hope is not what he[/she] does but with whom he[/she] does it. The call to live in continual communion with God means that every person’s life, no matter how mundane, is elevated to sacred heights.”
The Apostle Paul put it like this:
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise, he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. So, brothers and sisters, in whatever condition each was called, there let us remain with God (1 Corinthians 7:17f).
In other words, you and I do not need to go sell everything, move to faraway lands, and do radical religious acts to gain intimacy with Jesus (though if the Creator calls us to it, we are wise to listen). Instead, he’s standing beside us, giving us an inherent dignity and worth in the midst of whatever our role happens to be, a dignity that stays despite our circumstances.
We are invited into intimacy with him whether we’re a soccer mom, a CEO, an addict, or if we’re enveloped in grief and anxiety. He is right there, taking each of us by the arm, inviting us to walk with him and rediscover our worth.
The beauty of our hope being found with God versus in our circumstances is that our intimacy with our Creator is no longer tied to performance. It’s no longer about what we are doing for God or what we are getting (or not getting) from him. It’s about inviting the Lord into the everyday spaces of life, walking in communion with him through the joy, the grief, the pain, the fear. All of it!
God truly becomes our hope, our refuge, a safe space that can never be taken away.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
God is clearly working mightily within me to help me let go of my worldly definitions of success and power, of what I believe adds true value and meaning to who I am. As I continue to invite him into my spaces of vulnerability, my weakness and even my anger and despair, I am beginning to sense the intimacy of Jesus' presence in new ways.
It's an odd, comforting sensation that's hard to describe. It's felt at times where peace should be the last thing from my mind. Yet somehow it's there, right in the center of me, slowly wrapping me in gentle tendrils of love.
This week, take a moment to invite the Lord in before you hit the dark spaces. Ask God to take up residence deep within you. Ask him to allow you to feel the sense of his presence in the midst of every circumstance, including the hard ones, remembering that the Creator's heart is always FOR you!
Lord, thank you that your love for me is an ocean so wide and so deep I can never go past its depths or swim outside of it. Always you are there, guiding and loving me simply because I am yours. May my trust continue to reflect my understanding of the love you so freely give, knowing that there is nothing in my life beyond your reach or capacity, even when it's beyond mine. Amen.
To learn more about author & motivational
speaker Barb Lownsbury, CLICK HERE.
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