Monday, April 28, 2014

Vicarious Victories

I didn't expect to have a God appointment on Saturday morning. I thought I was just going to brunch with a Miss Texas friend and a fashion blogger I met through Instagram—and I dressed accordingly.

Black Audrey Hepburn flats. Leopard-print shorts. Graphic tee from France featuring Batman and a ton of sequins.

Just trust matches.

"Is that what you're wearing?" my husband asked. Not in a mean way. More of a "Hmm...interesting combo" -type thing.

I knew it was funky, but that was the point. I was meeting a FASHION BLOGGER (given name Chelsie). And a MISS TEXAS friend (otherwise known as Michelle). I knew they would both be wearing something completely amazing, and I wanted to make a good impression too. (What if they like my outfit so much they decide to blog about it?? Real thought.)

Within about 10 seconds of meeting up on the porch of the Company Cafe on Katy Trail, all of that pretense fell away. Spiritual conversation and mutual encouragement flowed easily between all three of us, allowing real things to take the place of first impression smiles and isn't-the-weather-so-great commentary.

"Coming from the industry I'm in, I should hate both of you," Chelsie said matter-of-factly.

And I thought, wow. Isn't that the truth?

In addition to being a fashion blogger, Chelsie is a celebrity makeup artist who flies that super-slick route between LA and New York. Michelle is the Director of Leadership Giving for United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and an all-around mover-and-shaker. We all feel that our callings have to do with writing, speaking, and generally making a global impact (obviously we're all fans of the slogan "dream big").

We should have been competing for the spotlight. Because only one woman can shine, right? That's what our culture says. Only one woman can rise to the top. Only one woman can have the most fans, the greatest circle of influence, the highest number of followers on Twitter and Instagram. Only one woman can wear the most put-together outfit, lay claim to the most impressive resume, and literally sweat glitter at the gym because she's THAT fabulous.

Those are all lies, of course. But ladies, don't our feelings and attitudes toward other women often reflect those dangerous sentiments?

We can't praise the achievement of another woman—that might diminish our own accomplishments. We can't applaud another woman's victory—that might make us seem defeated. We can't encourage another woman to pursue her dreams—our own ambitions might begin to pale in comparison. Most importantly, we can't celebrate with another woman when God has elevated her position, given her a platform, equipped her for ministry, blessed her beyond measure, and allowed His face to shine upon her—that would make us seem low, rejected, ill-equipped, overlooked, and completely insignificant.

Or would it?

. . .

"Yet the Spirit also rested on [Eldad and Medad], and they prophesied in the camp...Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' aide since youth, spoke up and said, 'Moses, my lord, stop them!' But Moses replied, 'Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit on them!' " —Numbers 11:26-30

Prior to this interaction, Moses had expressed to the Lord that he was tired, frustrated, and just plain over it. The Israelites wouldn't stop complaining—this time, it was about meat. Meat this, meat that. We hate manna. Manna is gross. For Moses, enough was enough.

"What have I done to displease You that You put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do You tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant...?" —Numbers 11:11-12

"It's too much, God," Moses basically goes on to say. "I need a little help here." And in His graciousness, God responds by anointing 70 Israelite elders with the Spirit to help Moses shoulder the weight of his calling.

"...I will take the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone." —Numbers 11:17

That's when Joshua freaks out. "Moses, you're the star!" he says (kind of). "If all of these guys start prophesying and get filled with the Spirit, you won't be special anymore. You should not be on board with this—tell them to cut it out!"

Oh, that I would respond to the favor of others with the humility of Moses.

"I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets," he says.

"I wish that all the Lord's people might experience intimacy with Christ, and global impact, and success, and television interviews, and Instagram followers, and blessings, and favor,"  I want to say.

Moses understood that God was God, and he was not. Moses understood that there was enough of God to go around. Moses understood that God's glory, and not his own, was paramount. Moses understood that his status in the Kingdom was not measured against the status of others. Moses understood that the empowerment of others would not pose a threat to or chip away at his own significance. Moses understood that he could no longer shoulder the burden of leadership alone, but that he in fact needed the Lord to equip other people in order to walk out his own calling.

. . .

I don't know about you, but when I'm experiencing a mountain-top moment I don't want to be alone. I want others to join around me in celebration of what the Lord has done. And because of that, I must learn how to celebrate others in kind.

Here's the truth: When we begrudge, envy, and/or resent the success of others, we only deplete ourselves of the energy it takes to pursue our own calling. But when we applaud and affirm the success of others? We share in their joy, are mutually encouraged, and vicariously victorious.

Who can you applaud today?

No comments

Post a Comment

Karley with a K. Todos los derechos reservados. © Maira Gall.