Sometimes I feel so small.
Who am I to think that I can change the world through images and words?
I’m just one person. The same person who asked her kids to “Just stop talking to me,” this morning and who right now wants nothing more than a few minutes of peace. The baby is crying in the next room; I shouldn’t have let him have a morning nap despite his stayed-up-too-late crankiness.
I’m weary and I’m squeezing in a few minutes of writing before the afternoon explodes around my ears. I really just want to lie down myself. Lie down and ignore the calling.
Why do I think I can change the world (or even be a catalyst for change in one heart)?
The doubts plague me.
I bet they plague you, too. You know that voice that says you’re a failure as you get angry for having to discipline a young one for the hundredth time. Or reminds you that you can’t even get places on time with all three kids alive when you agree to write for a deadline. Or the voice that tells you there’s no one in the audience clapping… no, not one person, so you might as well pack up the whole mess and go home.
Yeah, that voice speaks to me, too.
Let me tell you a secret: Any voice that devalues your worth is not the voice of God.
The God who stretched out his hands on a tree to show you how much you were worth to him will not tear you down even as you fall again into sin and ‘failure’. No, Jesus will wipe away your tears, ask you why you looked at the wind and the waves, and beckon you quietly to keep walking with Him in obedience.
I am small. My audience of readers/clients here is very small. But my real audience of One, He sits front row and quietly smiling to encourage me to keep doing what he made me to do. Even when the rest of the voices in the audience are boo-hissing about this failure or that inadequacy or this sin problem or that very real limitation.
The God of the Universe, He delights in using the small foolish things in this world to confound the large powerful ones. And I find joy most of all in this little phrase: “But God.”
So I’ll insert this phrase whenever I hear one of those voices devaluing my worth.
“Melissa, you’re a mess. You just yelled at your kids, how could you ever be used to speak to another mom?”
But God. He can use me. He can raise the dead things from my life for His glory.
“Melissa, that image sucks. You should have opened the aperture up to get everyone in focus better.”
But God. He used this image to help me grow. And the family loved it anyhow through His Grace.
“Melissa, you ought to just stop writing. Stop tapping time from your family and home. No one ever comments anyhow.”
But God, has called me to this work. Not just the work of writing and photographing… but the work of obedience. Because without obedience, all “but God’s” are impossible. Besides, the only “well done” I need is His.
Would you try with me, friends? Would you try to seek the joy in your calling by telling those doubting, criticizing voices what the sovereign God of the universe is capable of? Because really what greater joy is there in seeing a dead lifeless heart like mine transformed by the active words “But God.”
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Cor. 1:26-29
But God chose and called you and me in our weakness so that we might not boast in our own value. It is because of our weakness that God can use us. Because when we are weak, we know our only hope, our only value is in His abiding love. And that is where real joy in any endeavor lies.