Screaming for the Spotlight

I hear people say that the Lord won’t give you a platform until your character can sustain the spotlight. I suppose that may be true (although there are about a thousand ways to get a platform that don't involve the Lord's giving it to you, but that's not what I'm here to talk about). I'm here to talk about what I rarely hear people say. I woke up thinking about it this morning:

We need our character to sustain something much greater than a platform. We need our character to sustain our lives.

We need our character to sustain our callings, no matter the "size."

Moms who sacrifice sleep to make sure one child knows she is safe.

Nurses willing to get a little blood on their hands.

Teachers who spend hours on lesson plans for 18 students.

Friends who show up even when it isn't convenient.

Wives who love their husbands and husbands who love them right back.

Dads who answer questions - slowly and patiently and thoroughly.

Brothers and sisters who hold our histories without holding them against us.

It takes character to do those hidden things. It takes character to do the quiet, daily, mundane tasks that give way to lives of purpose but not of glory. It takes character to keep doing in the unseen what you know the Lord has asked of you, what you know He has placed in front of you, what you know He has created you to do, what you know it would be irresponsible to stop doing.

The temptation is to shine the light bright on ourselves, to make these little mundane tasks into something monumental. It takes more than character to rest in the stillness and the quiet and the simple silence.

It takes an act of God.

I have realized recently how bent my heart is toward attention, how it longs to be noticed and cared for and celebrated and seen.

And my first inclination is to either play the martyr (no one ever notices), which is simply not the truth. Or to crush those desires (I don’t need to be seen), which is even farther from the truth!

Those desires are real. We do want to be noticed. We want to be cared for. We want to be celebrated. We want to be seen.

Which is why we think we want the spotlight.

But no amount of care or celebration in human form is ever going to fill these hearts that hunger for it. It may help and soothe and ease, but it doesn't fill. And maybe it’s why the ones in the spotlight keep warning against it—because they’ve found that even the spotlight doesn’t fill the hollow hurt in longing hearts.

And they don’t want us to spend our whole lives hoping that it will.

What is the answer then? What is the salve for hearts left hollow by both the silence and the applause? What is the hope for hearts that can sustain neither the quiet nor the crowds, that cannot thrive in the shadows nor the spotlight?

The hope is the gaze of a Father, the tender care of One who tends the tired, the easy joy of One who celebrates our every win--One who is never threatened or tired or distracted. The hope is knowing that He sees even the mundane things that will never bring us fame. The hope is knowing that He notices even what we’ve done in secret silence.

It will be enough--His gaze. But we have to experience it in a way that is real.

I’m praying it for me, and I’m praying it for you.

That we would look up and realize that we've not just caught the Lord's eye but that His eye is fixed upon us.

That He would make His love and care tangible and evident and real this week.

That we would be changed in the constant presence of a Father before whom no calling is small and no task is insignificant.

That we would be made steadfast in the faithfulness of a Savior whose promises are sure.

That His love would give us the space we need to move freely and the security we need to move boldly.

That He would be pleased with our lives, whether in the quiet or the crowds.

That our character would sustain our lives because our God sustains us.

May we love our Lord more as we close our eyes tonight than we did when we opened them this morning. May we know something more of His love as well. And may we give more hugs than we withhold. Keep doing the hidden things. You're not really so hidden after all.

Happy Tuesday!