Last Wednesday, our church held its monthly Wednesday night service called Encounter. The very first one ever was held the day after my mom had the heart attack that eventually took her to Heaven, so you can probably see how these services have become pretty special to me. I don’t miss them, but last Wednesday spina bifida reared its ugly head, and I felt kinda like death. I contemplated not going, but some very small, very determined part of me continued to get dressed as I took care of the SB issues trying to ruin my day. I told James, “It’s Encounter. I’m going. We can leave if we have to, but I’m showing up!”
So, sick me got in the truck and off we went to God’s house. Where better to be than God’s house when you’re sick? Need a doctor? I know One.
We sat in the back, just in case I decided I wasn’t up for the challenge and needed to go home. And then the Pastor said something new. He wanted all of the young people to come to the front of the church to help lead the others in worship. So I sat there and waited for the young people to go…until he said, “If you’re 20 something or under, come on up!” and James and my girlfriend both stared at me. Darn James and his 30 somethingness.
So, sick me went to the front, hoping I wouldn’t straight die in front of all my friends. As I stood there worshiping, I forgot I was sick. I started to feel better. Crazy, huh?
We were standing there worshiping, and I guess the others were worshiping with us, when the Pastor started praying over each individual “young person” in the front. I’m still not sure how I made the cut of “young person,” but hey! I’ll take it!
When it came to my time to be prayed for, I got nervous because usually God chooses to read my diary through a sermon or my own personal quiet time with Him…not through my Pastor, directly in my ear, in front of the whole church! Ha! But I trust Him, so I didn’t run for the hills.
The first thing the Pastor said was, “It’s not about performing.” I didn’t get it. Not at all. I am a crazy, hot mess, and everyone knows it. I don’t put on any shows. I would have just blown it off as a miss, but he said it no less than 4 other times during my prayer. He prayed a lot of other really beautiful and (I thought) more relevant things over me, but the next day those words, “It’s not about performing,” stuck with me. I couldn’t let it go. All day long. So, I asked God to tell me what was going on here. If this was relevant, I wanted to know what we were talking about. So, I pulled on His pants leg (does He wear pants?) until the next day when I finally understood.
Somewhere along in my life, the world gave me this idea that I had to do what people thought I should do in order to make them happy with me. They’d be mad at me or think I was “less,” or even just plain drop me if I didn’t do the next right thing. Go to college. Get a good job. Get married. Have babies. Do all the right things, in the right order, that all the other good, successful people do. Say the right things to the right people. Don’t screw up. Be impressive! Can anyone say, “PERFORMING???!!!”
I didn’t even know I was doing it. I was living my life according to what the world views as success…and royally screwing a lot of it up. Some of it, my marriage in particular, I have by the grace of God, not screwed up. Other things (college) I’m just really bad at, and probably not built for. I had about 6 different majors, and I quit all of them. Ifailuniversity.com. <–I hope that isn’t a real website!
Here’s what God says to me though, and you too…”It’s not about performing!”
I cannot do enough right things, or say enough right words, or unscrew-up enough things, or dance enough right dances, to make Him love me more or see me as “good enough.” The truth is, I’m not good enough. I can’t do it. Not a chance.
Here’s the good part…
He knows. He doesn’t operate in how high I can jump (um…I can’t), or how well I did in college, or how good my marriage looks. The world operates this way, but I don’t have to, because the only way I operate at all is because God says I can. He operates in, “It is finished.” Jesus performed for me. He did all the right things, in the right order, for His Father, so I can do what I’m built for without fear of messing up. And because He calls me His friend, I kinda get to follow Him around and do whatever He’s doing. Jesus is good enough, and He says I can hang with Him because we’re friends. He won’t drop me because I said or did the wrong thing. He loves me enough that He did it right FOR me. It’s time to learn a new song and dance. I think it’s called Freedom.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Ephesians 3:12 In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.