Inspirational

The Small Role We Play

I remember little Elementary School plays.

 

I was never out to be the lead. I was comfortable accepting a supporting role or a walk-on/non-speaking role. 

 

But, I believe a lot of us clamored a bit for that spotlight. Maybe you were one of those that did above and beyond to stand out for the lead roles. 

 

The night of the performance, emotions are high. Parents and grandparents fill the room, cameras in hand, whispering to other parents what parts their children have in the production. Each exchanging several adjectives describing their child and how they’ve spent weeks preparing for this night.  

 

Lights dim.

 

Spotlight ready.  

 

Curtain goes up.  

 

Music begins.  

 

And so begins several scenes. The actors, the stage hands, the background, all collide in a dance that represents weeks of preparation and careful planning.  

 

I was reading Revelation this morning.

 

Talk about a book filled to overflowing with dramatic scenes and characters. This book takes the Oscar for Best Picture, for sure. 

 

There’s this heavenly scene in chapters 4 and 5 that pierced my heart through.  

 

John is transported to Heaven, in the Spirit. 

 

He begins describing the scene. First, he’s instantly taken with the “someone” on the throne.  

 

This being had the appearance of “jasper and carnelian” (vs.3), which is the color of red, for those of you who aren’t aware.  

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The jasper represents Gods holiness and carnelian, His wrath.  

 

A rainbow surrounded the throne and had the appearance of an emerald. We all know that emeralds are green, but I bet you didn’t know that they represent Gods grace and mercy. It’s a promise and it’s never-ending. 

 

He describes these creatures filled with eyes, the sights and sounds that are coming from the throne, and the never-ending song of the creatures:

”Holy, holy, holy

Lord God, the Almighty

who was, and is, and is to come.” 

 

Day and night they sing. And day and night they cast their crowns before His throne. Never bored. Never weary from this loop of adoration.  

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Here’s the part where we come in. 

 

There’s a scroll in God’s hand, sealed with seven seals. An angel loudly shouts for someone to open the scroll. But, no one, both in Heaven and on earth was worthy to do so. 

 

John begins to weep uncontrollably because no one is found worthy to do this task. 

 

Then, the Lamb of God is found standing in the midst of the throne. The climax of the scene. Every moment prior has led up to this.  

He takes the scroll out of God’s hand.  

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The four eye-filled creatures and the twenty-four elders begin bowing down in worship to the Lamb.  

 

“Each one of them had both a harp and golden bowls (plural) filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”  (5:8) 

 

And there we are. 

 

Thats our part in this breathtaking scene.  

 

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Just a little puff of smoke. So insignificant. Held in these spectacular bowls of pure gold, we are the puffs of air rising to the throne of God.  

 

Do you understand how incredible, and yet, extremely humbling this is? 

 

Here the God of Creation is surrounded by glory. Sounded by songs and light and perfection and beauty and indescribable things. And while He’s being praised, night and day, day and night, without ceasing, here we are: little puffs of smoke coming from the bowls of the creatures who sing beautiful songs of holiness to Him without ceasing.  

 

And yet, YET, He includes our prayers, our words, in this scene of glory and worship.  

 

He loves to hear from those who follow Him so much, that He includes our words in the ultimate worship scene of Heaven.  

 

And the fact that He’s never too “overwhelmed” by all this action to not take it all in. The singing, the prayers, the setting...it would all be too much for us human folk.  

 

Yikes. I get to “going to implode” status if two kids are talking at once, music is playing in the background, and I’m trying to send my husband a text message. I nearly scream from the overload.

 

But, not our God. Our God is immeasurably perfect and sustaining and beyond our full understanding, that a scene like this is just a regular day to Him. It’s His Home. It’s why we need to remember how big He is and how nothing we are.  

 

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So. I ask you now; how do you plan to add yourself to that scene today?  

 

How long has it been since you talked to your Creator? Because, He clearly loves to listen to you. It’s part of His continuous worship service. 

 

And how can you humble yourself today? Remember, you’re just this little supporting role. A speck of air. A poof of smoke. Not dazzling. Not glorious by any stretch. Yet, this amazing God we serve sees our speaking to Him as important enough to put our names in His playbill. 

 

Meditate on this today.  

 

And maybe, you can just join the beings in that throne room and sing the words that they never stop singing:  

“Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty

who was, and is, and is to come.” 

 

Amen.  

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Finding God in Your Fear

Have you ever been in a haunted house before, or maybe one of those haunted trails?  

 

Every October, without fail, signs go up all over my small town. Even billboards advertise these experiences where we can get the crap scared out of us. 

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I really don’t see the appeal. Maybe I’m strange.

 

I don’t enjoy scary movies either. In fact, I just hate the feeling of being afraid altogether. I guess I don’t see the point in running toward something that will get your heart racing and maybe even your panties wet. 

 

Some of us don’t need haunted houses or scary movies to get a good fear buzz. We live in fear each and every day.   

 

I’m talking about those of us that suffer, year-round, in Anxietyville.

 

Literally, the scariest “Ville” you’ll ever put yourself through. In fact, it’s so scary, we may as well advertise and charge for people to come and experience it. I could’ve been making a fortune. 

 

I’m no gardener. In fact, I have a bit of a pukish-green thumb. Not a black thumb. I don’t kill everything I touch. Just maybe half of it. 

 

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When I planted a seed of fear and anxiety in my heart nearly three years ago, I became a master at babying that little seed.

 

I’d water it daily. Gave it all the sun and fresh air it desired. I sang to it, talked to it, and told it to grow, grow, grow.  

 

And then, when it grew so large, and so healthy, that it began to spill over the little pot I planted it in, I realize that maybe I cared for it a little too well. 

 

When it took over my entire garden, it killed all of the good, delicious foods and herbs I needed to nourish my body. It began killing the other plants. 

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Before I knew it, the plant of fear and anxiety had completely and utterly decimated any signs of life in my garden and it had no plans to slow down.

 

It no longer required my attention anymore. It no longer needed daily watering, tending, or care. It was out of control and I didn’t know how to keep it from growing even more.  

 

When the anxiety and fear in my mind grew out into my body, I would scream and yell and beg God to save me. 

 

I would get angry at Him, wondering why He wasn’t killing this plant for me.

 

After some time, I was convinced that He didn’t care about my trouble. I was convinced that the plant of anxiety and fear was forever to be in my garden, growing more and more rogue everyday. 

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There would be times when I’d figure out ways to make it smaller. I’d spend time pruning or ripping vines from the tangled, mangled mess. I was brave. I was determined. I felt strong in these times. And God was giving me the strength and wisdom to know how best to rid my garden of this mess.

 

Sometimes, I’d feel too weak to care. I’d give in and watch all of my pruning and ripping out go to waste as the vines of my plant grew back twice a long.  

 

I realized that God doesn’t hang out in my garden of fear and anxiety. And when I’m desperately doing the backbreaking work it takes to keep it from going out of control, God is on the other side of the property, in the stillness of a stream, in the falling of leaves, and the soft hum of a bee. 

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Friends, the reason you don’t hear or see God in your fear and anxiety is because He’s not in fear and anxiety. 

 

Fear is loud. Fear is obnoxious and chaotic and toxic. Fear is a life-stealer and a hope-taker. It’s a faith-killer and a death-dealer. God isn’t in that. God isn’t there.  

 

You see, if we want to hear God, we have to quiet our hearts. “Like a weaned child...” we have to calm our souls. We have to seek peace and search for joy.

 

“In Him is perfect Peace.”  

 

I often would wait for my rescuing.

 

I would sit in my garden full of tangled weeds and wait for Him to come and untangle the mess.

I would scream.

I would wail.

All the while becoming more and more bitter as the vines would grow around me, suffocating the death out of me. Notice I said death and not life.

 

There is no living in fear. Just dying

 

Throw down your watering can. Stop taking daily walks out to your garden and go sit by the stream of still waters.

 

Let Him pour His Living Water into your soul. The living water that kills anxiety, fear, and panic and replaces those things with hope, faith, and joy. 

 

The more time you spend on the Living Water side, the more you’ll forget that your tangled garden even existed. 

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So please, stop looking for God in your fear. Because you won’t find Him. 

 

"Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.“ -Deuteronomy 30:15  

 

Choose Life. Choose Joy. Choose Peace. Choose Jesus. 

Embracing the Gift of Rejection

Play it safe.

 

That's the way I would approach life before I opened myself up to constant rejection. 

 

Sometimes, well, a lot of times, just the fear of being rejected can keep us from moving forward. 

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It just so happens that three of the biggest parts of my life are full of rejection and little dashes of acceptance sprinkled here and there. 

 

The thing is, we can't make people accept what we have to offer. 

 

The whole "bringing a horse to water..." creed has never meant more to me, than it does now. I get it...

 

From sharing the Gospel, to showing others a more natural way to approach healthcare, and to encouraging others to give my writing a chance, there's this pattern that follows the sharing of those things that is hard to accept. 

 

"You're project is not what we're looking for..." 

 

"I know I'm going to hell, and I'm okay with that..." 

 

"Thanks, but no thanks..." 

 

"Maybe, next time..." 

 

I could go on and on.  

 

I'll be honest with you: my heart stings each time, sometimes I cry, sometimes I get angry, but every time I think, "If you would just give me a chance."

 

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Embracing rejection is not something that any of us are good at. It's certainly not something that we expect or we get used to.  

 

I consider all of the ones who have really made a difference. Those brave ones that went thru years and years of hearing "Not now...but thanks..." . 

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Over and over and over again.  

 

J.K.Rowling. (The manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was rejected by 12 different publishers before being published). 

Oprah Winfrey. (She was told she should perhaps find another career entirely after being told to stop meshing her emotions through her news reporting). 

Albert Einstein. (Was told he would amount to nothing because he couldn't speak or read until later in childhood). 

Thomas Edison.  (His inventions failed thousands of times before he got it right.) 

Walt Disney.  (Fired because he "lacked imagination"). 

Emily Dickinson. (Less than a dozen of her poems were published while she was alive. They only saw the value of her work posthumously).  

 

I could go on. 

 

Maybe rejection will never leave us smiling. Maybe we won't ever "get over it" every time it comes our way.  

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I believe the way to truly embrace rejection is by understanding that it's just part of the journey.  

 

You may feel that a piece of you chips away with every back turned. But, in reality, the chipping just reminds you that this life is worth living and feeling for. 

 

We can choose to leave the pieces where they fell, or we can pick them up, and make a beautiful mosaic.  

 Maybe our lives are a little like lattes. Swirls of bitter and sweet. Creating a masterpiece of colors and tastes for others to enjoy.  

Maybe our lives are a little like lattes. Swirls of bitter and sweet. Creating a masterpiece of colors and tastes for others to enjoy.  

 

So we just keep sharing anyway. Because the next share could be the next "Yes". If it's important enough to you, you'll keep attempting. Driven purely by the passions within. The passion to get people to finally understand.  

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Because someday, they just might. As long as you keep embracing rejection along the way. 

 

love, Alicia