Who Do You Think You Are?
As I stood there and looked myself in the mirror, all of these thoughts began to come to mind. Enough! This has gone way too far. Who do you think you are? What are you trying to start here? The nerve of you! I'm going to put a stop to this. I don't like you. I don't like the way you look. As a matter of fact, I think I might just get rid of you.
You're probably thinking that is a horrible way to talk to myself. Well, let me explain.
I was actually addressing the first grey hair I've noticed come into my mustache. It sticks out like a sore thumb. It looks out of place. It's different. I don't like it, and it makes me uncomfortable. I had just started getting used to the onslaught that came in my beard, but now this? Listen. I've made peace with the grey in my beard. I've even accepted the thinning hair on my head. But my mustache? Now you've gone too far!
| The Pressure of the Pioneer |
As I stood there and examined the single grey hair in my mustache, it made me consider what it must feel like to be a pioneer. It takes courage to do something that has never seen before. The pioneer usually faces backlash and criticism. The pioneer is often misunderstood. The pioneer is considered a threat to the norm. People fear what they don't understand. They don't like the idea of things going against the grain. They will do anything in their power to stop it.
I know, because I'd love nothing more than to put a stop to this grey hair. I could certainly pluck it out, but I know that would only be a temporary fix. The hair would just return even stronger. In fact, I know that the influence that this grey hair brings is enough to inspire others to turn grey as well. It's like there is an uprising happening right within my very own mustache, and this single hair is boldly leading the charge. He's not afraid to be different. He's not afraid to lead. He's not afraid of what people will say about him.
| Who Told You That? |
Although I was talking to that grey hair in my mustache, there have been moments when I have looked in the mirror and had those same thoughts about myself. Who am I to do something different? Am I really cut out to be a leader? Maybe I should just stick to the script and not break the mold. I wonder what people will say about me. It's like there is an oppressive narrative designed to stop me from walking in the fullness of what I can be. But where is this oppression coming from? Are these thoughts from me or from some other source? And why are they so loud?
These thoughts certainly don't come from the Lord. God calls His people to be different and set apart. Scripture says that we are a royal priesthood and a chosen generation. It says that we are the salt of the Earth. It's a privilege to be different, so why does it sometimes feel like more of a burden than a gift?
| People, People, People |
Some of the ideas that the Lord gives me are unconventional. They don't look, sound, and feel like things that others have done. They are original and imaginative. I get excited to produce something that bears my signature, but then I begin to second guess myself. What if people are not ready for this yet? What if people don't understand the artistry behind this? What if people don't see me as a musician, or an actor, or a playwright? What if people think I am outside of my element? What if people think I'm doing too much?
These thoughts show up and I begin to scale it back a bit. I water it down. I start to tweak things to look and sound more like what people are used to and what's en vogue. People are not ready for grey hair, so let me produce this product with black hair so everyone can receive it. Let me go along with the get along and fall in line with everyone else. The status quo is safe. It's risk free. And it's comfortable. The status quo doesn't have to worry about criticism. It doesn't stress over failure because it's just doing the same thing that everyone does.
All of these thoughts are designed to confine us, so that we don't ever step outside of our comfort zone. I heard a great quote from a sermon called "The I Am Army" by Pastor Gary Price. He said, "If the devil can define you, he can confine you to bind you." Basically, it means that when we embrace a definition, it limits us from being abstract and stepping out of that box. "I am a prophet. That's my specialty. Therefore, God can't use me to heal to someone. All I do is prophesy."
Man, that is so true. For most of my life, I've been in the bondage of living up to my definition as a reserved intellectual. I would only crack jokes and goof off around my closest friends because others didn't know that side of me. I only expressed myself around my close friends because I didn't feel like I could show that side of myself to others. I was labeled quiet, shy, and reserved. I dare not act out of character around coworkers, casual acquaintances, or heaven forbid... strangers. Somewhere down the line, I bought into this notion that I can't be my true self around everyone, but who told me that?
| Dying to Live |
At some point, we all need to abandon the lies that we have bought into. God gave us all distinct fingerprints that are unique to us. We all know that once you get one grey hair, the rest begin to come in, but it takes courage to be the first. Are we willing to put ourselves out there and take the heat that comes with being a pioneer? ...even if it results in someone trying to take you out? Jesus certainly did. He explained it this way in John 12:24 Verily, verily I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Sometimes bearing fruit requires dying. It means having dirt thrown on you and people trampling over you. For the believer, dying looks like obeying God in spite of what people think. Dying looks like denying self and the fear and rejection that come to rob you of your destiny. Dying looks like not being ashamed to be different in the midst of criticism. Dying looks like being misunderstood. People may say that you are out of line. They may not even like what you produce, but like Jesus, our goal is to do the will of our Father. Like the grey hair, Christ was taken out, but resurrected with all power in His hands. Like the grey hair, He was able to influence others to be like Him. So whenever you look in the mirror and that strange voice asks, "Who do you think you are?!" You can respond, "I am exactly who God says I am."