Pedestals Cause Nose Bleeds
When I began writing I didn’t feel qualified; four books later that hasn’t changed. I was nervous about writing correctly, about trying to capture the lesson I felt God was teaching me etc. I am not a theologian, nor an intellectual so writing a book seemed like a huge black hole to me. In short I had no idea what I was doing but I felt this fire stirring inside me and I just had to press on in obedience to what I felt God was saying.
When I finally got a rough (very rough) draft put together I asked my pastor if he would read it and give me feedback. I am so blessed to have a pastor who has a great ability to explain Scripture and convey it in easy to understand ways. In fact he has such a passion for God’s word that I was sure his feedback would be full of comments pointing me to additional passages, commentaries and helpful tips. In short I was expecting a lot of red pen marks.
I knew he was incredibly busy and was so thankful he agreed to read it that I had no problem waiting however long for the feedback I knew was coming. Much to my surprise I walked into church one Sunday not long after I had given the manuscript to him only to see him making a beeline to me and carrying it to me before church started. I can’t even tell you how hard it was not to tear into the pages and start looking at his many notes. However, I was serving on the worship team that day and needed to get to the stage. I safely stowed the pages and waited. I felt God calling me to wait even after worship was over so I could focus on the sermon instead of my book.
After church a friend invited me over to her house for lunch. I told her I would be there soon and just wanted to drive thru and pick up something to drink. I carried everything to my car and headed toward her house. I got as far as the local Burger King before I just couldn’t take it. I pulled in behind several cars waiting in the drive thru and reached for the manuscript.
What I didn’t expect was that the only thing my pastor loves equally to God’s word is God’s people. As I frantically flipped through page after page I only saw a couple notes in the margin but they weren’t at all what I expected. As I flipped through nearly all the pages I saw that there were only a couple words written in the whole manuscript. In two spots he made the comment “Good point”. As I placed my drink order and edged forward a little I sat stunned and wondering what to think about the missing corrections and notes. It was then that I noticed on the last page there was an entire paragraph written where the manuscript ended. It filled up nearly half a page. Ok, I thought, he waited till there was enough room to write everything I needed to correct. I dove into reading the paragraph truly wanting his feedback. My car was now next in line to the drive thru window as I read his comments. By the time I was to pull up to the window I did so with tears in my eyes. My pastor wrote how the book moved him and how it stirred his heart to live a covenant lifestyle and to step deeper into the role of patriarch of his family. My heart was overwhelmed at God’s goodness in helping me capture His message in a way that impacted someone so much. I was overwhelmed that God had blessed me with a pastor who walks humbly with God and is always ready to learn from those around him, to support them in their calling and to see God’s kingdom come.
When the book was released and feedback started to come in I was quick to remember that all praise and glory belongs to God. It is His message and His place of glory not mine. I was so blessed by how my pastor, who I consider so much better at conveying the Word of God, chose to read the book as an opportunity to learn about God and to grow in relationship to Him. It set my feet firmly on the ground and my face looking only to God. You see it can be very easy to stumble into a place where we allow man’s feedback to bolster our emotions or to receive acknowledgment for our efforts. As humans our soul longs to be valued, to feel acceptable, to be lifted up by other’s opinions. I have seen this over and over in the publishing industry and while marketing and promotion is necessary to get the message out to a wider audience it is an area of caution too. Any time we allow man’s opinion to elevate us or define our worth or serve as a measure of our identity we are being raised up by the flesh on a pedestal, which can only deliver two results; a disconnect from people and a nose bleed from height or a very great fall because we were not born to be put on pedestals.
I write this to first remind myself to always be on my face before God; swift to seek His direction and eager to learn and be transformed ever more into His image. Secondly, to encourage all of us to give all praise to Him and to walk humbly before Him and our brothers and sisters. We all need each other and we are all called to spur one another on in love.
Not everyone is called to write a book, but it’s not about that specific type of activity it’s about every part of the body doing what it is purposed to do. In short, this message applies to anything that He has called us to do but even more it is a reminder that our calling is first and foremost to be in relationship with Him.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,”
Colossians 3:23 NKJV