The highlight reel is the place where we come and sort of brag about the highlight's of our lives. But if we aren't careful, the highlight reel can steal our lives and our identities. We can become slaves to the criticism or the applause.
Author Jon Acuff says we should have people we come to and share our exciting life events with...he calls this place the "brag table". Jon says, "Celebrating some accomplishment or goal doesn't make you a jerk...Being vulnerable about your failures is only half of the story; you have to be vulnerable enough to share your successes too." (from the book, "Start" by Jon Acuff, pages 184-185).
Oh dang. That is difficult for me. Pride is a funny thing because the flip-side of it is insecurity. If you acknowledge that you struggle with one, you're silently acknowledging your struggle with the other. My fear of pride often gives way to insecurity seeping from every pore of my body and either way it seeps out, I'm covered in a gross mess.
Insecurity beckons false humility. It's still a self-centered "me" mindset, albeit focus is on the flaws of who you think you are, but self-focus remains at the root. It's the part of me that cannot accept a compliment. My friend Lisa used to tell me, "Jessica, stop throwing away my compliments." GREAT life advice. It's okay to receive compliments and praise. I want to learn to receive it well, don't you?
And now may I introduce the flip-side of insecurity. She is cloaked in fabulousness and does she ever know it. Her name is Pride. And Pride beckons applause.
Lady Gaga sings it:
"I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause
Live for the applause-plause
Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause
Give me that thing that I love (I'll turn the lights on)
Put your hands up, make 'em touch, touch (make it real loud)
Give me that thing that I love (I'll turn the lights on)"
How frightening. "Give me that thing that I love. Put your hands up. I live for the applause." Pride. Self-worship. Scary. Scary because I step easily between the insecurity trap directly into the pride trap. And scary because scripture is clear that Pride comes before a fall. Pride comes and brings with her her BFF, disgrace (Proverbs 11:2). I've lived in enough self-induced disgrace to know that I don't want to be her friend anymore.
So how do we strike a balance between self-depravation (insecurity) and applause (pride)?
First of all, we have to be grounded in something bigger than ourselves. Knowing that I am God's child should shoot HUGE God-sized wholes through my insecurity, while keeping me humble that I am the created, not the Creator, thus keeping my pride at bay. Knowing I'm called to the high purpose of serving people will keep my knees bowed low before the mighty God of the universe and when I am bowed low I can neither be puffed up with pride nor depressed by insecurity. I cry out to you to "get low" today!
And here's my final thoughts for today, and I don't offer these lightly because they are my biggest struggle in this season of my life:
Don't let what other people do for you, or don't do for you, be a reflection of what you deserve! What they do or don't do is a reflection of who THEY ARE, not a reflection of who you are. Don't let it define you.
We can be slaves to criticism and also to applause. So get low before God today so that the only One you're slave to is big enough to never exploit you!
Last week was a big week for me with the premier of Studio 7. My family and friends were incredibly gracious to me - reflections of who they are and Who they serve!
Can I bring a few things to the brag table??