That's how you spell my name. Yep - I'm a slacker, and I know it.
Last week was Thanksgiving, so that's an excuse in itself. And I hurt my back Sunday evening playing Flag Football. So... there. That's another excuse.
I could go all day with excuses. I'm full of them! But I won't put you through that...
Kicking it down a "serious notch", or two... I'm a slacker in way more ways than in just the blogosphere. And I want to share it with you. I'm going to be real - some of it is going to sound weird. Some of it will sound normal. Some of it will sound confusing. But it's real. It's one of those "ah-hah!" moments I've had over the past few weeks and it's been getting stronger and clearer since the first time it slapped me across the face.
So here's the thing: do you ever get those gifts at Christmas that you kind've have to over-act grateful for? I mean don't get me wrong - you're totally appreciative that someone took the time and money to get you a gift and that means a lot in itself, but it's one of those gifts that... well... they don't fit your personality, and yet you feel obligated to display it or wear it so that the giver will see it?!
Well, if we're honest, we've all gotten at least ONE of those gifts. Especially if you've gotten married - you get those random "what in the world?!" kinds of gifts. Right?! It's totally weird, too. I mean, what am I going to do with a ceramic white and gold statue of a bride and groom for the rest of my life after I've already gotten married? Let's just say... it doesn't quite fit into my decor. But I feel like I have to keep it (...if only for the simple fact that I can't bear to re-gift it and be thought of in the same way I thought of the giver, and it's too nice to throw into the trash can or give to goodwill. What's a girl to do?!).
Unfortunately, I think we do this with the gifts that God gives us. At least I know that I'm WAY guilty of that. Am I only the only one?!
I mean, imagine how the person that gave you that not-so-fantastic gift came over and saw the Christmas sweater they made for you sitting in the garbage cans outside. It would suck, right?!
So when God gives you a gift, it's for a reason. And he doesn't give you a little cushion of gifting in that area just in case you decide to use it... No, he gives it to you so that you can use all of it. He wants you to rock that gift's world! He wants you to wear it out like it's been out of style since the 80s and you're JUST now realizing it. He wants you to because he owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and he'll keep replenishing that gifting over and over and over again.
This gift isn't a box of Girl Scout cookies that you're trying to savor slowly until they start selling them again next year - this is more like the unlimited supply of said girl scout cookies (and can I just take a time out to say that I would be TOTALLY fantastic with the idea of unlimited, year-round girl scout cookies?! I'm just saying...).
And this is where I've been failing lately (with the giftings, not the girl scout cookies). I'm really only using between 40 and 60% of the gifts that God has given me.
Over the past few weeks, I have had the same recurring dream several times. It's not one of those dreams that are warm and fuzzy and then by noon, when you finally get to tell your best bud about it, you're all kinds of fuzzy on the details. It's more like the super vivid dream that you couldn't forget if you WANTED to!
Anywho... back to the dream: I'm standing on a stage and singing. I'm not just singing, I mean I'm SANGIN'! You know the difference... singing is when you stand there are pretty and sing on pitch and only suffice to meet everyone's expectations. It's pretty. People are smiling. The little old ladies in the 2nd row are clapping softly off-beat with you. And then you walk off stage and breathe a sigh of relief that it's over and spend the next few hours over-analyzing the way you "delivered" the song. But SANGIN' is when you just belt it. You put EVERYTHING you've GOT into that song. You sing like the lives of every little baby around the world depends on it. It's like Cristina Aguilera ain't got NOTHING on you when you're singing this song. You're owning that song.
That's the difference.
The most important difference between the two?
When you SANG, he's just totally captivated by the gift that he's given you. He's the proudest father. The one clapping the loudest at your grand finally. He's BEEMING with pride in having given you the PERFECT gift!! He just KNEW that you'd use it this way. He just knew it!! And he couldn't be happier.
God loves your singing. He really does. But when you just sing the song, as happy as he is that you're using that gift he's given you, it's like he's turned to look back as he left the Christmas party at your house, and through that window saw you throwing that sweater that you hate so much into the trash can. Or using it to wipe up the mess you just made when you spilled the 7-layer dip on the kitchen floor as you were cleaning up. You are slapping God in the face and saying "Yeah, it's a cool gift and all, but my fear of humiliation, my fear of what people will think, my worry that people will judge me as a show-off is way more important than the extent of your silly little gift." Because, after all... people are the ones you have to live with everyday, right?! They're the ones you have to answer to when you walk off that stage afterwards...
Well, in my dream, I'm just jamming. I am Sangin' His Eye is On the Sparrow. I mean, I am kicking that song's musical butt! And people are being touched by it! They're being given Hope that they hadn't seen in years. Filled with Joy that they hadn't ever felt before. That simple old song that we've all heard a dozen times - it was really meeting people where they were.
All because I was using the gift that God has given me to it's capacity. I was fulfilling a purpose.
God doesn't give a bird wings so that he can walk around flappin' them at each other. He gives them wings so they can fly. That's their purpose, but it can't be met unless they truly use their wings to their fullest ability.
So why are we any different? Why do we laugh at God's "cute" little giftings? They aren't "cute" - they're ordained! They are put there for a reason, and not just to be looked at and imagined.
A few months back, when our church was between Worship leaders, I stepped in, some, and helped lead worship when they needed me. The problem? I was not only TERRIFIED, which isn't a bad thing in itself, but I was still only dabbing my big toe in to see if the water was cold when I would sing. I didn't truly lead people in worship. Heck no - I just sang the main part of the song, like I was some kind of a sing-along worship CD that you play in the car on the way to work in the morning.
Can God use that? Yes. Absolutely. No question. Did he? No doubt. But had I used the gift he had given me to actually LEAD people in worship, we could've experience a level of worship that was on a whole new playing field.
But instead of was worried about saying the wrong thing between songs, so I didn't say anything. I was too nervous that my Sanging would distract people, so I just sang the song like we all knew it.
And that wasn't the point. NONE of that should've mattered. And no matter how many times I was told that people truly need some encouragement in worship and truly need to be led, no matter how much I told myself "You can do this. They need this. YOU need this...", once I got up on stage, I froze. I was worried about the band getting my signals. I was worried about singing the wrong verse and misleading the vocalists that were singing with me. I was frozen in my own anxiety.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've been a slacker with the gift God has given me, and I need to get off my butt and start using it the way that he gave it to me, not just the way that I'm comfortable or the way that I always have in the past.
Comfort zones are just that - they're comfortable. But they aren't God-made. They are totally, completely, 100% man-made. And if everyone played it "safe", then no one would ever hear about him. Or feel his love. Or wake up and realize that he has so much more for them than they could ever accomplish within their own strength. But we have GOT to learn to break down those stupid comfortable walls, and stop building them again once things get stormy. We're missing SO MUCH of what he's given us. Why doesn't that keep us up at night? Why doesn't that bother us like it should? Because we're just staying inside of our safe-ness. Comfortable in our cozy little comfort zones... stupid little things.
What gift are hiding behind? What talents have you been given, but are too worried to shine in? In what ways are you a Slacker?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
That's how you spell my name. Yep - I'm a slacker, and I know it.