Sitting in the front row biting my lip, defeating thoughts ran through my mind. “Who am I to stand and speak before these people? I’m just a homeschooling mom with fifteen extra pounds (ok, maybe twenty) that I try to hide underneath my baggy shirt. I struggle and I don’t have it all together. What if they find out what I’m really like?
Shame hides behind thoughts like that, telling us that if people really knew us, they would see that *gasp* we are just ordinary people.
But God has a track record of taking the ordinary and using them to do something extraordinary, for His glory. King David knew who he was— a shepherd boy. The runt of the pack, his father did not even mention him as his son when the prophet Samuel asked to see all of his sons.
Oh, how I remember feeling that way as a child, wanting to avoid being seen, and yet being seen is what my heart so desperately craved.
𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐛𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐦𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡.
But instead, I was seen and ridiculed . . . when I was given the “ugly award” and a comb as my prize at a Girl Scouts sleepover . . . when I was a chubby batgirl running to get bats . . . when people threatened to beat me up . . . when I was the last one picked on a team.
All of these hurts I carried forward without realizing it. Yet in this moment of feeling so conspicuous as I spoke to the precious women God had called me to speak to, I realized that nothing defined me—not my past, my failures or my successes. And my weaknesses? They qualified me.
𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐞, 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐥𝐥. 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐤𝐚𝐲 𝐢𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞.
As Nathan the prophet spoke of David’s present and future, David was overwhelmed by God’s favor and his humble position:
“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, ‘Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, O God, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! You speak as though I were someone very great, O Lord God! What more can I say to you about the way you have honored me? You know what your servant is really like.’” 1 Chronicles 17:16-18 NLT
𝐁𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠.
We know our weaknesses and sometimes choose to be limited and defined by them. We know that God is the One Who deserves all the praise. And yet He shares praise, removes our shame and replaces it with honor:
“𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒈𝒐𝒏𝒆, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒚𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒎𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒆𝒚𝒆𝒔, 𝑵𝒐𝒘 𝑰 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒏𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒂𝒔 𝒇𝒂𝒎𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝒂𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒉.”
David. The forgotten son. A shepherd boy. One of the least esteemed positions in that culture, made famous by God. But God knows what He is doing. This gift of favor and fame was not wasted. He knew that David’s heart was after His and what David would do with that praise – offer it back to God for His glory:
1 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒊𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒔 17: 20, 24(𝒂) (𝑵𝑳𝑻)
“𝑶 𝑳𝒐𝒓𝒅, 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖. 𝑾𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒂𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝑮𝒐𝒅 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒀𝒐𝒖! 𝑨𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒂𝒚 𝒀𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒏𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒃𝒆 𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒐𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒔𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒔𝒂𝒚, ‘𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒐𝒓𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝑯𝒆𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒏’𝒔 𝑨𝒓𝒎𝒊𝒆𝒔, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑮𝒐𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝑰𝒔𝒓𝒂𝒆𝒍, 𝒊𝒔 𝑰𝒔𝒓𝒂𝒆𝒍’𝒔 𝑮𝒐𝒅!’
David sought to use any fame, any platform that God gave him for others to know God as the one true God. The Apostle Paul also knew his own shortcomings but was used mightily by God. A murderer of God’s people, he was not exactly a candidate to be God’s spokesperson:
“𝑩𝒖𝒕 𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒅, ‘𝑴𝒚 𝒈𝒊𝒇𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒏𝒆𝒆𝒅. 𝑴𝒚 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒔 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒆𝒂𝒌.’ 𝑺𝒐 𝒊𝒇 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕 𝒌𝒆𝒆𝒑𝒔 𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒆 𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓, 𝑰 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒈𝒍𝒂𝒅𝒍𝒚 𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒈 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒘𝒆𝒂𝒌 𝑰 𝒂𝒎.”
We don’t have to hide the “ugly parts” of who we think we are or look to other fallen people to give us worth. Pride tells us to cover our weaknesses in shame. But it is in professing our weaknesses that we find the incredible freedom to just be ourselves. No more performing to try and measure up to what God has already attained. And self-consciousness disappears when we become conscious of who we are in Christ.
Our God knows what we are really like and accepts us. There is no need to worry about someone finding out the “real deal”; that behind all the favor is just a weak vessel and a good God who deserves all of the praise. And when God honors me, I will gladly move aside to let Him receive all of the glory so others will know what He is really like.