Dressing for One

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. In this Fall’s issue of Charlotte Living, one of Charlotte’s greatest philanthropists and men of God, Reverend Tony Marciano, contributed a powerful article entitled, “Who Do You Get Dressed For?” I have to admit that I’ve read this article many times this week, particularly this anecdote that he shares: “I once read where a fan said to a famous person, ‘I wish I had your life. I see so many exciting things happening on Facebook.’ The actress replied, ‘Facebook is wrapping paper. I’m only showing the best parts of my life there. Do you want to know the truth of my life? My marriage is rocky, my kids aren’t doing well, and I’m not happy.’ The fan went silent.” Pastor Steven Furtick, of Charlotte’s Elevation Church, famously puts it this way, “Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.” I have to admit that I’m a Facebook junkie and get all caught up in the beauty of the lives of others. If we were really honest, I think we could all relate, and we all know that it can take us down a trail of disappointments, cobwebs of depression and potholes of inadequacy if we aren’t careful. We can so quickly be robbed of joy and venture into a dangerous territory of discontentment with the season that the Lord has chosen for us. Even when things look like they are nice and neatly packaged up with an amazing, beautiful children, and a loving husband, there are still internal wrestling matches I engage in that zap my joy at times. As I sank into my favorite seat at church on Sunday next to the stained glass window, I had to admit it – I was drained. Tired. Weary. I’m a firm believer that the Holy Spirit intercedes in the midst of every situation to speak directly to the hearer, and this article and that sermon were undoubtedly meant to both convict and encourage me. Our pastor spoke to us about allowing God to carry us through the heart of our trials. Then I looked right beside that beautiful stained glass window and saw the plaque picture above. I wasn't the "Anne" on the plaque, but the message was certainly meant just for me. Then this article further pushed me to seek my own heart about how I’m letting my choice of media consumption and endless comparison not only rob my job but sink more deeply into my self-pity. My prayer for myself – and for you – is this: that my joy would be found in the promises made in His word to me. Not in the competing and noisy lives featured in my feed. The Lord hand-selected each one of us to be sitting the unique position where we are now. And no amount of filters or shares will validate or steal that. My joy is my duty and my treasure to protect. I dress for an audience of One.