“I’m an artist.”
Recently, I’ve been reading the book Embracing Obscurity and wow have I needed to hear all that this gifted anonymous author has to say…
“In an attempt to be a somebody, have you—like me and so many others—adopted an impressive subtitle?”
I had no idea at the time that I read this line out of the book, but “artist” has been my self-appointed subtitle for the past 20 years. Why couldn’t I see? Pride blinds. It builds itself up like the tides rise, and we don’t notice until we are in up to our necks and we are literally FORCED to cry out to God… because the prospect of drowning is near.
This pretty much encapsulates the past several months of my life. I took a leap of faith, applied to the design school at my university, and waited. I have never been told “no” when it comes to my artwork. This wasn’t something that I went around bragging about, yet the tides were rising. Every time I received an acceptance letter, an award, approving looks from people admiring “my work”… even as people complimented me on my humility, my pride swelled. Each “yes” I received was building this unspoken and unrealized belief in my heart that nobody could tell me “no”. Until they did.
When God choses to break our pride, it hurts. But it’s with every intention of establishing his kingdom in our hearts that He does so… and wow is that worth it.
Experiencing rejection in an area of my life where I firmly believed I couldn’t experience it, hurt. A lot. And so with receiving the “we regret to inform you” letter, I mourned the loss of the direct path that I had constructed for my life, the loss of my comfort, and the loss my subtitle. But by grace, God shows up in mighty ways in our seasons of mourning, and my unknown pride HAD to be exposed for me to allow Christ to reign where pride once resided.
“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” Psalm 10:4
Uplifting stuff, right? The truth is, sometimes what we really need isn’t to be uplifted. Walking with God is about allowing Him to enter into our dark areas and to shine light so brightly into them that although we are uncomfortably exposed for a moment, we are eternally changed. THAT is sanctification.
I believe that God is in the business of wrecking our plans to establish the greater ones that He holds. Although people who are familiar with the Bible or know a lot of people who are might think that Jeremiah 29:11 is a little over-used, I urge you to allow God to use it to breathe new life into your situation.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
God didn’t need to tell us this. His greatness is unchanging regardless of whether we believe it or not. But He loves us enough to offer us this word of comfort when we don’t know our forwards from our backwards, or are drowning in the depth of our pride up to our necks. Each little insight that God has given me into His plan for me since I received my “bad news” has been by grace and grace alone.
We can cement our hope in the almighty and sovereign character of God that this verse displays, knowing that by doing so, we find a TRUE source of security. Every insecurity we experience is a result of placing our identity in the wrong place (ourselves). I know this too well. Instead, we must become nothing in light of God’s everything (from Embracing Obscurity).
Counting on yourself, and ultimately on pride, to carry you through is like building on sinking sand. Friends, lay your foundations in His splendor and rest assured that His love won’t let you crumble.
“For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.”