Tuesday, November 12, 2013

small



If I'm completely honest, I forget my calling sometimes.
Often, in fact.

I'm prone to turning the right thing into something bigger or glitzier than it was ever meant to be.
I feel the need to shine things up a bit. I over-analyze, plumb weird situations for deeper meaning, twist my back turning a phrase into something that will resonate, something that will be remembered. (And by "remembered" I mean "retweeted", of course.)

I'm a thinker and a doer, but on top of that I'm also a writer and a human.
It can get a little sketchy.

I share the urge to be noticed, applauded, adored, high-fived, respected and admired. The problem is, I'm starting to see with tack-sharp clarity the true beauty of feeling forgotten and ignored sometimes, of living a life that makes people scratch their heads before walking away, of flinging my inadequacies at one who manages to make use of them.

God has humbled me so many times in the past couple of years and despite my fervent insistence that I've gotten the memo, He keeps carrying on with His bad self, sizing me up against all He is, proving His greatness in ways that command my attention.

What on earth would happen if I began to truly believe Christ doesn't need me noticed or worthy? What would become of me if I loosened my grip on my reputation and simply stayed low to the ground, doing what He asked without bouncing every possible outcome off my oversaturated opinion of myself?

It's really hard to value less "stuff" in a world of more.
It feels almost impossible to value less me in the face of platforms, followers, pageviews, and pins.

But I believe what He said, that He is much in my little, that the way to more Him is paved with less me. I've lived a life that tempted me to believe I was pretty awesome, so responsible, smart, and savvy. I'm terrified of going back, yet I can't stop looking over my shoulder.

So, this is what I pray right now, with knocking knees: God, keep me small. Let me never taste enough success to believe I earned it. Let my life continue to confuse people. Keep me stammering, fumbling, walking in reverse. 

It's so tempting to turn around and wish for a lie. I do it all the time.

But He shows me, every single day, why this is right. He does trick math with my weaknesses from center stage and loves me through my doubting. I keep on seeing how all the fame is His.

I want more of that.

I want to live small.

**

My rad belt-buckle key-chain was a gift from my friend Becky. You can get yours here but only through November 20th, so better get moving! (Her shop will reopen again in February.) Use the code Shannan15 for 15% off any purchase through the 20th.

35 comments:

  1. There is SO much of this that resonates with my "journey" lately. It is a lesson I thought I had behind me, but apparently not. (Pride goeth before the fall?? :-)

    I want to live low, but daily...sometimes hourly.....I have to knock myself off of my self-made pedestal. Thankful that HE is always there!!

    I pray this too....God, keep me small. Let me never taste enough success to believe I earned it. Let my life continue to confuse people. Keep me stammering, fumbling, walking in reverse.

    Glad none of us are in the trenches alone!

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  2. Shannon, thank u for being so honest, for in your honesty i see myself, and therefore know I am not alone. My humaness can cause loneliness, so it is comforting to really know others are on a journey too, stumble too, and then get up. Your words cause comeraderie among strangers.

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  3. Shannon, thank u for being so honest, for in your honesty i see myself, and therefore know I am not alone. My humaness can cause loneliness, so it is comforting to really know others are on a journey too, stumble too, and then get up. Your words cause comeraderie among strangers.

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  4. Love this post, honesty and open! Thank you so much for sharing that with us today. :-)

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  5. One of my favorite quotes: "It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit."

    TRUTH

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  6. i'm pretty sure you climbed inside of my head and heart and perched there for awhile now. you say exactly what i feel when i don't have the words for it.

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  7. Shannon, I'm so encouraged by this! It's so hard to not feel validated (or discouraged) by the response of other people in our direction. I'm so thankful today that God has already completely validated my worth by sending His Son for me!

    "For am I now seeking the approval of man or of God?" (Galatians 1:10)

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  8. I was thinking about you and how big your small is just this morning.

    I love it. And you. And Siles. And the others.

    xxoo

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  9. Respectfully, I do not understand why you have to be small to serve God. He made a pretty amazing universe, doesn't He want us to enjoy it all?

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    Replies
    1. I certainly think he uses us in BIG ways. That's what's so awesome about it all! That He takes my mess and makes beauty from it amazes me. I just want to remember that IN MYSELF I need to always remain small. Any "Big" needs to come from God alone and He gets all the credit, not me.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation! I always welcome respectful questions and different opinions.

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    2. Thanks Shannon for your response. I do love your blog and your thought provoking way with words. And as an adopted child, now adult,I so respect you and hubby for adopting. Blessings

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  10. I want to live small, too.
    I had my time to shine years ago....got a lot of awards and pats on the backs and accolades.
    let me tell you...it was empty.

    THIS...all this that you said...is what makes social media so dang hard....it BEGS us to care and put our worth in it.
    I stand and refuse.

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  11. AMEN to your prayer. so want that also!

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  12. Oh my, did I need this today. Many days I'd like to be done with learning...it's painful and humbling. But totally worth it.

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  13. I'm new to the blogging world. Just launched this summer. And this has exactly been my mental battle and my prayer. Thank you for sharing your honest struggle. It resonates! Also, I'm newer to your blog, Shannon. And I love it. I loved it especially much when I saw the picture of your sweet family. Our son Daryl (5) was adopted through the foster system and our daughter Amelia (2) was adopted from China. I look forward to spending some time reading your thoughts on adoption. Blessings!

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  14. There is nothing wrong with success, it's what you do with your success that matters. If you use it to further his cause, his work, it is of value to him. Nor is it wrong to be who you are as long as you are the best you can be, after all he made you, you are his and he knows your ins and outs and loves you for them. You are pretty awesome, responsible, smart, savvy, and more. You can be all those things and humble. Humble by knowing that you are a child of God, he loves you and you love him. Everything you are and have and will ever be or have are from him and for him.
    Certainly we can have fame, money, success, attention, etc... and it is ok, as long as we remember that ALL we have came from him and remember to use ALL we have to honor him and his agenda. We are his hands on this earth, we can use our means, and the excess of it, if that is the case, to further his work. He does not require us to be downtrodden or destitute, nor does he want it. Just like any loving parent he wants us to be happy and successful. He wants us to have that and share that with our brothers and sisters, his other children, and acknowledge that we are sharing what he has blessed us with. Don't strive for less, strive for more, in rightousness... then share it with those in need, use it to spread his word, to strengthen his children... use it in his name so your name is forever connected to his.

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  15. ROLF
    "God has humbled me so many times in the past couple of years and despite my fervent insistence that I've gotten the memo, He keeps carrying on with His bad self, sizing me up against all He is, proving His greatness in ways that command my attention."

    Yep...this.

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    Replies
    1. Er, ROFL, not ROLF. ;)
      What would ROLF be?
      Realizing our limitations, faithfully? :)

      Delete
    2. Hahaha!
      I read your first comment in my email and was all, "ROFL?" I'm used to being out of the loop, so no worries.
      :)

      Delete
  16. How does it start? I crave "new" even when I have things that will do perfectly. How do we turn off that desire? Or any desire? I am asking not just from a macro spiritual level, but a micro personal get-it-done level. Would love your advice.

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  17. Love you friend. And no matter what "size" you are He's using you in a big way:-)

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  18. Girl, this is why I love you. You say the hard things and you say it so well. Thank you for that.

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  19. I haven't commented in such a long time, but this one..... I struggle so with this being small. It's like a small war going on inside of me. This desire to be used while at the same time wanting to be small when I have to fight that pull to want to be big! You've said it so well.

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  20. it's funny because you are truly so humble and becoming okay with the small. we've talked about that. yet your testimony and your influence in my life & clearly in the life of many is anything but small.
    you would LOVELOVELOVE to hear ann voskamp's key note talk from opening night at the allume conference. love it. i think you can download it may...google that in your free time sister....it's all about small. and number.s and influence. and stars. and to hear her speak.....wow...
    i think you're pretty awesome my friend

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  21. So, so good. I am terrified of myself, of displacing glory from the One who deserves it, because it's a constant struggle in my head (and no one's even tweeting me or liking me!). My fear cripples me to the point of not making art, but that doesn't bring Him glory, either. Oh, to find the balance of walking forward in what God calls us to do...while keeping our heads bowed low and eyes on Him. xoxo

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  22. Here's a high five and an amen to living small.
    You make much of Jesus in word and deed and you spur me on to love my people and my place crazy big.
    Grateful for your life.

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  23. what if small leads you to big? what if you were pushed into big when you prayed for small? what if you were big and small at the same time? it confuses and confounds me. it is the conundrum of my life. i pray for small and i am given big. i give it up. i give it away. and it grows. i turn my back on it. i try to deny bigness. i do. big humbles me and makes me long to be more and more meek. and then i worry that i am not thankful enough for all i never asked for, for the dreams i'm living that i never imagined. big and small are my greatest obstacles. sigh.

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    Replies
    1. I hear ALL of it, Sister.
      Mostly, I think "small" is a condition of the heart.
      We are always small, but sometimes God does big things through us.

      Delete
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