I won’t be lying when I say I feel super vulnerable after a share every post with you. I put my heart on the line in hopes that somebody out there will feel moved by my words, be encouraged my story and equipped to be better for Life’s next challenge. I don’t claim to know it all. All I can share with you is my experiences and what I have found over the past few years is that many of you have been loving the real and raw chats and that makes it worth it for me in every way.
With that being said I want to share with you about something I have been dealing with in my life and I think many of us go through this but do not admit it. If you didn’t know well now you know that this blog is a place where you can share and be open, we are a family and I am sharing my heart so that you might find the courage to share yours too.
Ever since I was a little girl I was as shy as anything, I would hide behind my mom’s leg if any adult even tried to say hello to me. I always had big dreams in my heart, even as young as 4 or 5 I can remember day-dreaming about my future and what I want to be when I grow up. I knew that I wanted to help people, I knew I wanted to make people feel good about themselves and I knew I wanted to live big and not just average. We all know how the story goes don’t we…. as I got older that picture got distorted by the world’s view of success, from what I was exposed to by my surrounding was that if you wanted to make a difference you need to be seen, you need to be heard and if it wasn’t any of those things then it really didn’t count for anything.
That was probably one of the biggest lies I could have let myself believe because it meant that if I was kind to someone behind closed doors or was generous to somebody who was less fortunate without anyone seeing that it really did not mean much unless someone was witness to it. Now some of you might never have had that way of thinking pop in your head but it did for me especially as I grew up to be a teenager not living Gods way I quickly put my identity in what people thought of me and whether they thought I was great or not.
I would be on such a great high if someone said Tami you are doing great, or if some said I looked nice but then the opposite would happen if someone came to discourage me or tell me I can do better, it would crush me and I would shrink back and live small. You see I put too much emphasis on the ” platform ” and not enough appreciation of the impact of what living in the shadows does for your character.
Here are a few ways in which I learned to embrace the shadows of life and honour the platform.
1: God cares more about my character than whether I get seen or not. As some of you might know I serve on the worship team at my church. When I first came I sang in the choir, I was a very new Christian and I knew the calling God had on my life but I would still looked at the worship leader and hope and wished that one day that could be me. As I carried on serving in choir God spoke to me and said ” Tami, if your purpose on this earth is to see people come to know me then it should not matter where you serve, if serving on choir is how you reach the most people then that’s where I want you ” that hit me hard and made me realise that my life is not about me, it’s about others and if that’s where God wants to use me forever then I need to be ok with that. Through serving in the choir where I wasn’t as ” seen ” as the worship leader God taught me a lot about my character and how to be humble and what a blessing other parts of the body of Christ can be to the world.
2: A season in the Shadows can be more of a blessing and anything else. As humans, I don’t actually believe we can cope with the spotlight if it’s what our identity is based on. Over the past 8years, God has taken me on a journey of shadows and light, shadows and light. It has been exhausting, to say the least, but it has also been the best thing for me because the shadows are where I found my identity in God and not in man, the shadows are where I learned to see others instead of always focusing on myself.
3: Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn’t give you credit. Being behind the scenes in life is not a downgrade it’s not a less than way of living, in fact, its the opposite. I had to learn that the hard way and to this day I am still learning it. Because I serve at my church where my position is of one where people can see me it is easy to slip into that place where human validation is needed but I can thank the times I spent in the shadows because it taught me not to base my worth on the opinions of others. Sadly that is life and people will always have things they might want to say or not say, but all I do is remind myself of that time I spent with God in that secret place where he validated me, loved me, encouraged me. That’s all I need and that is all you need to but it takes moments in the shadows to realize that. So don’t look down on the valleys embrace them because they teach you valuable lessons that are eternal.
If we are not grateful for what we have, what makes us think we will be happy with more. Your shadow moment could be someone else’s spotlight, someone could be looking at what you have only wished they could be in your position. So the challenge is to be content with our seasons and not always wishing for more and hoping it’s going to get better. Make all the plans you want but understand this…. the best things in life will show up as unexpected opportunities. Those things can change you in ways no plans or blueprints ever could.
People that shine from within do not need a spotlight.
Photos by: Jessica Combrink