1 Peter 5:6-7 – “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (NKJ)
This instruction given to the family of God seems really simple at first glance, but I’ve come to realize some of the most seemingly obvious and simple tasks are about as multilayered as an onion – many different layers, but the same thing in essence.
I say this because as I reflect on my walk with Christ thus far, there were many times that I interchanged being humble with being hidden. I’ve since learned that they are two very different things, but the same in essence.
Once again, the one person’s story I can tell without offending the person is me, so I’ll share something that some know, and most who’ve had any social interaction with me may not believe, but in terms of my personality, I’m an extroverted introvert. When I first heard of this term and its meaning, I was so glad to put a definition to who I am.
I’m one of the few people I know who will admit that as a child, I didn’t really care much for other children for long periods of time – too loud, too selfish, just generally annoying after a while (my cousins didn’t count, they rock!). I had few true friends, and I was fine with that; in fact, that’s still true for me. My favorite places to spend my free time were at the library, museums, and the movies. Growing up in NYC, I love Broadway theater, concerts, and beautiful architecture. In my twenties and early thirties, I traveled, and I moved to different states more than once. In college, I became a Sweetheart for the greatest fraternity on the face of the planet (PHI BETA SIGMA!), and gained friends through that collegiate experience that I still have today; I even dared to pledge a sorority, but illness that took me out of school for an extended time ended that endeavor, though I’m still friends with those phenomenal women today as well. Though I do enjoy the company of others, I love to laugh, and to make others laugh, I’m really much more comfortable being by myself. The things I listed above I’ve done alone more than I ever have with others, but my mother, God love her for her wisdom, insisted that I be a social butterfly of sorts. I feel like the onion some days: lots of layers, the same in essence.
When I became a disciple of Jesus Christ, it took a little getting used to for many different reasons. The first is that the first church ministry I became part of was music ministry, and choirs have more than one section vocally, so there went my independent act! I’ve gained family of my heart all over the USA because of my church memberships. Of all things, I love to serve the people of God, but I don’t seek attention or accolades for what I feel like I ought to be doing without anybody asking or telling me to do. I love being behind the scenes, making sure that those who are out front have nothing to worry about except their part. I serve in hospitality, I serve in music ministry, and I serve in a capacity that I really would never be paid for and that’s being part of the crew that makes sure the church is clean and prepared for service.
What does that have to do with our scripture today? I’m so glad you asked! During my first eight years in Florida, I was at a ministry that honestly, I never really cared for, not in the way that I’d cared for past ministries; in all the time I was there, I was never allowed to serve in any capacity – none! I did learn that I wasn’t being humble in my service at the other churches when I got to my beloved home church now, I was really hiding. It was at the place I’m in now that I got busted, and had to change and flow into the humble (MW: not proud or arrogant) place God wants us all to be in concerning service to Him.
I’ve never sought position, and it took the Spirit of God to have me to reveal to my current pastor that I’d actually been ordained an elder while living in Dallas, Texas. I realize I was terrified to do so, because I don’t want to be out front, so the less they knew, the more I could blend in and just ‘be’. So now that I’ve been outed so to speak, I still don’t want positions, I just want to serve God and His kingdom humbly, but I no longer stand in the fear that was the essence of my hiding.
Do I still enjoy my alone time,? Yes, because that’s part of how God designed and created me. But I embrace the humble yet visible place of being a servant of God and have rejected hiding for what it is in my case, fear of rejection. It’s tough some days, but if you’re like me, I admonish you to come forward humbly and stop hiding in plain sight; it happens to feel pretty good.
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