I’m surrounded by fame. I work on a message board for a well-known Christian band. I live in Nashville, TN. Swarms of artists, athletes, producers and fame-desiring wanabes flock around looking for their next opportunity. The image of impression is everywhere.
I have been caught up in the habit of trying to impress people. I’ve fallen for the mindset that if impress the right people then maybe I’ll get elevated to notoriety somehow. I even tried to put a Christian spin on it. Saying things like, “Well, if more people knew me, then I’d promote God more openly and I’ll make His name known and it won’t be about me, but totally about Him.”
Working to impress people is the wrong thing to do. I realize that now. For months, I’ve been trying to get out of that mindset. Let me tell ya, it’s a really hard thing to do. It’s even harder because I haven’t told anyone about it until right now. I didn’t want to admit how much I’d struggled. I felt shameful. I felt selfish. I felt prideful. Rightly so, because I was those things.
In lieu of talking about this problem with other people, I sought the Lord. I truly worked to exalt Him. I forgot about everything I wanted and everything the world told me that I needed. God doesn’t need me to be well known so I can promote Him to more people. He will promote Himself as much as He wants through whomever He wants. I can promote God to one person; that’s enough for Him.
As God helped me get over this promotion of self, He kept reminding me of verses that instruct us to exalt Him. He whispered directions that I needed to humble myself. He reminded that He doesn’t exalt those who exalt themselves. He exalts those who exalt Him. But…He also reminded me that I can’t exalt Him for the purpose of eventually getting myself exalted. That’s not the correct mindset either. I had to be humble because I wanted to be. I had to exalt God because He deserves to be exalted.
I learned to appreciate my place of service. I had to stop desiring to be at the top of the leadership ladder. I was put in the places I am in life for a reason. If I wasn’t where I am, a rung of the ladder would be missing. Without me on the lower tiers of life, then the others above me would fall. If I kept trying to climb higher, then I would inevitably cause others to fall. A towering structure needs every part of its building to be strong. The tallest tower would not stand without its foundation.
What’s made this so hard for me is that I want to be a leader. I want to be a founding and leading member of something absolutely wonderful. But I always arrived too late to be able to do that. Sometimes I wasn’t promoted to the highest level that I wanted to be. Or my errors as a person resulted in me not being able to be exalted any higher than I was. And all of the shortcomings of myself and my circumstances really brought me down. So I fought even harder (in vain) to get where I wanted to be. In the process, I hurt others and caused division and caused others to fall.
Thankfully, through several different venues, God showed me what I was doing. I finally understood what had been going on, I repented of my errors and I asked forgiveness. Then, and only then, was I able to allow God to show me how to live correctly. He showed me how to exalt Him properly. He gave me more of a servant’s heart. He renewed me completely.
I can’t totally explain every detail of what transformations occurred in me, but I am thankful for them all. Now I’m seeing God instead of being blinded by the call of fame and being known. I have to continually focus on bringing glory to God genuinely, instead of telling glory stories of myself and everything I’ve done for the Kingdom. It isn’t about me and what I’ve accomplished. It’s about the work that God does. I can’t have a haughty mindset that feeds off the approval of others.
It’s a bloody battle, but now I’m on the side of victory.