Chin up, Princess.
The world is going to tell you that you’re both too much and not enough. That you’re not enough to change the world, but that your authentic self is too much for the mold you should fit in. And as we live in this world every moment of every day, it’s all too easy to walk into those church doors and bring that faulty, impossible standard with us and project it onto others.
Sometimes people, well-meaning perhaps but rather misguided, get stuck behind this filter, and they will tell you that if you’re not serving donuts, singing, or welcoming people at the door, you’re not where you belong.
These are appreciated and needed acts of service and worship. That hot cup of coffee has been a divine gift to me many weeks in a row and I will never stop being grateful, and many of your beautiful voices have brought me to tears during worship more times than I can count.
But what if you have a story to tell and you have access to an audience who needs to hear it? Do not think that if you don’t fit into one of those filtered categories, that you are somehow too ambitious.
You are a lovely welcoming face, yes, but you are also a powerful, everlasting being.
You are a born leader, with influence, and a voice.
People look up to you, and the things you have lived through could help someone else immensely if you shared how you got through it, and the work the Lord is doing in your life.
You can stand in front of the people you care about and tell them what He’s done. That our King is powerful and active today. That you’ve seen echoes of His love in your life and in the lives of those around you.
You might stumble on your words, and some sentences might come out imperfect or not quite how they were meant to sound. But it’s okay.
The people who are expecting you to be perfect are the ones waiting to be offended. For these, no matter what you do, something will upset them.
They’ll discount what you say. They’ll yawn. They’ll be bored.
They might be annoyed that you decided a story of encouragement and power was better than their entertainment. Those who will consume will consume. Mouths open, ready for the silver spoon to feed them like a child, and pouting when what they get isn’t pre-chewed for them or heated to the most comfortable temperature.
But do not be discouraged. There are those who are eager to contribute, like you, and we celebrate at your every word. We celebrate your courage to reveal what’s going on with you personally. We celebrate your willingness and desire to share about the power of our God, even if it comes out imperfectly. Because we don’t ask you to be perfect. We don’t want a show. We want to know the real you. We want to help you grow. We want to hear what you’ve learned because we might need that exact advice right this minute, or this week, or this month, or this year.
You can sit cross-legged on the floor with chipped nail polish, ripped jeans, and frizzy hair and we will celebrate you. You can raise your voice in worship, you can bless the youth group with pizza, you can organize a volleyball night, you can smile at the new person, or you can voice aloud truths you’ve learned as you clutch a microphone in a shaking hand.
Because you showed up, and you are cherished. You are celebrated. You’re a valuable addition to the team.
We remember what it was like to be the new ones. We know what it feels like to be tired because you’ve been in the same spot for so long. But we also know community. We know laughter. We know “all for one and one for all.” We know the importance of living this life together. We know the importance of giving back after being on the receiving end so much. We’re not afraid of effort. We’re not afraid of improvement. We stand in the gap, and we contribute for those who will only consume. We shake the foundations of the earth. We won’t stop calling, beckoning to those who hesitate on the sidelines, because this world needs runners – champions who claim the story God presents them with and give it back to Him for His glory.
Thank you for stepping up.
You are cherished and appreciated.
And we’re grateful that you’ve joined us.