“I can see there are ‘pockets’ in you that need healing,” my counselor told me during our first visit three weeks ago. It was good news, actually. I’ve done a lot of recovery work over the years and at this point I’d rather have pockets of problems than be wearing a full-blown bodysuit of brokenness.
The first pocket we’ve been emptying is shame. Specifically, shame related to feeling like I’ve let down someone I respect – a small yet important distinction.
The truth is, I don’t care what everyone thinks. As an author, speaker and ministry leader, I’ve heard lots of negative things about myself over the years from people who think I’m too outspoken, too aggressive, too thin, too busy, too fill-in-the-blank for their liking. It kinda goes with the territory.
And while I don’t love criticism, I’ve learned to shrug it off, especially when it comes from someone I don’t deem “worthy” of my respect. Unattractive as that sounds, I know I’m not alone in employing this pain-management utility. There are simply certain people we care more about impressing than others.
People we think can deliver the greatness we long for…
It’s in all of us, I believe, this desire to do something great. To be significant. To make a lasting imprint. We should desire these things because we’ve been created in God’s image, and he is nothing if not great, significant and lasting.
Like those who fashion idols out of wood, however, we’ve made talismans of people we think have the power to greenlight our future, or to stop it cold if we make one wrong move. When we lose their affirmation, our pockets fill with shame and fear, suffocating our hope that we will ever experience the greatness we were hard-wired to crave.
No man is worthy of such worship.
For those who have answered the call of Christ, laying down our idol of man’s approval is the key to the greatness we seek. We are most alive, and most powerful for the kingdom, when we disregard what is popular and choose to walk fully in God’s divine purpose and call for our lives.
The call to speak truth without compromise.
The call to love without being loved in return.
The call to risk rejection for what is right.
When we lean into the call before us, we become more of who we were created to be. More of who we want to be. And we remember God’s truth, that no man is big enough to silence our voices, and no idol can get in the way of what God wants to do next.
As long as we don’t keep it in our pocket.