A story is worth a thousand words. Er…something.
So, if you'll permit me to be a bit vulnerable, here’s what happened last night.
Sunday evenings are the evenings I finish my video of the past week at camp and show it to the kids in their chapel assembly. It’s a blast! I love to hear the kids laughing or gasping at the footage I’ve taken of their week; it totally makes the hours of work shooting and compiling the DVD worth it! The next morning before they hop on the bush plane that will take them back to their villages, they’re given a copy of the DVD so they can bring it home and remember their week here and what God did in their hearts. It’s cool to be a part of that. I’ve loved it.
So yesterday night I was frantically finishing the DVD burning process AS the kids were sitting in chapel and preparing to watch the DVD. It had been a hectic day. Normally the video is finished hours before the deadline, but iMovie wasn’t behaving, and the computer was slow. Lots of glitches. Lots of frustration. And to add to all that, there were some key shots I had missed getting last week that I always put in the DVD’s the other weeks. So, it felt kinda' incomplete to me. Finally the DVD was finished—minutes before it was scheduled to be watched. But I was still feeling frustrated and stressed. Upset with myself for neglecting to get the shots I wanted into the video. Feeling like I was failing at my job and a disappointment to… to whom? I’m not sure. Maybe just to myself. Everyone else seemed pretty pleased with the video, but in my mind, it wasn’t on par with what I had done in other weeks.
I went back to my room and sat on the edge of my bed. Just thinking. The lion started circling.
“You really dropped the ball.”
“It’s your main job here and you can’t get it right.”
“Lazy. You COULD have gotten those shots if you’d have been doing your job.”
“Proof again...Given enough time you’ll fail at anything.”
“You’re a disappointment.”
I listened. I wilted. That familiar feeling of frustration and helplessness closed in. And then a Small Voice poked in. “Why don’t you ask Me what I think about your DVD? All these accusations don’t sound like Me, do they?” I perked up a little. “Yeah,” I thought. “God’s probably being a lot kinder to me than I’m being to myself. He’s probably just gently telling me to work a little harder next time. To do a little better. He’s not upset with me. Just a little disappointed.” Small comfort, but at least it felt better than the lion. And then the Small Voice came again. As a nudge; an impression.
“You still haven’t asked Me.”
“Lord…What do you think about what I did this week? What do you have to say to me about my DVD and my performance at this job? What is your heart for me right now?”
God doesn’t speak audibly to me. And there’s not much of a way to describe how He speaks other than to say that He leaves an impression in my mind that I usually realize couldn’t have come from within myself. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing if it’s my own thoughts or His voice… but this time the thought came unbidden, from outside of my own mind, on a vein that hadn’t even occurred to me. I know I didn’t conjure it up.
“Dani…You worked really hard to get some cool footage with the GoPro for this movie that you didn’t have to get. You’re attempting to grow in your skill and you’re not just getting by with these DVDs. You’re putting your heart into them. I’m proud of you.”
His words were arrows of kindness and grace that pierced the lion and silenced him. Shame fell off and I lifted my head with a smile. Father’s proud of me. He’s not criticizing me.There is SO MUCH GRACE with my God.
I share this story with a little bit of reticence. It’s a personal story. It feels a little embarrassing to share it on my blog for the world (or what little fraction of it might stop by) to see. I know that spiritual stories usually mean a LOT more to the person they happen to than to others. But I am sharing it because I thought that maybe it will encourage someone who is reading to hunger for the Voice of Truth in their own life. Have you ever heard Jesus speaking to you? His words are always so kind… so full of mercy and forgiveness and gentle love. They bring life and hope.
Go find your own story.
Go ask Him to speak to you in a place where you feel vulnerable and hurt, angry or hopeless.
If you seek Him, you will find Him.