Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nice Girls 60-Day Challenge, Day 44: Practice Playing Second Fiddle

Nice Girls 60-Day Challenge, Day 44: Practice Playing Second Fiddle

(Warning: Biblical perspective below : )

Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Have you ever had one of those conversations that stick out in your mind for years after it takes place?

You can be in the middle of a grocery store pinching a cantaloupe and all of a sudden you remember a certain exchange? For me, these conversations usually revolve around an echo that was whispered into the canyon of my soul- one that God decided should be the introduction to my life’s anthem.

When soul-sticking words are spoken, it means that someone has struck a chord inside your heart, and no matter how much time marches by it will always ring true. I have found that it is usually an issue that God is still working with me on and so He has chosen to use that previous whisper as a collective yell from His throne to my doorstep.

I have taken to calling these human, err-filled conversations glorious gifts of grace. One memory in particular was a conversation that I had with the wife of my husband’s dearest friend.

Libby is the type of woman that you can tell spends hours with God. Not bent over her Bible with a highlighter all hours of the day, but she is a woman who constantly talks to God while she is peeling potatoes or sings to him while she is on the stair stepper. She is someone who should remind us that there is no place too mundane for miracles or too commonplace for confession.

After Libby and I had begun having babies we would try to be in the habit of seeing each other every few months. On one such occasion we were talking about our church communities, and she had asked if I was ever interested in leading worship at church? At the time, I had just moved back from Nashville and my singing “career” was at an impasse, I understood the naturalness of the question.

I shook my head and bold-facedly answered, halo intact, “I haven’t. Mainly, it is because I don’t like singing in front of other people about God. I hate feeling like I am saying, ‘look at me, look at me’ while the words are clearly about Him. I would rather just blend into the crowd and sing a hymn or two to Him in my heart of hearts.”

Libby’s eyes sparkled as she responded, “Are you sure that’s not false humility?”


And her truthful comment still echoes today, because it is a message that I wrestle with. As Christian women sometimes we don’t think we deal with pride like our husbands might- isn’t that a guy thing? But what if our pride is just wrapped up in the linens of false humility? Our gifts are not our own, and yet we lay claim to them. Deciding how and whom we will share them with. For some of us, we go even as far as to not dare call ourselves “gifted”- if we do then we are tooting our own horn and blowing our own confetti.

However- God clearly talks about giving gifts to his children. Romans chapter 12: 6-8 speaks of specific gifting, such as serving, teaching, public speaking, contributing, giving, leading, and charity work.

The Message translation reveals Romans 12: 9-10 this way, Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

I love this illustration. Practice playing second fiddle.

We live in a culture of first place obsession. Sayings like, second place is the first loser have developed in each of us a determination to win, to be better, and ultimately to be the best at whatever hand we have been dealt. Jesus however was a master at playing second fiddle as should 'nice girls' in this culture.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nice Girls 60-Day Challenge, Day 42: Be Righteously Offensive

This may seem like a strange challenge for today, but it is something that I have always struggled with. People pleasing, agreeing just to be agreeable, and going along with something even if you don't believe in it- are not "nice" ways to behave. In fact, being dishonest about your convictions is simply lying.

Nice Girls Challenge Day 42: Be Righteously Offensive

The word "offensive" has such a negative connotation to it. Images of explicit graffiti, violent TV shows, and lewd photographs (Anthony Weiner anyone?) seem to shuttle across our minds. But have you ever been righteously offensive?

The word righteous is straight from the Bible and another word that we tend to shy away from- but did you know that nice girls must be offensive to those who think that behaving badly is their right? It may seem ambiguous- since your definition of right and offense may be drastically different from the girl in the next cubicle, but don't shy away from doing the right thing if you feel convicted to do so.

Someone cut in front of the woman in the wheelchair? Be an advocate for them and notify them of their mistake.

Someone is degrading your belief system? Speak up about your convictions without faltering.

Someone is cussing in front of your child? Politely ask them to be more considerate.

Now don't go all "Housewives of New Jersey" on people you don't know very well or go looking for fights to pick with randoms at the mall- this is simply a reminder to be well versed in your beliefs, speak openly about why you live your life the way you do, and remember that being nice isn't simply being a pushover- it means to stand up for what you believe in.