I took a break over Easter weekend from the usual internet check-ins, sadly, I'm all too prone to.
Facebook status? Check.
Email inbox? Check.
Fans for Sacred Offering update? Check.
Blog comments? Check.
Website upkeep? Check.
Now none of this in and of itself is a bad thing. It's when I feel that gurgling, unsettledness within and I jump to my "popularity barometer" to measure how Susie Shaw is doing.
New fans? Happy.
Blog comments? Yea, they liked what I had to say.
Emails? 5 personal ones, yippee I have friends who like me!
You get the idea. It's a slippery slope: what starts as a creative outlet or a place to step into faith (believing God has given me some gifts to offer) can quickly become the "Am I ok?" definer. And what a sad and empty conclusion it gives!
Jesus is such a great example of dealing with the ever-present human issue of popularity. What I love about his example is where he found favor from. If you observe his life at various stages, you'll notice a very peculiar publicity platform. Whenever people begin to become overly clingy or begging for more and more miracles from Him, he tends to get on with it, rather quickly meet their need, then runs away.
Literally. He seems to high tale it out of creating public spectacles. Sure there are the biggies: changing the water into wine at the wedding, feeding over five thousand a couple times, and there's the Sermon on the Mount in front of hundreds.
Just as often you see him sneaking away. Inviting a few friends out on a boat ride. Getting alone time to connect with His Father. Having a meal with a few of His new friends.
This is what I love.
He doesn't look to public popularity to tell Him whether He's moving in the right direction or not? (Thank goodness, because where would we be without Calvary?) Rather he meets with His Heavenly Father. There and only there can Jesus receive the love He needs to stay grounded in His call.
And so on weeks like last week, when I step away, the gurgling comes.
And it comes.
And I'm deeply aware of how much I need a Savior.
How much I don't yet know of Jesus' New Kingdom and way of life.
And just how much I long for a kind of acceptance and love that no internet site or friend can ever have the power to give me.
I sit with my Savior, catch His gaze, and silently sigh, "Oh dear Jesus. Meet me in this place. And teach me your secrets, the hidden things you knew about where life is really found."
Trees that grow tall have deep roots. Great height without great depth is dangerous. The great leaders of this world - like St. Francis, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., - were all people who could live with public notoriety, influence, and power in a humble way because of their deep spiritual rootedness.
Without deep roots we easily let others determine who we are. But as we cling to our popularity, we may lose our true sense of self. Our clinging to the opinion of others reveals how superficial we are. We have little to stand on. We have to be kept alive by adulation and praise. Those who are deeply rooted in the love of God can enjoy human praise without being attached to it. (Henri Nouwen)