Saturday, August 1, 2009

Overlooked

Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella. We've dreamed of entering the royal ball and felt the excitement of everyone turning to watch us glide down the grand stairway. Ah, the center of attention. Feels special doesn't it? For some yes, it's what they live for. But others cower at the very thought. Center of anything? They would rather be the fly on the wall.

As a child, recess brought anxious hope that I would not be last when sides were chosen for kick ball. Wait. High School ushered in wallflower years and disenchantment as I was passed over for honors. Withdraw. College brought the feeling of being way in over my head to the point that I switched my major. Fear. Adulthood gnaws that I'm squandering opportunity. I'd love to be God's go to girl, but He doesn't always choose me for assignments. Restlessness.

It isn't pleasant to feel overlooked. It's a frightening feeling to feel live is passing us over. The past emerges and points fingers of frustration, defeat and inadequacy. Lies. All of them. But I too often buy what they are selling. Until I read the resume of the applicant God chose for a whopper of an assignment.

Wanted: Leader for a stubborn, unruly nation. Someone to fill the massive shoes of Moses. Must exert decisive action while conquering a land of giants and fortified cities. Ability to sieze opportunity and unify the people under one purpose is required.

Applicant: Joshua
Only he never formally applied.

Born a slave. Bad start. Member of the wrong class. Before the exodus, he received army training in Egypt. He was working for the wrong side. Younger than most, without evidence of a strong father figure, Moses selected him as a helper. Living in the shadow of this leader could have made him envious. Skill acquired: Learned to receive instruction and obey wholeheartedly. Benefit: Got an inside view of the workings of leadership both the good and the bad.

Received his first big break when selected to the scout team for the final home of the nation. Because of his youth and discenting opinion, Joshua was not taken seriously when he advised moving forward immediately. Sadly overlooked, he could have felt disrespected. Through no fault of his own, he was forced to endure 40 dreadful years in the desert. Result: Aimless and wasted years they weren't. Benefit: When many of the people were laid low in the wilderness, the conditions toughened Joshua and strengthed his resolve.

The seeming pinnacle of his career came when he accompianed Moses to the mountain. For nearly a year Joshua camped close to The Most High, but Moses got to continue all the way to the peak and right into God's presence. Joshua didn't get the full privileges of Moses' personal contact and converstion with God. Joshua could only sit and wait. He might have felt shortchanged. However, he steadfastly waited for his leader to return. Outcome: First witness of the glory of God shining through Moses. Benefit: Undoubtedly building a belief that can not be shaken.

Continuing experience and qualification. Not much remarkable to say. Certainly he doesn't fit the typical mold of the fast track to stardom and power.

Interesting applicant. In all those 40 years Joshua only followed and assisted. He never gave orders and never was given control. Joshua only responded. He was overlooked by everyone. Except God.

Eventually, at just the right time, Joshua was commissioned publicly by Moses as the next leader. I don't get the impression that he was expecting to take over the nation. If so why would both Moses and God continually encourage him to be strong and courageous? Will those moments from his past point their finger of insecurity? Decades of having people overlook him could have eroded confidence in himself.

We have all been overlooked. I know it is too easy to fall into the temptation of believing the lies produced by feeling undervalued. I'm so encouraged by Joshua. God did not overlook and Joshua responded.
  • God trained him for battle. Joshua learned skills as an army slave to later conquer a land.
  • God gave him a teacher, Moses. Joshua gained a father figure and learned the right and wrong way to be a leader.
  • God gave him vision. Joshua saw what could be when he scouted the enemy territory.
  • God gave him examples. Joshua watched the people and learned the cost of disobedience and faithlessness.
  • God gave him steadfastness. Through trials in the desert, Joshua learned to buck the trend and trust what God says.
Hurts growing up can be assets today. I still feel overlooked sometimes, if I'm looking around and not up. I understand the learning process better. Maybe no one else notices, but God does! I'm not expecting to become the leader of anything. I want God to know He can rely on me to be His go to girl.

Cinderella relished every moment of the ball, but planned to sneak back to her everyday life. She had no idea what was ahead for her. I don't live in a fairytale. But I also have no idea what lies ahead. I only know I'm never overlooked by God. That is enough for me.

4 comments:

Tami Boesiger said...

I do what I do only because I know in my head I am not overlooked by God. But do I feel it? Hardly ever.

You remind me to press on purely to please Him--a message I needed to hear today. Thanks.

Jaime Kubik said...

Thank you for your words. My prayer all morning was "God, show me where you need me!" I feel I have no real purpose in life except every day family duties, and yet, this is where I am needed now too. I want to do great things in life for God, but sometimes it's the little places he needs me the most. Thank you for reminding me not to listen to the lies of the world! Being God's go to girl is a blessing!

Brenda said...

Hmmm. There are the great Joshuas and Moses' leading....but what about all those who followed? They could choose to be faithful and obedient followers. I think some of us are called to lead at certain times but to follow most of the time.

Linda said...

Great comments ladies! Your thoughts and insights are more food for thought.

Tami, solitary efforts may not be glorified is a worldly way, but God is influencing and changing lives through you right now.

Jaime, remember every moment is a shared experience with God.

Brenda, great point. I might add, that that God's most effective leaders are the best followers-of Him. They have to listen, understand, live in conviction and obey God often in the face of much adversity. Thanks for your thoughts.

I'll try to follow closely today.