I had one of those dreams last night. You know, the dream where a group of people expect something important from you but you just can’t seem to get it together? Sometimes we’re fighting through some frustrating obstacle to reach a loved one who needs us. Sometimes it’s that we’re trying to catch up to something or someone and we just get farther and farther away.
In my dream, there was a small team of people who had come to meet me and hear me speak. It was a scouting expedition, I suppose; they had arrived early and I wasn’t ready. My outfit wasn’t right… the straps of my shoes were all wrong it was taking far too much time… I still needed to brush my teeth; I couldn’t find my lipstick; I couldn’t find my message notes… And time was flying by. When I finally arrived before them, I fumbled around the stage, bumbled through the introduction, and then asked them something I was supposed to already know. Yuck! I awoke from the dream embarrassed of myself.
For many of you, this would be a true nightmare. What is it they say? Public speaking is a great fear for most people, second only to the fear of dying. At this point, however, I’m accustomed to these kinds of dreams. Do they reflect a deep fear of public speaking? I don’t think so. Do they reflect a self-consciousness? Maybe. I think they reveal the very real reminder that if I am left to my own devices, I’ll have absolutely nothing of value to offer. Many teachers can entertain people, and many teachers can instruct people. But I am called to draw people into God’s presence in a way that allows them to meet with Him in a deep and meaningful way. Part of my role as teacher is to create an environment in which people can open up, listen with their hearts and not just their heads, and create a safe place where they can be vulnerable with God and themselves. I must never forget that those 35-45 minutes belong to God, and not to me. It is His platform, His message, and His Word that I must convey. I am there to serve Him, and those gathered, so that He can meet with the people in His own way.
Several years ago I realized that God could do this through anyone He desired to use. I knew I was replaceable, a tiny dot in a sea of messengers, and I even felt that having another Christian teacher was as redundant as redundant could possibly be. I still feel that way when I glance through Christian books and Bible studies. But God is patiently teaching me that He expresses Himself through each teacher as a unique mixture that includes the way that teacher experiences Him. Each person adds certain ingredients to the mix, but He is still the One we bring and the message we bring. He just seems to enjoy mixing it up a bit with different flavors and different blends.
This is true for each and every one of us. Each of us brings the presence of God to others in a way that is as unique as we are. Each of us is an essential element in this time on earth, in our realm of influence. None of us is exempt from this assignment. While most of us won’t be called to be public speakers and teachers, we are all called to be private tutors and teachers’ assistants. As a matter of fact, each of our lives reflect our personal experience with God. If we are awed by Him, others will see that. If we are humbled before Him, others will see that. If we feel like we’re doing others and God a favor by serving Him, they will see that. Our outward lives automatically reflect our deepest attitudes towards God.
I know this can be terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be. Most of us don’t like to think that our inner attitudes are transparent to others, and some of us work pretty hard at hiding our junk so that others won’t see it. The most beautiful gift you have to offer this world is a heart that is taken with Jesus. If your heart is set upon following Jesus, right into the Father’s presence every day, you will reflect all the love and goodness that God desires for you to reflect. It stops being about the vessel and focuses instead upon the living water that flows from within that vessel.
Friday night I will join a group of believers near Holly Hill that I’ve never met before. I am looking forward to what God has for us that evening. Last night’s dream reminds me once again that I am going as God’s daughter, on mission with Jesus in this world, and that it isn’t about me at all. In the end, I don’t want them to remember me… I want them to remember what God said TO them that night and what God did IN them. I am just the fortunate courier who gets the beautiful privilege of taking that gift to them. The courier may receive a thank you, but it is the Divine Sender and the life-altering gift He sends that truly matters. And bad dreams or good, it is only His dreams for this world that matter.