Have you ever been in a difficult situation—one where you had to stand out from the crowd for the sake of conviction? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, I’m guessing you have. Sometimes, the smallest of situations can feel like the most momentous.
I ran into one of those situations just yesterday. Ironically, I found myself so worried over trying not to be worried that I could only with difficulty call to mind the reason I’d made this decision in the first place. I fought to shed the concern that others would see it as a “big deal,” that they would be confused by it, or even—perish the thought—feel “judged” by my action (perhaps, after all, not the worst thing in the world, but we’ll leave that alone for the moment). I prayed that Jesus would help me see this situation from His perspective, and I honestly felt rather ashamed that this sort of “situation” is still apparently such a “big deal” for me.
As I prayed for His peace and perspective, these words from a fairly well-known worship song came to my ear:
My weak self displays
The power of God’s grace.
Christ’s Spirit works within me,
In weakness He is strong.
Wow, I thought, I’ve totally missed the point. It’s almost humorous to realize how silly and self-focused I have been. I’ve been so worried about whether my little decision will upset others, and that’s entirely not the issue at hand! I changed my prayer right then and there: Lord, it really is fine if others happen to notice my unusual choice, isn’t it? I ask You not that it will pass unnoticed or leave those around me unconfused. Rather, if they notice, I pray that they would see You, Your strength, Your grace, in my little decision. Anyone who knows me will realize that I could never make even this small unfashionable choice without Your spirit working in me and strengthening my weak resolve. I pray that those around me would see in this decision not some determination of mine to stand out from the crowd, but only the power of Your grace flowing through me.
Suddenly, this “big deal” shrunk to its proper proportions. No longer was I worried about “disrupting” what was going on around me. I was filled with gratitude for the transforming grace of Jesus Christ, powerful enough even to give a little people-pleasing soul like myself the strength to pursue His will with abandon. I was filled with longing that others too might see His grace through whatever medium available—yes, even through “my weak self,” if I may in any way help to display the amazing strength of His spirit working within me.