A massive conference. Cutting edge. Industry wide. Competitors and innovators together. Me in the audience. In awe of my participating colleagues. Expectant and engaged. Enthralled and receptive. A rare opportunity to be part of something like this. And then without warning my name was announced as presenting a topic to be given by one of my colleagues. His absence through unexpected sickness. My name and his topic echoing through the auditorium. Right then, right there. And then the spotlight found me. There in the safety of the anonymous audience. And I found myself standing up …
You ever had that moment?
Sweaty palms, and resentment, and “why me.” Knowing you will be judged. Will be boring. Will be irrelevant. Without a choice. Other than staying seated and looking really stupid! So standing-up to take the spotlight is the only choice. A choice that delays looking really stupid by a few more seconds. Once I am found out.
And I was.
I stuck to the topic as I had heard it week after week in the office. I waffled. And I suffered the silence of confused boredom. I quickly died through irrelevance. And I resented the execution of my professional reputation. Through no fault of my own. In front of so many. I seethed. Furious at the unfairness of my demise.
And then a short addendum.
That when such a moment occurs, am I really bound to fulfil someone else’s agenda, someone else’s topic? Am I obliged to become someone I am not, to present someone else’s words, knowledge, experience? That if I am called to the spotlight – then I must rise. But from that moment on … how I fill that slot, that segment, that call … that is my choice. If I am bound to rise, I “am bound” only to rise – but am not bound to “be someone else” – not bound to speak another’s words. That if I am obliged to take that moment – then how I fulfil that invitation is mine – and mine alone.
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It was a dream I had two weeks ago. In Turkey. On holiday. Disconnected from normal living and routine. A weird dream. A dream remembered. So unlike the few fleeting seconds of “normal” fading dreams I occasionally have. Never remembered. Not like this one. And why did that make it important? Because it stuck with me these past two weeks – as clear now as it was then. Surviving the rigours of sea and sand and beer. Does that make this important?
And now, here we both are, back to normal living and routine. My first day back with the clock ticking and work calling. And still that dream lingers. Unanswered. Disconnected.
Jesus said to his disciples, “No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.” Luke 8:16-18
And He seemed to link these verses with this dream. Because He reminds me that I chose this “light”. I revere this relationship. I court His counsel. I languish in His love.
And yet …
Just like “work” and my dream, when He calls my name – when the spotlight swings towards me – when I get the sense to rise – then I resist – then I have sweaty palms – then I have that “moment”. And so often I choose to stay seated and safe in the audience – knowing no one else can see that “spotlight” – knowing only I can hear my name being called.
Apart from Him. He who calls. He whom I ignore.
Why is it then, that when work “calls” I know I will stand. I know I will stand and look stupid. And I will do this whilst seething inside. Yet when He calls …
Because aren’t we all – each one of us – the very ones who have no need of fear. No need to fear being ourselves. No need to fear the spotlight. Aren’t we the ones who choose to live in the light – all day – every day. We chose His Love. We revere this relationship. We court His counsel. We are already on stage. We are already participating. We live in the light. There is no “spotlight.”
Do we not look “more stupid” imagining “a reality” of the dimness and anonymity in the audience? Imagining a “spotlight” finding us in the dark? Imagining “a calling” … rather than the real reality of our rightful position – next to Him – already given to each of us – already taken by each of us – willingly – happily – knowingly?
Why is it that we so often bitch and groan about burden and sacrifice, choose to stay seated, choose the dimness of inertia – when all the time we are already centre-stage and fully illuminated. Why do we invent a reality so far from reality? Why do I dream about work – and even imagine my relationship with Him might also “be work”? Why do I languish in Love – and anguish in life?
Paul … someone famous said “I have a dream …” How was he so different to you … to each one who already lives in the light? Are you not “up there” with him? Are you not as qualified in Love as he? Are you further from Me than he? Do you not also live in the light? Do you and Me not also dream dreams? How then are you different?
So tell Me please – where is this “spotlight” of “calling” you so fear?”
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So dear friends – whom I have missed these past two weeks: I have a dream, and a short addendum, and now some verses …
How about you?