Have you ever been on a stage to perform something? It could be within the genre of music, dance, theater or any type of artistic expression. Perhaps the “stage” is even within presentations for your career or your position as a wife and mother. The stage is any platform in front of an audience, no matter whether it’s a crowd of 10,000 or 10 or 1 single human being. The stage is a place of influence and I believe we all have a stage of some sort. Our stage will ebb and flow throughout the years, depending on what we need to grow and what we need to refresh.
I’ve spent the past 10-15 years of my life on a stage. It’s been one of lights, cameras, cues, makeup, curtains, music, dance and applause. I’ve been on the front lines of leadership. I’ve been to Israel, Colombia, Senegal, Romania, Poland, Czech republic and between way too many cities to count. I’ve been in a crowd of 5 people and in a sea of 5,000. I’ve danced in a church basement, within the walls of a prison, on the ground of a small village, near the Washington Monument, in beautiful theaters to massive auditoriums and by the Dead Sea overlooking Jordan. I’ve spent the past 10 years walking in obedience to God, while fully knowing that it was never me who did anything…it was Him who sustained the ministry He instructed me to begin. Throughout the past 10 years, I have met the most passionate souls who have forever left a mark on my journey. To all my friends around the world…thank you. Whether I have danced with you in the USA or in your own land or on foreign soil to us both, thank you. Your life has made a significant impact on mine and I will forever be grateful.
Back to the stage…what is that moment like for you when you step out from behind the curtain and are suddenly exposed to the audience in front of you? For some, it’s a moment of sheer anxiety. For others, it’s pure joy. For me, it’s always been a bit of both (I think it’s this way for most performers) There is this nervous joyful tension within me when I finally step out of the darkness and into the light. It’s a wildly surreal moment as you finally present what you’ve been working so hard on for months or years. As performers, we do our thing…we receive the applause, attention and compliments…and then it’s done & we’re back into the shadows of quietness.
It’s the quietness that I want to zoom in on today. I have to be honest. I love the stage. I have enjoyed the affirmation I’ve received for years. I’ve soaked up every moment of worshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve been known as the leader, the dancer and the world traveler for a looooong time. My stage for these 10 years has been extravagant. And if I were to be rawly honest, which you can count on – just ask my husband :) I would say that part of me misses this specific stage. It’s all I’ve known and grown to be very comfortable with.
However, like I said, our stage ebbs and flows depending on what we need. Maybe you’ve gone from a small audience to an extremely large one. Or very possibly you’re like me who has gone from the large to the small. For those of you who are in deep quietness…my heart longs to encourage us.
I’ve walked through several years of my stage gradually changing. And this week, I came to this point of being straight up – not holding back – type of honest. Just honest. “God, I feel like I’m old school. I feel like I don’t have much to give anymore. I feel like I don’t have a purpose. I feel hidden away.” And this morning, while running along the river by our house, I heard God say,
“Consider it all joy, Hope. All of it. The lights. Cameras. Cues & even the shadows of quietness. I do My Best work in you when you don’t have much distraction. I do My best work when the lights are turned off and it’s just you and I. Embrace your quietness.”
The secret to embracing the quietness is to recognize the change of our “stage.” We can’t be fully present in our moment right now if we’re still holding onto something from the old. It’s not that we don’t have a “stage” anymore. It’s that our platform looks different than it once did. And that’s okay. It’s a beautiful thing when there is more quietness. More simplicity. Less going and more staying. It’s a powerful moment when you realize that the relationships in your life are changing so that you can welcome new ones or invest in just a few instead of many. Embracing the quietness means you’ve come to the point of being okay with stillness, for now, because you know that God is doing something far greater in you than He could if you were keeping busy. So…quietness we will welcome with open arms.