Today’s Scripture — 11.1.2014
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
~ Matthew 10:39
How the Biggest Losers are the Real Winners
I stood on a stage in front of about a thousand college students earlier this week. The room was swollen with promise, wide-eyed and carrying backpacks. So much hope. So much moxie.
Standing there, I remembered what it was like, to be one of them, with my whole life before me. My hands found the edge of the wooden podium, and I gripped both sides, white-knuckle-ish. Then, I scanned the width of the crowd, left to right, and I remembered being 20. My heart beat wild with ambition when I was 20. I remember how badly I hungered for the sweet taste of validation, how I was sure it would come somewhere on the other side of my college degree, out where feet would be planted in the dirt of the American Dream.
I was going to prove something to the world, and I was going to prove something to myself.
The microphone amplified my voice across the rows of students, up into the balcony: “Culture has built a multi-billion industry to make you think you’re quite un-amazing. Just look at the ads,” I told them, gripping the podium harder. “And how does the world tell us to amaze? To shrink into a smaller dress size, grow into a bigger income bracket, and climb your way to the top. All of it apart from God. The ads will tell you: Go big or go home.”
I told the students what I’m going to share here today–
The ads will tell you that you’ve got to be a winner, but that you’re not even close. The glossy covers will convince you that you’ve got to keep up with the Joneses, but you’re getting it all wrong.
In a cold sweat, we sink our money, energy, and time into what we think will give us joy, applause, acceptance, and a little bit more respect.
But no matter how much we get–or how good we are–there’s always someone doing life better, writing her story more poetically, speaking her words more eloquently, living her days more gracefully, being promoted more regularly. (And she probably has better hair.)
I know, because I’ve found myself trying to be the winner. I’ve scurried up corporate ladders, only to find the rungs never reach high enough to satisfy. I’ve tried to do everything perfectly and make others happy–all because I wanted more love.
So what is the chief end of all my striving to be a winner? Has it brought me lasting joy?
In some ways, I was a raging success. I was winning at the American Dream. I was winning at status. And all of that winning? Was killing me.
Once upon a time, it all went away. Poof! I no longer had my high-profile news-reporter job, my prestige, my clout, my friends, or my position to give me my identity. I felt like I had lost my life. I wowed no one.
I’ve never actually “heard” God speaking into my ears, but when I became a loser, I heard Him with “my knower.” We all have a “knower.” It’s that perceptive part inside of each of us, and it rests somewhere under our ribs.
God asked my knower this: “Jennifer, am I really enough for you? Are you okay with really losing your life, and never winning again?”
And God seems to be saying this to each of us, every day: “There is greatest hope for the biggest losers. People who lose their lives for the sake of Christ end up winning, living the life for which they were created.”
Can you hear Him speaking that truth into your knower today?
You want to win today? Be willing to lose your life.
You don’t have to “go big or go home.” You can go small, as you walk your path home.
You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses anymore. You can keep in step with Jesus.
This post is part of our month-long series, “A November to Remember: Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes.”
(Post includes excerpted material from Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval – and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes
I’m inviting you to spend the next 30 mornings with me, as we listen to what God says about us, before we listen to what Facebook says to us. We’re after “More Soul; Less Scroll.”
How You Can Be a Part of This Movement:
1 – Print out the Scripture sheets. (Click here for printable versions.) Each of the 30 daily Scriptures are quoted in Love Idol, and each one ties back in some way to our identity in Christ. (You don’t have to read the book to participate in this study. But of course, you’re welcome to! 🙂 )
2 – Find the passage assigned for today’s date.
3 – Ask God to speak to you through His Word, and read the verses assigned.
4 – Consider how God is speaking to you. How does the verse help you remember who you really are, outside of all the cultural noise?
5 – Visit us on the blog, or the Love Idol movement page on Facebook, to share what the verse means to you.
6 – Share your insights on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or your blog, to add more soul to your scroll. 🙂 Tag me, so I can find you. (Or feel free to follow along silently! No social-media presence required.)
I’ll post my own response here on the blog every morning at 5 a.m. Sometimes, you’ll find a story, maybe a few short words, maybe a series of photos. That will happen every day, for all of November, God-willing.
Studies show that the best way to form a habit, is to NOT break the chain. Habits form if you keep at it, one day after the next after the next. After our 30 days, we may have created a new habit of Scripture before Scrolling — a habit that can take us into the Christmas season, and beyond.
If you want to follow along, visit us here every day. Consider subscribing to my blog by clicking here to get these reflections in your email inbox.
A helper sheet for how to do “Pin God 1st” and what it means to pray the scripture (Lectio Divina)
Let this be the November that we remember who we really are: Loved. Preapproved. His.
Find all the posts in the November to Remember series by clicking here.