When Not A Single Soul is “Wowed” by You

November 4, 2012 | 40 comments

You’re the girl sitting alone at the lunch table. You’re the woman in the back pew. You look at your Facebook news feed and realize suddenly: you’re the only one who didn’t get invited.

Or maybe you’re the blogger with a handful of followers, the pastor with a half-empty church, or the writer who can’t get a publisher to even take one look at your manuscript.

It’s this feeling: I’m a nobody. I wow no one. Not a single soul is dazzled by me. Worse: I am completely unseen.

It’s not just women. A male friend of ours told us recently that when he’s in a group of other men, he always feels less-than. He feels he’s not as spiritual, as “successful,” or as accomplished as his peers. And it seems like no one is looking his way to seek his input in a group conversation. And he ached over it.

In the midst of it, you can feel like a complete loser.

Our culture has an answer for all of us: The Wow Factor. Wow them with your dance, your song, your voice, … even your snarkiness and your sass.

But what the world offers — apart from God — simply isn’t working.

What if we became less interested in wowing others, and more focused on being wowed by God? 

God is right there, waving His arms, saying, “Look! Look! See what I’ve made for you here? See, now, the wonder of your very own children, and the dazzling night sky, and the ruby color in the communion cup? Child, you are adored, cherished, important, and all kinds of WOW to me.”

I think now of the example of Christ, who was constantly being baited into showing off and producing the Wow for the crowd. And Jesus, again and again, asked the people around him not to tell anyone about His miracles. He asked them not to worship the Wow Factor, but to worship the God of all Wow.

“If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing.”

~ Jesus Christ

(John 8:54)

Photo from a Casting Crowns concert…

by | November 4, 2012 | 40 comments

40 Comments

  1. R

    Just had to let you know how God used you to speak to my heart this morning. I, too, live on a farm with my husband and family. We’ve been attending a small country church for nearly 20 years. Lately, my closest friend has “left” me for another…someone who is more spiritual, has more “wow” factor. I know what you say is true and that I should focus on God, not the “wow” factor. I’m trying but all too frequently feelings of hurt and rejection surface back up and I feel alone again. Thank you for being God’s servant.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Ugh. Oh, R, I am so sorry to hear about your friend. That hurts.

      I wish I could reach through the screen to hug you.

      In my own way, I’ve felt it. Actually, it’s present-tense. I FEEL it. My own insecurities tell me that I’m less-than, not as _____ (fill in the blank) as someone else and so on. That’s my old nature. And I have to constantly fight it with reminders of who I am in Christ.

      Friend, I write these posts for others, but I also write them to my very own heart, a way to remind myself of God’s truth. It’s not in our nature to look toward God. Our nature says, “look at your own sorry self. You don’t measure up.” And Satan is right there, whispering, “What is everyone thinking of you now?” …

      I just want to encourage you right now, friend, that God utterly cherishes you. And He sees right into your heart and your pain. And when He looks at you, He says, “WOW. This one is mine.”

      Reply
  2. Lynn Morrissey

    This is such a beautiful and vital post, Jennifer, and reminds us that our focus should be on Him. Our wow should be the WOW of WORSHIP! What a great God we serve. And, remarkably, as we WOW God, what does He do? He stoops LOW and comes to earth in the womb of a young virgin, grows up to serve with a towel draped over His arm, and ultimately dies an ignoable death on a cruel cross. There are no words for this wow. Imagine, the God of the Universe condescended to focus on *us*! And He wows us and rejoices over *us* with singing. Wow! I will say, too, that it is good if we wow others, because sometimes they are so low that without our love, support, and encouragement, they will not be able to get up. I think of my dear brother right now, who feels like the world’s biggest loser. He’s lost his wife, he has literally lost his house and is homeless, he has emotional issues that we cannot begin to solve based on a lifetime of losses, and he thinks he is an utter failure. He doesn’t want to go on. We try to be with him whenever possible (he lives o.o. town….and now, we’re trying to figure out where he will live), I write to him often sending WOW cards and telling him how important he is, how loved by God and us, how gifted. We don’t need the world’s wow factor, and the Bible teaches us not to pursue it or devise our own (God will exalt us in due time; we shouldn’t exalt ourselves), but sometimes we need someone to believe in us. Thank you for believing in your readers by coming alongside with such wonderful, daily encouragement, pointing us to God. As always, this is a beautiful post, and you *always* amaze me with your deep insights! Love, Lynn

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Now that’s the right kind of WOW, Lynn! You inspire and mentor me with your words here in this space. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  3. Dea

    Here’s real: Sometimes I feel I need the “wows” so that I am representing Christ well. Whoa!! He doesn’t need me to be his public relations person. He just wants me and I should want his grace and presence more than the accolades of others—even if I think I would turn them back to Him.
    (Gal. 1:10) Great thoughts today my friend.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Dea … Yes. Right there with you. I raise a hand to confess it. Thank you for your words in this space. And that verse? It’s the key one for my book — not only the content, but also for the author writing it. Thank you, thank you, friend.

      Reply
  4. Deb Weaver

    Such a needed now message! May we follow in the steps of Jesus and be wowed by our Father!

    Deb Weaver
    thewordweaver.com

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Grateful for your words here, Deb. Thank you for stopping by. xo

      Reply
  5. Penni

    Awesome post – thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      You are welcome, Penni.

      Reply
  6. Lisa L Keck

    Thanks. I needed this. I only have a handful of followers at each of my blogs and it can be discouraging. No agent–discouraging. Book sales stalled (or stopped if I’m not feeling optimistic)—discouraging. I need the resolution to follow, to keep on keeping on.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Cheering you on, Lisa! I love your heart. Press on, for Him, Lisa. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion … xo

      Reply
  7. kd sullivan

    This. is. amazing. I am wowed by it!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hey kd … thanks for being here, and for sharing on Facebook. Take care, friend.

      Reply
  8. Ray Hollenbach

    This is a fine post for any or us: Whether we sit at the cool kids-table or brown bag it alone. Nice work today.

    Reply
  9. Matthew Kreider

    Our Father is wowed each and every time we look to Him. No wonder I feel so miserable when I open my arms to Him — but still have my eyes glued somewhere else. Bless you, Jennifer. 🙂

    Reply
  10. sharon

    Yes this. These words written here today are what I’ve been thinking. Feeling. Crying out to God thinking there must be something wrong with me. Maybe I am not enough. No one, other than maybe my husband, is “wowed” by me.;-)

    I have blogged since 2008 in obscurity. Ready to give it all up and go back to just writing in my journals. It was easier then. I knew my reason for writing. It was to Him. For Him. For my healing. As I read your words today I heard Him whisper “it’s still for Me”. “If only one person is challenged or encouraged by your story will you keep writing for ME?”

    It’s so easy to get off track. To forget why I write. Why I live! To bring glory to Him and the story HE writes on my heart.

    Thank you Jennifer. I needed this reminder today.

    Reply
    • sharon

      This post has been on my heart all morning…it wouldn’t let me go. So I had to blog about it!! 🙂 Thanks again!!

      Reply
  11. David Rupert

    It’s a tough world out there to get noticed! And you see the gathering of “friends” and “Likes” — just the popular kids in school gathered allies. For the outsider, it’s no fun.

    That’s why we just need to be faithful. Forget all the noise. Forget being seen and applauded. We write for an audience of one. We preach, we teach, we serve … for God alone.

    A really helpful and encouraging post for “the rest of us.”

    Reply
  12. ro.ellott

    I often think about when we get to heaven…those who had the biggest”wow” factor probably are the ones who are the most obscure in this world…we do live in an upside down kingdom….you heart is so encouraging…thanks for cheering on your brothers and sisters in Christ:)

    Reply
  13. Sandra Heska King

    Oh to remember that we are all kinds of WOW to Him! It makes all else pale in the light of that truth.

    Reply
  14. Christy

    I felt a little like this at the Allume conference I just attended. 400 bloggers all wanting someone to see them, pick them out of the crowd, to be valued and affirmed and yet…no wow factor here and it can feel like you aren’t important. The truth ringing in my ears today that the only person I need to wow is God. Praying that would be my focus always in whatever and with whoever.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Christy … I want you to know that I see you, and I hear you. You’d think that it would disappear at some point. I have an agent and a book contract with a major Christian publisher. But you know what I do sometimes? I don’t even want to admit it, but I will. Sometimes, I look around at everyone else thinking that I’m on the outside, and everyone belongs, and that no one sees me. I understand that it’s ridiculous. It’s not helpful at all. And then you know what I do? I look up. I literally LOOK UP. If my eyes are focused on Christ, I cannot focus on my own heart. I speak Truth over myself, and remind my own heart that it is uniquely created by God. And that God made only one me, and that He values me. It works. Every time. Our El Roi is the God Who Sees. And Christy, He sees you.

      Look up. He wants to look you in the eye, sweet sister.

      Reply
      • Christy

        Thank you, Jennifer! With tears in my eyes I read your encouraging words. I appreciate the tangible act of just looking up and will give it a try. I try to worship that way, looking up, seeing Him. In a “me, me, me” world it takes special effort to daily remind yourself that you always matter to Him and the rest is just icing on the cake. It can still feel lonely, as you said. Thanks for seeing me today, Jennifer! I see you, too.

        Reply
  15. Kathy Schwanke

    My recent devotion in our MOPS newsletter was about this very thing. When I got done writing it, I thought, “Wow God!” because I usually brush off that thing~the comparison, feeling ‘less-than’ thing, but often it clouds me for a time before I give it the ‘brush-off’ …so hearing His heart about it come through my keyboard was a huge love-gift.

    He said the reason we do that is that we tend to look at the sparkle of celebrity rather than the sparkle of faithfulness.

    Also a lovely, powerful kingdom-woman ended a recent email to me saying, “I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with you.” and it made me consider….isn’t he doing anything with me now? Do I have to aspire to something more…’sparkly’? And the Lord led me to Joseph and him standing before Jesus and him not getting ONE high-five, but a trillion for all the days of his being faithful on his journey to the ‘big one’ as Pharaoh’s right-hand-man.

    This is a story that ministers daily. The Lord looks not on the outside, but at the heart. Yours is sparkly! 🙂

    Reply
  16. michelle derusha

    Well I know you know you’re writing this just for me today, Miss Jennifer Lee. Feeling a bit low…so grateful for these words. And for YOU.

    Reply
  17. LORI Poppinga

    Oh the insecurities that pile up when in a 1st world country…when we don’t have to struggle for survival. I have been hearing the little insecurity voice lately myself~Excellent reminder to keep my eyes focused on the One, True WOW!
    Keep up the God work.

    Reply
  18. Danelle

    You were thinking of me this morning? Thank you Jennifer. I am giving you the biggest, warmest hug. So grateful for you.

    Reply
  19. Diana Trautwein

    A much-needed reminder for all of us, Jennifer. It is so easy to listen to that sinuous voice of doom/destruction/despair and believe that we are somehow ‘less than’ when no one stops by, leaves a comment or encourages. Faithfulness – as David noted – is what is asked, not popularity. That’s a hard battle for every one of us and your good words call us back from the ledge of self-doubt and over-focus to looking at the great gifts that are already ours because of Jesus. Thank you1

    Reply
  20. kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing

    Anyone who puts themselves out there has to struggle with this I think – at least a little – I say it’s all for Him – and if it really is all for Him – then those numbers don’t matter – right? yet I struggle with it anyway sometimes – I just do! Love this sweet reminder that I am not alone in my struggles 🙂 it’s His – all His . . . He was rejected by His own but somehow I seem to think I should have better (I’m so silly) This is a timely message – Thank You! smiling and praising Him with you and for you-

    Reply
  21. Dionne

    I was just pondering this with my husband. I said, “Do you ever feel like what you do is in vain?” Sadly, that is my search for significance speaking. My parents were lousy at making me feel like I was a WOW in there life. Unfortunately, needing significance and others’ attention is just human nature and God understands this…which is why to me it feels so incredibly fulfilling when I am truly doing something that comes from God and is for his glory. Love your realness. Wish I didn’t struggle with wowing, but I do.

    Reply
  22. Lisa

    Jennifer thank you for giving me just what I needed to hear today. I was having a hard time this morning facing yet another day feeling like a loser because I’m not included in the office “popular girls club”. I prayed on the way to work for God to help me with that today – my prayer was answered as soon as I read your post. How faithful is our Father! Now that’s a Wow! It reminded me too of how many times Jesus was rejected in his lifetime and that got my perspective back on track. Thanks for sharing your gift.

    Reply
  23. Diane Bailey

    Oh to always remember it is not about me, but Him. I needed to remember that I fit-in perfectly with Jesus, thank you Jennifer.

    Reply
  24. SimplyDarlene

    wow, it was so much easier before the internet to be the brown-bagger…

    Reply
  25. floyd

    It’s all about humility. In it we find his wisdom and omnipotence. The fact that He chose us makes us infinitely more than what anyone else thinks about us.

    Reply
  26. Susan

    I’ve had two husbands and a dear friend leave me for the wow factor. A heart broken has been soothed and comforted by a dear Heavenly Father. I’ve realized that the only arm I can trust in is his. Wonderful post.

    Reply
  27. Dena Dyer

    In a world of splashy, inch-deep pools of pizzazz, you give us depth, dear friend. (With some beautiful pizzazz thrown in…but it always sparkles because God is shining the light.) I am so thankful for your faithfulness to share what He is teaching you. I just love you.

    Reply
  28. Ashley Haupt

    I think for many of us out here, jennifer, it means a lot for YOU to write this, having an agent and a book contract and knowing you still feel this way… your honesty touches us. Because it also teaches us that it’s not about arriving, but about being comfortable in our skin and our identity (in Christ) now. To hold that success loosely like a kite string: maybe God will make it soar, or maybe it will fall flat, but we need to be able to let go either way.

    Reply

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