Posts Tagged ‘fame

23
Apr
21

Fanboy Nerves

Have you ever met a celebrity?

Growing up, my best friend’s father was the weatherman on the Channel Six Nightly News. I always thought it was pretty cool to go over to Kirk’s house and see Nick Thompson – the guy who told thousands of people in the Columbus, Ohio metro area whether to expect rain, snow, sleet, or sun – sitting in his BarcaLounger in a T-shirt, smoking a cigarette, and reading the newspaper. 

Many years later my friend and I bumped into all five members of the Grateful Dead walking up the alleyway behind Seattle’s Paramount Theater. It was an hour before concert time and they were heading into the stage door, getting ready to play. In that stunned, star-struck moment, the only words I could coax from my mouth were, “Play good!”

What an IDIOT!

To that I can add meeting and posing for a picture with ABC TV’s George Stephanopolous [Trust me, there really IS a picture. I know it’s somewhere around here…] and bumping into Bo Jackson as he dropped off his clothes at a Kansas City dry cleaner.

Compared with some people I know, my list of close encounters of the celebrity kind is very short. The fact is, being in the vicinity of famous and/or accomplished people makes me feel awkward, unimportant, and small. I fear if I had more encounters to report, they would all include awkward, blubbering fanboy moments like the one I had with Jerry Garcia and friends. 

But here is the truly amazing thing for me to stop and realize; every day I bump into arguably the most famous, the most earth-shaking, most significant human being the world has ever seen! And instead of tensing up and stuttering, I come away overflowing with trust, confidence, and deep peace.

I am sure you know I’m talking about Jesus, right?

No, he didn’t make multiple platinum selling records, or interview Princess Diana, or set NFL rushing records, or walk on the moon.

All Jesus did was make the deaf hear, the lame walk, the blind see, and the dead live again. He only drew the dividing line between B.C. and A.D. on our calendars and got up from the grave three days after offering his earthly life as a sacrifice for you and me. 

Jesus merely set into motion a world-wide movement that has transformed the hearts of billions of men, women, and children and has survived every attempt to wipe it out. 

And yet… this awesome world-changer reaches out to you and to me every day, smiles, and says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29, NRSV). 

And you know what? 

He doesn’t make me even a little bit nervous.

Abundant blessings;

11
Feb
21

Successful Musings

It’s funny, the way it happens; I hear a random word on the radio and ZIP! ZAP! ZOOM! the wheels start their wild spinning, leading me off into strange and interesting (and hopefully productive) places. 

The word I heard yesterday was SUCCESS. I don’t even remember the context I heard it in. But then, off I went, wondering…

… “Am I a success?”

… “Have I succeeded?”

And finally, “Just what IS success anyway?”

Clearly the first two questions are two VERY different questions indeed, requiring two VERY different analyses.

I can tell very quickly and clearly that – though the day is yet young – I have personally succeeded at many things already; I succeeded at getting out of bed… at making coffee… at taking my car in to the shop… at working out… at cleaning up and getting dressed.

Answering the first question, however, – “Am I a success?” – is a much slipperier proposition. The question seems to be asking me to stand back and dispassionately evaluate my entire life in the light of some objective, universally understood yardstick… a yardstick I may or may not subscribe to.

I mean, are you asking if I am a financial success? Or a spiritual success? Or an emotional success? Do you mean, am I a success in maintaining the health of my family relationships? Or maybe you’re wondering if I am a success in the measure of beneficial impact I have had on the world around me?

What do you mean by SUCCESS, exactly?

Dictionary.com defines the word success as, “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals…” a definition which I find extremely interesting! It seems to be saying that success can only be measured at the END… once you have stopped trying. 

So, yes, I have stopped trying to succeed in the NBA. HOWEVER… since it was not a FAVORABLE termination of my endeavors, I can’t really say I succeeded as a professional basketball player, can I?

Maybe a better question to ask is: WHY do we devote so much time and energy to the subject of success? What causes some of us (certainly not ALL of us) to worry so much about how our lives stack up… either against the lives of other people, or against some kind of external, artificial, culturally imposed standard?

How much misery has been caused by our striving after success? How much suffering has one person inflicted on another in the pursuit of success?

Please don’t misunderstand me: I believe goals are good… STANDARDS are laudable… Life is richer, deeper, more textured when it is ABOUT something and has PURPOSE and DIRECTION. 

Maybe the issue has more to do with WHOSE standards of success we are trying to attain? 

How about instead of allowing People magazine, HGTV, or the latest internet influencer to set our standards, we turn and ask God what GOD’S standards of success are?

Jesus helps us “get our minds right” on this question right there in the Sermon on the Mount when he says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33, NRSV). And I don’t know about you, but for me it is refreshing to be reminded that aiming for success on God’s terms doesn’t depend on my level of athletic ability, my intelligence, my innate problem-solving skills, or my boyish good looks. 

WHEW!

It only depends on my willingness to SEEK God’s kingdom… and to receive God’s forgiveness when I fall short. (Which, incidentally, I do EVERY SINGLE DAY). 

So… am I a success – in God’s eyes? 

Are you?




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