God is closer to you than your own skin.
It’s amazing how much we are geared to “reach the masses.”
“Drive more people to your blog!”
“How to quadruple your reach using social media!”
“Get your song/book published!”
“Learn the right strategy to attract more people to your platform!”
It’s how we view our world… that we must win over the masses; we must influence, entertain, impress… lots and lots of people.
But if we change our vista… if we adjust our paradigm… if we reevaluate our priorities, we’ll probably find that influencing the masses isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Think of all the celebrities on anti-depressants.
What we all long for are deep, satisfying relationships. We can’t get those from a crowd. We can’t even get them IN a crowd! Jesus’ most life-changing miracles were those that happened to ONE person. He walked from town to town to encounter one person at a time.
Why is “notoriety” society’s measurement of success? Is a person a failure if they aren’t “known” by many? And if we gear our message to “the many,” what kind of message will it be? Frankly I don’t want a ministry that “reaches many,” because that’s like having a one-sided conversation. But that’s how performing artists are geared. We get on stage. We perform for audiences. We sell CD’s. We go home. Alone.
That’s why I’m so glad I became a roster artist with Incubator Creative Group. They are helping me focus on “the one” rather than “the masses.” Relationship. It’s all about relationship.
I was thinking about auto-immune diseases today. They seem to be rampant in our world. Everything from Rheumatoid Arthritis to Lupus to Alopecia. It seems like almost everything is an auto-immune disorder. An auto-immune disorder happens when your body is fighting especially hard against something that doesn’t belong there… like toxins, cancers, bad bacteria, etc., and in fighting so hard, it starts to fight against healthy cells… Your body begins fighting itself.
But that isn’t the nature of the body, is it? The body is perfectly formed to live. Every cell has a purpose, and when the body is properly nourished, it’s an amazing machine! It’s programmed to protect itself, to heal itself. But because of foreign invaders, the body kicks into overdrive like a warrior whose adrenaline won’t stop pumping. It’s like our body morphs from Dr. Bruce Banner to the Incredible Hulk… destructive and out of control.
Now let’s think about that in a spiritual way. We Christians are taught to believe we’re in a battle against the Enemy, and I’m not debating that. I believe such a force exists that is bent on destruction, that even though it is defeated and will never win… it keeps on fighting. But when we focus on the battle instead of focusing on resting in our Creator… that’s when we begin to turn on ourselves.
Maybe you’ve heard that joke about the two baptists on a bridge. One of them is about to jump off, and the other one says “don’t do it!” He asks if he’s a Christian… then what denomination… They whittle it down to about 10 different sects within the denomination. “Northern Conservative or Northern Liberal?” “Me too!”
Then “Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?’
‘Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.’
‘Die, heretic!’ And he pushes him over.
Yep. That’s us. We look for the least thing that is different about us, and attack it. Why? Because we’re dead-set on battle. And I don’t deny that there’s a battle. What I question is the way we go about fighting.
What if… we fight by loving?
What if… we fight by seeing Christ in all people?
What if… we fight by “turning the other cheek”?
What if… we rest and abide in our Creator rather than work ourselves into a frenzy?
What if… we don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone?
What if… we don’t have to even prove ourselves to God?
What if… He loves us already?
What if… He accepts us already?
What if… He already died for us and rose again?
What if… We are in union with him?
What if… We are the New Man, the New Creation…. already… and don’t need to strive to become that? I mean wasn’t that already accomplished for us by One Man? And isn’t it evident that we can’t do it ourselves?
What if… we give up trying?
What if… we give up fighting?
What if… we simply rest in our Passover Sabbath: Jesus Christ?
Every time we feel our hackles go up because someone says something “unbiblical” or “heretical” …. that’s our spiritual immune system going into overdrive. What exactly are we protecting when we feel the need to throw Bible verses at someone? I’ve heard of the Sword of the Spirit…. but honestly, I don’t think that’s how it works!
Every time we think about another person in terms of their beliefs instead of in terms of their humanity… we’re seeing them as a foreign invader, not a part of the body.
I think it would be much easier if we just loved them.
My living room has big, tall windows across the back that I can look out of while I sit in my chair. There are no window coverings, because we wanted to be able to see every inch of landscape visible. It’s a peaceful, bucolic scene when the trees are full of leaves. In the early summer, we watch hundreds of fireflies light up our back yard.
But sometimes, like now when the trees are bare, the lights from businesses on the nearest street shine in my eyes.
Sometimes I imagine myself with a BB gun. Just sayin.
This morning, I started my writing time at 5am. I sat in my usual place, looked out the windows at the shadows of trees in the dark… saw some of the usual streetlights, and then … way up high… a really bright light.
Wow. Who put that light up in the trees just on the other side of the creek?
Oh. That’s the moon.
God did that.
It’s completely round and so bright it could be a spotlight.
A brilliant moon that’s there for me to see whenever I choose to look. Whenever I decide to get up early enough at the right time of year, God’s gift is hanging there in the sky for me to see it. God doesn’t wait to find out if I’m going to look out the window, and then put a moon there for me. “Oh, you’re up, looking out the window! Here … let me go get a moon for you!”
It’s simply always here.
He is simply always here…
Providing light, comfort, joy… providing a way to see things His way.
Around 6am, the moon had fallen into a hidden place behind my door frame. I had to lean over and then twist my neck down to an awkward position to see it. I could tell it was there, but it was obscured by the beam that crosses my deck.
But now, at 6:55… there it is in all its glory shining in at eye level in the next window over. It looks like a hot air balloon landing half a mile away. Huge.
I run to get my camera… the one with all the special settings that I don’t know how to use. I want you to see just how amazing this moon is, staring at me through my window like a bird that’s landed on my windowsill, come to sing me a song.
It’s dark in my house. The indoor fountain is giving off a little light, but other than that, there are just some silhouettes of the everyday clutter. It’s nice that I can’t see all the clutter… that all I can see is the moon and the tiny bit of sky that’s getting lighter and lighter.
Hurry. Take the picture before it gets too light.
I have to make quite a few setting changes on the camera to get the photo to look anything at all like what I see with my naked eye. Even without the flash, the camera keeps lighting up the room, showing my clutter. Try changing this setting. Now this setting. Hurry.
Of course, even in the best photo, the moon looks like the head of a pin … not like the giant, glowing serving platter I’m trying to capture.
But it’s the best I can do.
And the moon…. It’s doing the best it can do, reflecting the light of the sun.
Now it’s 7:10, and the sky is blue. I can see everything outside … the ugly yellow house behind us, the clutter on my deck, the naked winter trees, the rooftops of the business behind the creek… the one the moon is trying to hide behind.
Now it’s 7:17, and the moon is “gone.” Streaks of pink are showing up in the sky, like freshly painted watercolor. They are the gift of the moment. I did nothing to deserve them or the moon… my very own moon that came to visit… because it was always there. Because God is always here.
I love creating and “performing” soaking prayer sessions. Because “soaking prayer” has so many different forms, sometimes I like to call my creations “listening prayer.” It is a form of contemplative prayer, when you are bathed in prayer, scripture, and song.—a relaxing, meditative time to spend with your Creator, listening to whatever HE has for you to hear. This type of presentation lends itself to my style of music… contemplative and prayerful.
I usually use a mix of my own original songs, well-known hymns, contemporary praise songs, and instrumentals… some pre-recorded, and some live.
Here’s an excerpt from one of my recent soaking prayer presentations (recorded live, so it’s not a perfect recording)–my version of that beloved hymn “Be Thou My Vision.” This is my constant prayer… to see with His eyes and feel with His heart: https://soundcloud.com/jackie-doss/be-thou-my-vision-live-1
I posted a couple of my original songs on SoundCloud. Take a listen if you’d like. I appreciate your feedback. These are both “works in progress,” kinda like me. 🙂
When I thought I was going to die of melanoma, I found myself mourning the person I could have been. I kept asking God, “What significant thing am I supposed to do? I know I was put here for a purpose. Show it to me, before it’s too late!”
One of my favorite TV shows at the time was “Joan of Arcadia,” about a teenager who saw God in the form of different people. He usually had a task for her to blindly oblige to, despite her protests. The episode that awakened me was one in which Joan wanted “a thing,” a thing that made her special. Her boyfriend had art. Her brother had science. Everyone she knew seemed to be good at something. And she wanted that special thing that made her stand out.
God told her to work on the yearbook, so she took that as “This is it! This is my THING! I’m going to excel at it. People will notice me! I’ll be Joan of the photographer!” Her stint at the yearbook turned out to be one disappointment after another. She was assigned to taking out the trash.
Then, in the trash, she found a poem that her friend wrote. She made copies of it and littered the campus with it, so that her friend’s poem could be read by everyone. The poem was anonymously written, and her deed was anonymously performed. But it showed her friend how much she cared for her, and it enlightened the whole school.
That, as it turned out, was her thing… a small deed for that moment. I realized that I no longer had to strive for “a thing,” or regret that I never had one. I realized that living purposefully in each moment, appreciating others, showing them love, speaking truth into their lives, just being there when needed by them… that is the essence of everyone’s “big thing.” Everyone’s big thing is a lot of little things. It’s living in the moment. Living each and every moment as a Christ follower.
Our obscurity is our biggest blessing, and can be a multitude of blessings to the world.