“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” –James 4:10
It’s hard to believe that it is already mid-November. Ten and a half months into my year-long intimacy fast, and I have never felt so alive!
If you are in-touch with pop-culture, I’m sure you’re familiar with “No Shave November”–a month dedicated to raw masculine appeal. A month defined by spectacular, untouched facial hair. A month honoring the finest form of upper-lip artwork…the mustache. That curly-haired lip caterpillar is so spectacular, it redefines a month. Turning what used to be “November” into “Mo-vember”–a true honor for the studly ‘stache.
Though I’ve had a few friends joke, here and there, about the name of the month corresponding with my name, it wasn’t until recently that I paid much attention to the title–and for unique reason.
You see, this month has been marked by incredible emotion. Intense highs, stunning lows–ultimately, immeasurable blessings. The three most notable events stand at the forefront of my mind. First, the conclusion of my 16 year soccer career–a loss in the NCAA tournament that closed one of the most extensive and defining chapters of my life, and ended my college career on the LSU Soccer team. Secondly, being voted by my peers and crowned the 2011 LSU Homecoming Queen–an overwhelming introduction to the newest chapter of my life, and a humbling honor that has countless layers of significance to my heart. And lastly, winning the online fan vote for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award–an award with an overall winner still yet to be named, but with a message of support that floored me. Literally.
It wasn’t until just a few days ago, in the aftermath of so much intense emotion, that I was walking to class and passed a group of college co-eds. As we shuffled by on the sidewalk, I smiled and waved, and they hollered out in kind support. “Congrats Mo! What a crazy year! You deserve it all! Everybody, it’s ‘Mo-vember!’” Little do they know, the things they yelled have turned my world up-side-down these past few days, and have stirred my heart to a new place.
Now before you roll your eyes, click away from the page, and dismiss me as a self-promoting narcissist, I encourage you to read on. Because the reason this phrase turned my world up-side-down, is likely not the reason you would assume.
Don’t get me wrong, the group that shouted their support–as well as all of the fantastic individuals who have written on my facebook wall, tweeted me, texted me, emailed me, and extended their love–have done so with the purest of intentions. All of your overwhelming love and encouragement and affirmation has meant more to my heart than I will ever be able to express. You have given me such joy, you have humbled me, and you have filled me with a passion that is overflowing. To all of the LSU students who voted for Homecoming, to the countless individuals who voted for the Lowe’s Award–often over and over again–, to every person, coach, player, and fan who has ever supported me through my soccer career…”Thank You” just simply isn’t enough. I don’t even know how to put into words the appreciation I have for you. The respect I have for you. The love I have for you. I wish there was a phrase so much grander than “thank you”. I wish I could hug each of you, look you in the eye, and share the passion I have for you. But I suppose I will leave it at a resounding “THANK YOU SO MUCH!” until the day I can shake your hand.
However, all of the praise and attention that has come in the past few months, and this month in particular, has truly humbled me to a new place. A place unfamiliar.
The phrase that has repeatedly echoed with the most intensity is, “What a crazy year!” I’ve heard similar dialog from others in the form of, “Wow, what coincidence that so much is happening all at once!”, and “This has been a storybook year for you.” While these comments and congratulations certainly make my blood pump and excite me, the fact of the matter is that they violently humble me. And the most humbling element of all is that I should not be surprised.
I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, “Wow, this chick has got some real ego issues.” But I promise I am getting to the point. Hang with me.
Time and time again, the Bible assures us that if we make sacrifices for God, we will be rewarded. If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. If we humble ourselves before our King, He will lift us up. If we place our faith in Him, He will carry us. That we are in this world, not of it. And if we can make ourselves uncomfortable in our own lives and obey the Word, we will bear fruit.
That is what this year has been all about in my personal journey. Humbling myself to the King as best as I know how. Stepping away from my physical wants and desires and turning completely to God. It has been a hard year. It has challenged me, it has hurt at time, it has left me vulnerable, embarrassed, weak, sometimes lonely. It has taken every conscious thought of every single day to remain focused and remind myself why I am traveling through such an awkward journey. Ultimately, time and time again, it has led me to the foot of the cross–pleading for answers, and weak in my inadequacy.
And now, as the year of an indescribable journey is coming to a close, He has followed through on His Word. What? Wow! Why does that shock me? I am supposed to be a solid believer. I am supposed to know that He will do what He says He will do in His Word. I am supposed to have undoubting faith. So why do I find myself stunned at the end of this year as He lifts my spirit with such fantastic blessings? I suppose, yet again, I’m reminded why I am so human. Aren’t we all?
There is nothing coincidental about this year. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God: for he that comes to God must believe that He is King, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Read that again. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He rewards our efforts to know Him more. Trust me, I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I fail, daily. I sin, hourly. But when all is said and done, I find great humility in constantly seeking to know Him more. Constantly and diligently striving to give more of myself to Him, as best as I know how. At the end of the day, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God blesses those efforts. God smiles on those who love Him and those who use the platform He has blessed them with to glorify Him and His Kingdom.
That brings me to the next thing they hollered–the line that brings me to me knees at the foot of Christ. “You deserve it all!” What great intention so many have had in telling me that. I truly do appreciate your kind regards. And I do understand what people mean when they express this form of congratulations. But at the end of the day, I deserve nothing. We earn nothing. I’m sure you are thinking, “Where is this girl about to take this? That’s a kind compliment. Why does she always have to get so deep?” Haha. I know, I know. But there is a great lesson in great success.
Great athletes, great intellects, great entrepreneurs, great missionaries, great service men and women…all great individuals share commonalities. They work incredibly hard at what they do. They invest time, energy, effort, money, and passion into their talents. They set themselves apart by their work ethic and determination, and often times they are rewarded in outstanding ways. But at the end of the day, they earned nothing. We deserve nothing. We deserve death. We are sinners and we lie and we steal and we cheat and we lust. We are totally fallible and unworthy of God’s love. BUT IN FAITH WE GAIN EVERYTHING. Because Jesus Christ died on the cross, we gain salvation! We gain hope! Because God loves us so incredibly much, He sent His own Son to die for us. Because of THAT, alone, we gain life.
Wow! What a concept to wrap your mind around. In all we do, we deserve nothing. But God loves us so much, He yearns for us to love Him and to use His blessings to glorify Him! Every success I’ve ever had is due entirely to God. My health, my soccer career, my athletic achievements. All are due to the glory of God. I would be nothing without His grace. Every accomplishment, every blessing–from the smallest in scale to the grandest in size–are all due to God and His infinite glory. I deserve nothing. We deserve nothing. But we gain everything through God.
I am nothing. But Christ Jesus inside me is everything! We ALL share the ability to host the King of all Kings in our hearts. Every single one of us. No matter your past, no matter your present–you hold an unimaginable future! Let’s be diligent, let’s be faithful. Let’s seek Him FIRST.
”For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation.” –Psalms 149:4
I want to know God more. I want to love God more. And because of that deep, active desire in my heart, God has blessed me with this mind-blowing month of “Mo-vember”. Such a silly phrase. I wish “God-vember” rhythmed better. This is NOT “Mo-vember”. This is a great month of active blessing. I hope ALL who see the earthly successes in my life know that those successes are trivial to the spiritual success of knowing Christ Jesus. I hope people will yearn to love God with the same intensity they yearn to succeed. I hope people will praise our King like they praise our athletic figures, movie stars and musicians. I hope people will see, through my journey, that GOD FOLLOWS THROUGH ON HIS WORD.
It is not important what you wear, how you look, where you live, what you drive. It is not important how many championships you have won, how many trophies you have, or how popular you are. It is not important that I have broken records, been crowned Homecoming Queen, and won popular fan voting for the Lowe’s Award.
It is important that we know God. It is important that we love God. And it is important that we diligently seek Him, and give Him praise in all we do. I promise you, with every fiber in my being, that if you put God first, you will know His blessings.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” –James 4:8