We were blessed with tickets to WinterJam recently; what a crazy, amazing evening we had. Because you buy tickets at the door, people started lining up hours before the concert started. We were there pretty early (about four hours), making memories that will last a lifetime. And while I’m not a big concert fan (it is too loud, not because I’m too old but because I want to be able to hear when I am old, lol), it was a delightful evening.
The experience was eye-opening in a way I didn’t expect, as well. WinterJam features ten different bands, from a variety of genres. Most are what I’m familiar with, artists I’ve heard of. A few, however, were completely unfamiliar to me…completely. The heavy metal, head-banging music didn’t attract me at all…I actually went to walk around the mezzanine during that one…
But one genre, equally unfamiliar, caught my attention. Trip Lee, a black rap/hip hop artist, shared a couple of “ballad raps” that were incredibly powerful. One in particular really spoke to my heart. The title is “Sweet Victory“. The words that caught my attention, though, were the beginning phrases and the chorus…”I feel thorns where my crown was…”.
God seems to be taking me back to revisit the whole idea of keeping my crown on. For some reason (innocence?) I thought with such a powerful lesson, it would be “one and done”. I wouldn’t have to take another trip around Mt. Sinai with this one. But I do, and I am. The onion is smaller now…another whole layer peeled back (can there really be anything left?). But the concept is the same; my value is not based on my performance.
I’m struggling because as often as I repeat that statement, it still feels like my value is determined by my performance. And I hoped, beyond hope, that somehow I could guarantee an outcome by my performance?! That was wrong…totally wrong.
Outcomes are not determined by performance. David struggled with that in the Psalms. Our Black and Hispanic brothers and sisters struggle with it on a different level today. To some degree almost anyone can identify. Performance…behavior…you can do your very best, and somebody is always going to be better, or at least appear that way on the outside. It is easy to focus on the circumstances and to accept the dunce cap (because that is so often what the world tries to squash down on our heads) instead of choosing to sit at Jesus’ feet, embracing the value we have from Him.
I am still struggling, honestly. Assumptions I made about cause and effect, and illusions I entertained about controlling outcomes, and the pain of coming to grips with the way life is compared to the way I thought life would be…I definitely feel those thorns…and they are sharp, and they hurt, and I don’t like them!! They don’t feel “good” in any sense of the word.
What is good, however, are the gentle words of Jesus…”I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT. Those words, taken to heart regardless of the circumstances change my perspective, and I can once again walk in confidence, a daughter of the King. Life is hard. Life hurts. But God is still good and He can still be trusted…even if I feel thorns where my crown was…