Several years ago, when speaking to a large group of people, I saw a person in the crowd nodding off. I was a young communicator, and well, I took that very personally back then. No matter all the other comments and positive feedback I received about the teaching, no matter how many people’s lives had been touched, I believed I had done a terrible job, was a horrible teacher and communicator, and truly questioned if I should ever teach again. I continued on, but for years, I struggled with my own self-confidence and issues of insecurity. However, one day (when I had matured a bit and was more secure in who God has called me to be) I saw this entirely different.
I was watching (by video) one of my favorite, all time teachers speak to a crowd that filled a stadium. I was captivated and hanging on every word. Deep was calling unto deep with everything she was saying and it was releasing something within me spiritually that I yearned for. Yet as the cameras scanned the audience as they often do, a woman in the crowd caught my attention. She was fighting to stay awake. She looked tired, worn down, even a tad discouraged. Like as if she’d had a really rough week and it took everything she had to get to that meeting. She could hardly keep her eyes open, but she was there.
At first, I was shocked. Shocked that someone could be sitting in that room, listening to that speaker, with a live seat, and drifting off in the middle of such a brilliant and what I thought was life-changing message! But then suddenly, it hit me. I saw myself in her. All those mornings when I’d fight to get up an hour or two before sunrise just so I could get alone in God’s presence. Tired. Sleepy. Full agenda ahead of me for the day. Eyes watering and beating myself up because I was having to read the same sentence in my Bible multiple times. I saw myself in her all those times I had still managed to go to church even after a long day of work, when I would have much rather order takeout and pour a hot bubble bath. I saw myself when I showed up at my small group with nothing to say, but only sat and listened. I saw myself pushing through seasons of incredible pain when I didn’t have the words to pray and didn’t want to speak anyone, but I still reached over and hit the play button, letting the worship music wash over me.
I completely lost track of the message I was tuning in to and tears started running down my face as I thought of that women in the crowd. Suddenly, I didn’t see just a woman dozing off. I felt as though I was seeing what God was seeing: an offering. And as she sat quietly, I could almost smell the fragrant aroma from her heart rising up to the Father.
She came with what she had: herself. And for God, that was enough. I felt like I instantly knew that she would much rather just sit there and let the message and the worship and the power of the environment wash over and minister to her in a way nothing else could. I realized the sacredness of her being there, and I was so deeply moved, and so very happy she had made it. That moment marked me.
I share this because I think sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves, especially when it comes to what we think our time with God “should” look like. I know right now especially, there are many people who are struggling with added pressures and new challenges. There are many who are suffering. And at those times when we feel empty, or drained, we may even avoid getting in God’s presence because we don’t feel like we have the energy to, or don’t have anything to give. But quite honestly, sometimes the best thing we can do is just bring ourselves, as we are. Let go of that need for sense of accomplishment. Just be, and give ourselves as an offering in the presence of the Lord.
Never underestimate the value and the transference of strength and power that we gain from those moments when we just show up. When we press play. When we close our eyes and just listen. When yes, we may be totally and utterly exhausted, but we’re there and we came anyway. God sees those moments and He will never leave us empty. Just show up.
Your friend, who doesn’t judge you, but sees your offering and celebrates it,
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.”Matthew 11:28 TPT