As my posse and I approached the front of the auditorium, she dropped her headset and ran to embrace us.
“Erik, how are you? So great to see you! How’s the church? The family? Let me call down front and see if they have your seats ready.”
Hillsong United had come to town. The U2 of church music was prepping to turn it up to eleven, and since we were technically signed to the same music label, I was getting the rock star treatment from event coordinators. Not just free tickets, we had an entire section reserved for our team. A personal escort. And a giant bowl of all green m&m’s. (OK, no m&m’s, but that would have been sweet, right?).
Can I be honest? I liked it.
I (thought I) knew who I was. A respected songwriter. People were singing songs I helped write in churches all over the globe. We had an album released in over 160 countries. I felt strong. Respected. At the top of my craft.
People treated me as special, so I felt important.
Four months later, God swept me into an entirely new adventure. Church planter.
Anonymity. Small crowds. Smaller salary. Unnoticed dirty work. Lots of mistakes. Down in the trenches. Where the only m&m’s you get are the ones people accidentally dropped on the street in front of you.
I was invisible (or deemed crazy) to most people, so I felt small.
And so began a painfully brutal personal journey I’ve been on for over two years now. One I win some days, and lose on others. A fracture in my foundation that I’m determined to allow God to heal.
I allow people and circumstances to define how I see myself. I fear man.
On any given day, I can feel competent. Strong. Wise. Creative. Important.
Or I can embrace shame. Fear. Weakness. Insecurity. Less than. All based on subconscious reads I get from the people and circumstances around me.
Succumbing to the moment avoids conflict. Avoiding conflict side-steps rejection. Side-stepping rejection limits pain.
Eliminating pain imprisons the real you. The one God created you to be.
And God is slowly but surely healing me, helping me find my true and constant identity in Him, whether the world treats me like a rock star or a bumbling idiot. In Christ I am God’s son, in whom He is well pleased. You can be, too.
“The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.”
-Proverbs 29:25 MSG
Does your identity ever change as you encounter different people or circumstances? Do you subconsciously define yourself by the praise or criticism of others? I’d love to hear some of your stories. Your struggles and your victories.