"I'm simply the stage," I repeated out loud as I drove to Dock Mennonite Academy yesterday morning where I had been invited to share my story in chapel. Filled with excitement and eager anticipation for how God was going to touch the hearts of the 350-400 high school students, I reminded myself of the valuable lesson that would make all the difference.
This particular lesson came to me in the form of a picture about 3 years ago, shortly after moving to West Chester. Little did I know that it would forever change my approach to ministry.
At first, I pictured myself on a large stage, microphone in hand, presenting to an expansive audience (something I was quite comfortable doing). However, seemingly unexpectedly, I disappeared and simply the stage remained. Only, in the picture, I knew that I had become the stage.
Then the most beautiful thing happened. Jesus came out from behind the curtain and began to dance. As He moved across the stage, He captivated the attention of the audience and all eyes were locked on Him in wonder and amazement. No one even considered the flat wooden beams underneath because His movements were breathtaking.
In that moment, 3 years ago, I decided that I wanted to be wholly surrendered, laid down low, so that Jesus could be magnified in my life and ministry. I desired to simply be the stage that gave Jesus an open platform to reveal Himself in creative and unexpected ways to those around me.
After praying that, I entered a season in which I felt quite hidden. Invitations to speak up front were not offered to me in the new town and my "mission" went from being a representative speaker and well-known leader to spending Friday evenings on my apartment floor alone in prayer or reaching out in love to those were deeply broken, struggling or ignored by society. It was far from glamorous and certainly not recognized by anyone around me. But it didn't have to be because, through me, Jesus moved in beautiful and miraculous ways to reveal Himself to those many others would quickly overlook. I am so thankful for that season because it was the most precious time of preparation and a season in which I discovered God's character first-hand.
Fast-forward to Summer 2016 and being invited to speak in public again (various churches, schools and numerous support appointments!)... It's likely that over 1,000 individuals from my community have heard my story this summer and I'm realizing that I'm no longer in that hidden place. While it's true that I may be "on the stage" again, Jesus is still the main actor.
As for me, I'm simply the stage.