In high school, I told my corporate lawyer mother that I wanted to be a secretary.
It seemed so perfect. I could spend all day organizing and making things run efficiently and assisting my boss with whatever he or she needed. I felt confident I would make an excellent assistant.
My mom’s response: “No, honey…”
No? I couldn’t be a secretary? Why not?
“You would be way smarter than your boss, and it would drive you crazy.”
Living Up to Your Potential
I thought about that for awhile. Would it be a “waste” of my intelligence to be a secretary, even if doing that made me happy? What if I found a really brilliant boss to work for?
I wouldn’t say that being a secretary is my dream job now. (How about getting paid to blog? Hm.) But I still understand my secretary-as-dream-job phase. That kind of supporting role is very appealing to me, because you don’t have to bear the weighty responsibility of being the leader. (And administrative work can be super fun sometimes…)
In college, I had a part time job as a stage manager, and I loved it. As a pianist myself, I could relate to all the concerns of the performers, so I was great at assuaging their fears, calming their nerves, and setting the right tone as they got ready to go on stage. I got to play a key role in the performance and enjoy the buzz and excitement of backstage without actually having to prepare anything or bare my soul to the audience.
But, sometimes it’s your turn to step into the spotlight.
Sometimes God calls you to be the boss, the performer, the one who has to put everything on the line.
Comfort or Courage?
Being behind the scenes requires so much less preparation and emotional investment. So much less courage and inner wrestling. It’s so much easier to believe in others than yourself. It’s easy to tell someone else they are going to be “great up there,” but when it’s you?
Sometimes I get lazy. I get too comfortable being backstage. Then God calls me out of that hidden place into the spotlight, and my heart is gripped with a mixture of terror and delight. He wants me to go? But everyone will be looking at me! What if I’m not ready? What if I make a mistake?
I think of Peter boldly asking Jesus to invite him out onto the water and then almost immediately beginning to sink. He took his eyes off Jesus. He looked at the waves. He over-thought it.
I can only step out if I let my knowledge of who God is overshadow my awareness of the obstacles, risks, and discomforts.
With my eyes fixed on the one for whom nothing is impossible, on the one who created me and therefore knows of what I am capable, on the one who is smiling widely at me, I rise and step out of the darkness. I walk through the stage door and into the spotlight. And I find that I’m right where I’m meant to be.