By Caitlin Smithen –
One of my best things to do is to watch a live show! A while ago I had the joy of joining a friend to see Cirque Eloize ID. What a treat! The urban-themed production masterfully combined street dance and the circus arts to keep you riveted for close on two hours. We watched in awe as the performers strategically launched themselves across the stage and moved their bodies in ways unfathomable and found ourselves wondering about their stories. I mean how does one get to a place where your profession could be described as ‘body contortionist’, ‘life-risking-pole-climber’ or ‘expert hoop-manipulator’?! Each performer seemed to have perfected multiple talents that made them seem super-human. They were exceptional.
It was amidst these musings that I started to wonder, ‘Is there anything that I am exceptional at?… How I would love to have perfected something that would award me a loud applause or a standing ovation’. Next to these extra-ordinary people I began to feel dismally ordinary – ordinary, unseen and not worthy of applause.
Fortunately, before my thoughts pulled me too deep into a space of feeling despondent, God steadily shifted my gaze from myself to Himself. My mind was moved from focusing on my ordinariness to His extra-ordinariness.
O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendour and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent – Psalm 104:1-2
It’s so easy to become despondent when our gaze is directed inwards. We can feel so ordinary and plain when we give way to comparison. We may start to feel that we don’t have anything to give, or that we don’t have a voice. This in turn can lead us to believe that we are not exceptional and that we are not worthy of applause.
When our gaze is turned outward, however, to the One who created us and is clothed in splendour and majesty – then two glorious things happen:
It is important to remember that part of being wrapped securely in the wonder of who God is involves recognising that it is here where we find our value and worth. An exceptional God created us; why would He create something mediocre? Our security in who we are is not derived from what we can do or how we perform, but purely from Who God is.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well – Psalm 139: 13-14
My moment of feeling dismally ordinary wasn’t fuelled by my inability to do what those phenomenal performers were doing. It was fuelled by the fact that I was looking to myself for a sense of worth and my brokenness got the better of me. This hit home as I read this quote by John Piper, ‘There is world, seen and unseen, out there to be amazed at – why would I ruin my life by thinking about myself so much?’
What an awesome reminder that in addition to the beauty of being overcome with joy and wonder as we fix our gaze upon Jesus, not only are we moved to celebrate all that He is, but it is also from this place that we begin to learn what it means to celebrate ourselves and others.
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean revel in Him! Phil 4:4 – The Msg
Feature picture by Paballo Thekiso
Cirque Eloize ID picture provided