Sunday, September 2, 2007

Everybody Wants to be Somebody

Alright, I’ll admit it…I like country music. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because my high school girlfriend liked it and I’ve enjoyed listening ever since. Or maybe it’s because my buddy Crispin is a huge country music fan and makes me listen to it every time we’re in his truck, or maybe it’s just because country music has such an encouraging, positive message. Whatever it is…I enjoy listening. In 2006 country music star Toby Keith released a song entitled “Get Drunk and Be Somebody”. For those of you who have not yet learned to appreciate the true joy and richness of country music, here is the chorus to Keith’s song:

All week long (we’re a) bunch of real nobodies,
But we just punched out and it’s paycheck Friday,
Weekends here, good God almighty,
People lets get drunk and be somebody

As I was listening to this song the other day, I got to thinking…you know, everybody wants to be somebody. Nobody wants to be a nobody.

I’m not going to disclose too much in this blog; I’m not sure I really want the whole world having access to my dirty laundry, but I will go so far as to say this – sometimes, I just want to be somebody. I’m not proud of it and I really don’t like it, but sometimes it’s just true. (For those of you who have never experienced this, congratulations – you are convincing when it comes to lying to yourself!)

I guess one thing that I take comfort in is that I’m in good company. In the gospel of Luke there’s this one verse that says, “And there arose also a dispute among them (the disciples) as to which one of them was regarded to be the greatest” (22:24). I get this picture in my head of these 12 guys hanging around in this room (with Jesus present) arguing back and forth…

James: “Well…he did wash my feet first, so obviously, I’m the greatest…”

Andrew: “No way! He might have washed your feet first, but when He was picking disciples…he picked me first. I’m definitely the greatest.”

Peter: “Actually Andrew, if you recall, he really picked me first. And quite honestly, I really thought that I might be the greatest, you know… his favorite, but then he went and healed my mother in the law the other day…so now I’m not so sure…”

So, here you have these 12 guys and they all want to be somebody. They want it badly enough that they are actually willing to argue about it in front of Jesus. Personally, I’m pretty embarrassed to admit that it’s even in me, but they didn’t seem to mind.

As I have been reflecting on this lately though, I have come to the realization that I really don’t want to be somebody. At the deepest part of my being, I ultimately desire to live a life that is lived out as though I have nothing to gain, nothing to lose and nothing to prove. I desire to have a heart and a life that finds its ultimate security and value in simply being a child of God’s. The truth is though, there is no way to live a life with nothing to gain, nothing to lose or nothing to prove until I become honest with myself and admit that at times I try to gain, try not to lose and try to prove that I am somebody!

The world sings their anthem loud and clear…Be Somebody!

But as I look into the scripture it really seems that Jesus’ plan for us as his followers is quite different…lose your life, don’t worry about gaining, losing or proving…just follow me.

Eventually 11 of those 12 got it. They realized that everything that they were was because of God. And they lived their lives accordingly.

So, today I move closer to singing my anthem, the same anthem that those disciples sang on their journey through life and eventually to their deaths:

I am loved by God. Everything that I have, everything that I am is because of him. I find my security and my value in Christ alone. There is now no need to be somebody. Therefore, I may now live today with nothing to gain, nothing to lose and nothing to prove.


Becki said...

Good post. It was definitely worth reading completely, not just skimming.
"nothing to gain, nothing to lose and nothing to prove" -- That's so uncommon that I have a hard time picturing what that even looks like.

Becky said...

What I find so amazing is that you thought of all this after listening to a COUNTRY SONG! God really can speak out of the darndest things. :) I love that! Next time I drive past Tootsie's in downtown Nashville, I just might open my window to catch the tunes.

I think it is pretty normal to want to be great. I guess the opposite extreme would be to not care at all and be in a rut of depression.

Something I find liberating, but hard to do at the same time, is to simply be comfortable with me-the way I am now-not comparing myself to those around me, but seeking true growth-both in character and in spirit. I guess I have a desire to reach my full potential as a human being, to be all that God created me to be, knowing that he is patient, and knowing that he enjoys the process. Just like you enjoy the process of watching your 3 boys grow. You arent' twiddling your thumbs thinking, "when are these kids going to be grown men!!" I think God loves being intimately involved in our journeys-the day to day growing, which includes both set-backs and advances. I think he loves to be with us right now, just as we are, even as he sees what we can and will become.

curia_regis said...

I remember when I was really young, probably in about 3rd grade this girl in my class called me a "nobody"...I was elated the rest of the day because I had always heard that "nobody's perfect."

When I got home later that day I flew off the bus, and ran in the front door and told my mom that the girl I liked at school said I was perfect...then my mom asked, "Really? She said it just like that?" Then I explained to her that nobody was perfect and that I was nobody...then *she* explained to me exactly what that girl was *trying* to tell me.