Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Problem With Accolades

I can't be too specific about the reasons for writing this post, but they have been on my heart lately for several reasons and I just thought it time to share this story with you all.

When I was 12, I was given the award of Ms.Congeniality at the Nebraska Future Miss Pageant. 1,500 applicants applied, 100 were accepted to compete, and I won.
I received letters from family, friends and there were actually several newspapers running an article just about me.
I even received a letter from our Senator, or Governor, or something like that...It was big time people. :)
I literally felt so loved, so accepted and felt like "life just couldn't get much better!"

But, then...

we moved.

We moved from my safe haven of Lincoln,from my precious school with amazing friends to a small town where no one knew me.

In less than 24 months I went from a feeling of pure bliss to absolute hopelessness.

No one in my class talked to me in my new school, no one was proud of me, and some of my own family even decided I probably wasn't worth much anymore if an entire class decided not to be my friend. I even had a teacher who specifically bullied wasn't student to student was teacher to student (all of my friends from high school will know exactly what I'm talking about...Mrs.Brown anyone?)

The problem was that I was the same girl. The same girl who captured the hearts of judges, competed her heart out and won the vote for most personable, loving, or whatever congeniality even means P.S. (I know now they saw Jesus in me because I know what I'm like when I try to live without Him and it looks like a big ole' trainwreck people lol)..the same girl who'd played all the sports in Lincoln growing up, volleyball in fall, basketball during winter, track in the spring and softball in the summer. I also played the piano in all our school concerts and sang the lead when it required a girl's voice. I was as well rounded as they come.They should have loved me right?!?! What more could I have done before moving that could have helped me "improve" the current situation I was facing???

The answer I realize now was nothing.

The thing was that I was exactly the same girl but just in a different situation.

I'd completely based all my self worth on what others thought of me and what I'd accomplished, so when suddenly all of that was taken away I didn't know who I was? It was SUCH a confusing feeling. The confident, self-assured girl was suddenly completely broken, alone and defeated...with complete honesty I was definitely suicidal those first few months after the move. It was just so so awful.

But now, with the past behind me, I can see much more clearly. I've maybe gotten a glimpse of why he asked me to walk that journey with Him... God was working to show me that no amount of accolades or friendships or any of that holds value to Him. All He really wants each of us to understand is the depth of his love. To understand that there is nothing good we can do that will make Him love us more and nothing bad we can do to make Him love us less.

It is completely unconditional.
Dave ironically commented a few weeks ago..."Amber, of everything that shaped the woman you are, it was the first year after you moved to that small town that impacted you the most."
And, I'd have to agree.

This lesson however I can apply to almost every situation I'm in's given me the freedom to know I don't have to impress anyone but Him. The freedom to understand I can completely be myself and love others how He loves me. The freedom to truly try and walk with Him without worrying about judgement or condemnation or any of that...just complete, blissful, unabandoned FREEDOM. Okay, so can you tell I love it!!! 

I'm telling you guys, it takes ALOT of the pressure off!! :) 

It doesn't matter what a person accomplishes, who they are friends with, what they should love them simply because God made them.

The world will let you down {alot} but I have come to understand God never will.
When something happens that crumbles my pride or hurts my ego, I'm now thankful. I simply want to rest in the fact that I am loved based not on one single accomplishment but because of who God made me to be...because I've failed...lots...but He just picks me up, helps me brush the dust off and gently says, "now let's get back to walking."
He gives all of us special gifts, and talents and I believe we should always strive to use these gifts to the best of our ability but that is all. Nothing more. Nothing less.

We are ALL his masterpieces and he loved us the same the moment we were born as he will the moment we leave this earth.

Ephesians 2:10 ~ "For we are God's masterpiece..."
Have you ever felt like you were a masterpiece? Beautifully and wonderfully made? Or, do you feel your worth is based on your accomplishments...the accolades?

I can genuinely say now with everything I walked through as a child I am no more impressed by Beth Moore, then the girls that were in her study with me. I am trying to treasure the person who sacks my groceries as much as I treasure my Clara Grace. It feels awkward sometimes and a little incorrect by worldly standards but that truly is what God calls us to do. That is the only way we will ever understand how He loves each of us favoritism. Just pure, genuine, unconditional love.
So today..

I challenge you today to rest.
I challenge you to remember.
I challenge you to remind yourself that you absolutely cannot be more loved than you are by the God who made you.
People will let you down.
Situations will discourage you.
Life will be difficult.
But you are loved. Unconditionally. Forever.

And, I love each and every one of you who read this long, long, super long post. Maybe God was trying to remind you of His love for you through this today. :)


mama brehm said...

Miss Amber...every time I read about how alone, isolated and sad you were when you moved, it makes my heart hurt ... for you and selfishly, for me because you were always so cheerful and talented in my eyes. I'm glad that you feel now that the simple things are what's important because that will be such a gift to Clara. Thanks for sharing your struggles and for getting rid of them so you can be more at peace with it all. Smiles- Ashli

Allison said...

Oh I love this! Thank you for sharing your story and your heart. hugs to you friend!!

Amy said...

Amber you are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story about how our Great God has worked in you and through you. YOU are such a blessing to so many. xoxo

Katie and Mike said...

Every time I catch up reading your blog you bring a smile to my face and a better perspective to my attitude. And today is no different. Your words (your heart for the Lord) has brought a smile to a previously gloomy and defeated morning. THANK YOU AMBER!

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