I never had an imaginary friend as a kid. Well, I guess it could be that I did have one but my imagination was so strong I assumed him (or her) to be real. Come to think of it, there was that one kid. He would never let us take pictures of him. I always assumed he was in the witness protection program or even better, a vampire, a nice vampire obviously because he never killed me but a vampire nonetheless…of course he did survive the daylight so…???
Anyway, I’ve never been one to have a lot a friends and I guess I was okay that and didn’t need to make up an imaginary friend. I am perfectly cool with being alone. It suits me well. Throughout my life I would generally only have two or three people I would hang out with. I would have other acquaintances, don’t get me wrong, but my friends were few and I was content with that. I am a very shy person by nature. I do not like to go to parties, even if the person being celebrated is my friend because there will most certainly be new, unknown people there and that means I may have to interact with them. I’m not a recluse, and I certainly don’t have some disorder that overcomes me with a paralyzing fear when I meet new people but I have just always preferred keeping to myself.
On a side note, who wouldn’t like hanging out in my head every day? I mean come on, you’ve read my posts, it’s like an eclectic mix of deep thinking and random ADD moments running a never ending relay race. Deep – random – deep – random…and let’s not forget the occasional dive off the deep end into the abyss of clueless banter. It’s entertaining as heck if I do say so myself! But I digress…
I guess that’s why I am always amazed when I see God use me in the way He does. What you may not know about me is I have been in public ministry since I was seventeen years old. There have been very few weeks since then that I did not stand on a stage and either speak or perform in front of people. I have toured the United States playing and singing in a professional status, I have been a worship pastor, a preacher, a teacher, and I’ve even done some emcee work. So to think of how content I am being a loner amazes me when I think of all that.
I remember in tenth grade (?) when we had to do a speech before our class. I was scared to death! Sweat was pouring down my face, the heavy wool suit my parents bought me from the local Salvation Army Thrift Store felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. I might have been more comfortable if I had given the speech while naked in a sauna with only a towel on me, at least then I would have been cooler. My hands were shaking so furiously that I could barely read my index cards. The good thing is the violent shaking of the cards, when held close to my face, gave me a little relief from the heat.
I don’t even remember what I spoke about hat morning but I do remember feeling like I was going to fail that assignment. I felt like I did a horrible job and dreaded the moment I had to go in early to sit down and go over my grade with my teacher, Mrs. Rowland. I was almost as nervous as I was standing before the class. I had rehearsed how I thought it would go, “Lee, you are a bright kid but your speech sucked! You did everything wrong. I mean I would have rather you stood at the chalkboard and scraped your nails down it for ten minutes than to hear you speak.” Thankfully, she didn’t read the response I scripted in my head, instead she absolutely floored me with, “Have you ever considered going into public speaking?”
I have thought about that day many times since then. To be honest, I thought she was crazy. I mean, had she not paid attention to how shy and introverted I had been in her class. Come on lady, my voice quivers if I am called on to answer a simple question and you are saying I should go into public speaking?
However, those simple words, spoken to a shy, hide in the corner, young man who didn’t believe he had much to offer the world, were a shot in the arm to my life’s purpose. They gave me just the right amount of courage to believe in myself and now, at forty-three years old, I look back over my life and see that she was a very discerning soul. She saw greatness in me and that propelled me forward at a time when I probably would have sat back and coasted through life making very few ripples.
As I tell this story, I cannot help but think of the story of Moses. Moses was tending the flock when he saw a bush on fire, curiosity got to him so he went closer to find out that was no ordinary bush. That bush was God and He was speaking to him. God gave him his task and Moses immediately began informing God of his inabilities, “I can’t speak”, “I won’t know what to say.”, “Pharaoh won’t listen to me’, “I am a simple man”. Yet, with all those excuses God said “Go”…and let’s not forget, as scared as he was, Moses went!
Sometimes God has interrupt our lives with a burning bush, or a Mrs. Rowland, in order to let us know that today’s reality is not all there is. We are chosen for a purpose, not to simply walk through life awaiting a better day, but to plow through life, turning up the hardened soil of today’s harsh humanity in order to plant the better seeds of tomorrow’s God breathed reality. We tend to look at our present inabilities but God chose us to give us HIS abilities, and with those a shy boy can spend his life speaking publicly, a sheep herder can stand before pharaoh and deliver a nation, and you can do amazing things!
If you are submitted to God’s leading in your life, then there is a hero inside of you, just waiting for the moment you decide to quit looking at your inabilities and simply “Go”! If you do go, I can assure you, the view from the future looks great, just you wait!
Peace, Love, and Awakening!
p.s. Mrs. Rowland, if by some providential means you are reading this, Thank you for being my teacher and giving me those words. Eternity will prove the effect you had on the world!
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