I wish I would have learned this 15 years ago. Instead I learned it about 15 minutes before sitting down to write this.
Understanding it earlier would have saved me from many obnoxious displays of high volume living.
I was under the notion that the louder your life is - the more successful you'll be - the more likely you'll be to stand out....get chosen....be heard.
And that's mostly true.
So I lived loud when it came to just about everything. (Except giving answers in class. Being loud with the wrong answer would only make me a loud loser.)
I had loud hair. Sometimes it was maroon. Sometimes it was super blond. Sometimes it was striped maroon and super blond.
I had a loud mouth when it came to beliefs and opinions. And I would debate with no signs of mercy or grace over religion and politics.
I had loud clothes. I wore Christian t-shirts some days...only to turn around and wear too tight, too low, bust hugging v-necks other days. Anything different...anything attention-grabbing. Snake skin. Leopard velvet. Sequined shiny.
And as I look back on that teenager....I want so badly for her to know that all that loudness - it only leaves you lost.
Being loud - it's not always what He's wanting from us.
Because just today....I ran across some scriptures that spoke loud about being quiet.
The NLT puts 1 Peter 3:4 like this....
Don't be concerned by the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
I could just almost cry. I've read this before - but it hits me hard today.
As does 1 Timothy 2:2 - where Paul mentions 'living peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.'
And 1 Thessalonians 4:11 - Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands.....
Do you have any idea how this speaks to a woman who has always believed that the front-and-center, lights-camera-action, chosen-one mentality was what wins - even in Christ's arena?
As an adult I have practiced loud living for self-gain. It wasn't just a teen thing. I have even practiced loud living for Kingdom-gain.
And that last one - this is where it gets tricky. But it's also where it gets important.
How should we shout Him from the rooftops?
How should we display what Christ has done for us?
How do we stand up for what's right and just?
......without being so annoyingly loud that the world's ears close?
Maybe it includes these two things:
1) Letting our worship, actions, works, and love be louder than our mouths, hair, signs, and outfits. Perhaps we should let our walk be louder than our talk....our bell-ringing more pronounced than our mouth-squawking.
2) Being okay with finding ourselves nameless and faceless to the world - as long Jesus' name and face are out front and exalted.
But really - I'm still wading through it all. This is something I'm gonna have to keep in the fore-front for a while....
How to live a loud life for Him....quietly.
He's after me on this right now. God might be speaking to you about the opposite - about raising the volume a tad in certain areas. But for me - He's wanting some quietness and reservation.
And He's probably wanted it for almost two decades now. And here I am - just now getting it :)
His patience abounds.
Now before I sign off - if you're sitting there with striped hair and snake skin pants...don't think for a second that I'm totally against those things. I'm not. I just carried it out all wrong - for all the wrong reasons - in all the wrong ways. It's me that couldn't handle it well. You might do it beautifully. Love to you all :)