Look at me!
My longing to be noticed started off harmless enough. After all, I was the first girl born after a batch of boys. Look at my toes! Look at my dress! Look at how cute I am! John, on the left, was less than thrilled with me, but don’t you worry, I did what I could to win him over through my toddler years.
At 7 years old, I’d spin a hundred times. “Watch me, Mama, watch me!”
At 9, I’d climb a tree and cling to the branch. “Look at me, Dad! Look at how high I got!”
My parents were kind over the years. My brothers, not as much. “That’s nothing, you’re just a girl. I could climb higher than that.” (They couldn’t, by the way. I was a superb tree climber.) But never mind that. For the most part, my little girl need to be noticed was met.
So now I’m a little older, a growing and mature believer in our God. I’ve learned that it’s not very polite to stand in front of a group and say “Look at me!” And I get that it would be weird for me to spin a hundred times in my living room and then turn to my husband, “Wasn’t that good? Wasn’t it, love?”
Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, those little girl longings still surface.
Like when I recently filled out a marketing form for my publisher. They asked me how many friends I have on Facebook. I wrote, “1000-ish.”
Look at me!
Almost immediately it felt like the Holy Spirit cleared his throat over my shoulder.
Fine. (Erase, erase). “787 – but I’m working on it.”
I saw that little girl again when I was recently interviewed for a national radio broadcast. After the interview, someone took a picture of me with the big kahuna on one side and the lovely doctor co-host on the other. I received a letter (with the picture) a few days later.
Look at me!
I put the picture and letter up on the fridge.
I was tempted to invite over my neighbors, the newspaper boy and any random strangers meandering by our home. “Come on in, grab a bite to eat… no, really. Just open that refrigerator door and help yourself!” Maybe I’d even tape up the door so they couldn’t actually open it, then they would be forced to ogle the prominent picture on the fridge. “Oh my goodness, Elsa, is that you with….”
“Oh, that silly old picture? I forgot it was there.”
Oh friends, what is wrong with me? Does a picture make me matter? Do 1000 friends make me more special then 787 friends? If that’s the case, what happens when I bump over the 2000 mark? Does God invite me up to heaven for a VIP dinner? Hand me a certificate and call me out in front of the crowd? “Goodness, Elsa, I was waiting for the moment you would cross 2000 friends on Facebook. Now you have truly arrived and can officially be my number one girl.”
Blech. Ugh. Gross.
So I sat in that awhile. Gave myself a good tongue-lashing for my little girl self-obsession. And then God in his grace, reminded me that He has slowly been growing me up. He brought to mind the stories I talked about on that radio show… the tales of my most broken moments as a young single mom – how I made bad choices and hurt people I cared about. And then how I told the big kahuna and the kind doctor and that radio audience all about my God. I told them how He met me with his grace through loving older women. I talked about the sweet gifts He gave me in the midst of my poverty, pain and foolishness. I talked of how his love wooed me and drew me and set me free.
On that radio show, I got it: Look at HIM! Look at HIM!
And I imagine in that moment, God smiled. And nudged the nearest angel. “Ahhh, now see? Look at my girl..”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6).
P.S. I’d love to hear your comments… and just so you know, there’s a part two to this blog. Stay tuned. 🙂