-Rev Melissa Fain-
Clap your hands, all you people!
Shout joyfully to God with a joyous shout!
Psalm 47:1 CEB
Surprise! For the past nine years I've been pretending to be a minister, Everything I've done has been a farce. April Fools!
No. That's not true, but I feel it's true sometimes. While I haven't directly called God a joke, I have called the call a joke. My prayers have sometimes sounded like this, "Really God? You're calling me to this? This is a joke!" I pray this feeling like if the call is a joke, I'm the punchline. The prayer often continues, "You know they're laughing and mocking me behind my back."
I'd like to say I'm the only one who has felt this way, but I also know differently. "Why am I doing this?" is a question many of us ask. There are many who feel like they are the negative focus of someone else's private discussion.
When you hear someone say, "I am a joke," that's an opportunity to give purpose and hope. Not to me. This isn't about my insecurities. I have enough self-esteem already. You don't become a female minister in the deep south without ovaries of steel, or hardening your determination in some way. This is for everyone else. We all have moments of failure, and in those moments others have the opportunity to step in and help.
In some cases, that's stopping those triangle conversations. Talking about people never helps the situation. Either talk to the person about what's wrong, or realize it's not worth talking about at all.
In other cases, it's raising up those who are disheartened by life. That could be as easy as pointing out where someone is succeeding instead of focusing on their failures. In other cases, it's about letting go and moving on. It could be about turning the failure into a funny moment with the person. "Wow, that was a mess! We'll be laughing about this for years!" In that way we've turned it positive, and are able to joyfully say, "God is a joke."
Pray with me:
Dear God, help me, help others see their worth. Amen.