Step Right Up, Sparkly Influencers
My dry shampoo is packaged in a black bottle and my hairspray is packaged in a white bottle and this has brought me no small amount of heartache.
You see, the dry shampoo departs the bottle as a fine white mist due to it being a solution of dehydrated unicorn tears and fairy spittle . The hairspray departs the bottle in visible jet stream most resembling a liquid schellac suitable for food glaze or wood finish—of course doubling for bothersome strays or Joan Jett theme-dress days.
On two occasions I will claim and possibly a third, I have mixed up the bottles. To further your mental picture, I’ll supply that when I’m using dry shampoo I’m really committed to it being a dry shampoo day.
It is not cool to conclude that one is the other.
My predicament is not entirely dissimilar to this writing gig. Being a writer means I can find myself in circles of people I’ve read or heard teach or listened to their podcast—people I’ve geeked out over by deep diving their Instagram or pumping a fist in the air in my car when I hear them ask a particularly great question of their guest. For the sake of a definition, let’s call these folks “influencers,” and for the sake of my purposes, let’s define them as “people doing things I consider cool, noteworthy, or especially impactful to the spread of the gospel.”
And sometimes…not always, but sometimes…these people become my friends.
Whenever this happens, there is the instantaneous delighted feeling most closely akin to being invited to sit at the especially happening lunch table, stay for the secret “after-hours” party, or have the clerk in Sephora walk you straight to the eyeshadow you’re looking for before you break out in hives. (Sephora and Charming Charlie: I CANNOT HANDLE YOUR OPTIONS.)
It’s the mom-ern day equivalent of being 5 and alone in the sandbox and the smiling little girl in pigtails walking up to you and saying, “Can I play?”
And it feels awesome.
But then, here’s what happens: we actually become friends. Trust is built, stories are told, experiences are shared, and the well of friendship is dug around the pedestals I myself have carefully constructed for these influencers. As the well fills with the life-giving waters of authentic friendship and care for one another, the waters reflect Christ himself—the one who poured out all, and all for us. The pedestal erodes under the force of these waters, and as it lowers I realize we’re a lot more alike than I’d once imagined, serving a God who is so much greater than His creation I had once elevated. A God who wants me to elevate Him over His creation, and not the other way around (as my idol-factory heart can tend to do when left to its own devices).
As it turns out—just like me—influencers struggle with decisions or say the wrong thing or get a stomach bug. They yell at their kids, are mean to their husbands, and forget about Teacher Appreciation week until the day-of. And we’re sharing this messy stuff alongside the good stuff in friendship, all the while urging one another on toward repentance and love and good deeds.
Erosion of these pedestals can cause me to move one of two places in my head-space. The healthy place is thankfulness for friendship and authenticity, and someone I can call in case any of the three girls in this house turn up with head lice. The unhealthy place is not so cute. A story, if you will:
Recently someone I’d pedestaled let me down. For a solid two days after I spun and spun in my hurt and disappointment, almost mesmerized by what had happened. They’re so mature—this is completely out of character—how could they have done this?
Forty-eight hours later, by grace I snapped out of it. I realized what I was doing (again): expecting a human person to be above letting me down. By grace I repented, instead of demanding their repentance. My heart was turned to repent of elevating anyone to a place that belongs solely to the Lordship of Christ, and for demanding perfection of an earthly spiritual-sibling that only my Savior-sibling is capable of. And it was a tangible kindness of God to be able to let go of the disappointment and experience His rest.
Once in college, my bff and I were talking politics (we were SO MATURE and FULL OF INSIGHT!) and my genius friend raised her fist and scrunched her face and shouted, as Israel once actually did, “GIVE US A KING!” (1 Sam. 8:5) And I said, “Yes! Exactly!” marveling at her brilliance and super cute shoes.
Still, to this day, it’s the cry of my heart. Give me someone to worship. Someone tangible and present and not you, God. Give me a savior out of this hurt and yuck and sadness and I don’t particularly like the way you’ve chosen so just let me pick for myself from Instagram or Facebook or from among my favorite Bible teachers, capeesh?
And guess what: the God of the universe is not too keen on that. For He’s a jealous God. (Ex. 20:5) And he promises to undo any pedestal I try to build, and what a mercy, for He alone is the only one worthy of my--or anyone else’s--worship.
All praise and honor and glory to the One True King, the One who sits in the heavenly realms working all things together for His glory and my good (Rom. 8:28), and who will not stand the trifles of heart (Prov. 19:21). For He will send rushing waters to sweep away any pedestals that don’t have Himself at the top.
It is not cool to conclude that one is the other.
May we all be underwhelming for the sake of the glorification of Christ.
Holly Mackle from @sameheresisterfriend
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