by Barbara Giordan (Barb and her husband and son attend Grace Covenant Church in Elgin, Illinois)
I am reading a book called “Licensed to Kill”, by Brian Hedges. It talks about Mortifying Sin: putting to death our sinful nature and replacing it with holiness through submission to God. After I was saved, one of the first sins the Holy Spirit convicted me of was my strong desire to be the center of attention. I felt compelled to give up any behavior that even hinted at self-glorification. For example, when I turned forty, I decided that I would like to celebrate this event by renewing my wedding vows in the church with my husband, Dan. He agreed but it created something of a dilemma since I was trying to relinquish my need to be the center of attention. Instead of reading a poem aloud, as part of the ceremony, I convinced a friend to read the poem in my place.
I first encountered my need to be the center of attention shortly after I met my husband. He was a young artist at the time desperately trying to penetrate a difficult market. One day, we were trying to visit a prestigious gallery in Boston, and the gallery owner asked if I was an artist as well. I knew from experience that if I answered no, his eyes would glaze over and he would slowly drift away. Instead, I said,” Yes”, “I color”. “Oh” he replied, “You are a colorist?” I had no idea what he was talking about but I assumed that he was referring to an artistic concept or technique. “No, I color with crayolas and coloring books.” He looked at me as if I inhabited an alien planet and quickly walked away. My husband’s prospects for obtaining a show in this gallery were pretty much dashed.
Several years later, my attention seeking side reared its ugly head at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. The museum staff had set up an easel and some pencils next to a statue and Dan began to copy the statue onto the paper with confident marks. The drawing was so life-like and depicted so masterfully, that he quickly drew a crowd. The pushing and shoving by the crowd to get a glimpse of his masterpiece proved to great a temptation for me and I felt compelled to start my own drawing. I covered my drawing with my hand because I knew my audience would be instantly repelled by my total lack of talent. I proceeded to draw a stick figure of an elephant. Sure enough, I drew a large crowd and I was really enjoying the attention. The crowd groaned in dismay collectively when I uncovered my picture for the grand reveal.
This brings me to the final point of the story. Perhaps the most moving eulogy that I ever heard was dedicated to a missionary’s mother. It was based on 1 Thessalonians 4:10-11: “But we urge you brethren that you… aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your own hands as we commanded you.” The most complimentary thing that this son could say about his mother was that she lived a quiet life. It was a revolutionary concept to me that there was something heroic about being quiet and unnoticed. I realized that day that when you put god in front and center, all the applause in the world is reduced to a meaningless clatter. I must confess that I still have an occasional urge to sing: “All of me, Why don’t you take all of me?” when I get in front of a crowd, but that urge is growing weaker. I can only pray that what I do, I do for God’s glory.