The year is 2020.
I'm working two jobs—one as a waitress, the other as a shift supervisor at a clothing store—and I'm careful to make sure that one job doesn't know about the other. Both schedule me to work New Year's Day, and I get someone to cover one of my shifts just in enough time to save my tail and maintain the secrecy of my double life. I spend New Year's Eve of 2019 working as a runner for the kitchen, nearly breaking my back as I spent the whole night balancing heavy trays of food on my shoulder, tucked underneath my chin for good measure, meanwhile getting cussed out by my fellow waiters because I keep forgetting the table numbers and serving the wrong family the wrong dinner. I get home right around the time the ball is about to drop, and I wake up sore the next morning, hurrying to tighten my apron around my waist and rushing out the door to work the first day of the year waiting tables.
And, so on and so forth for January 2020. Working two jobs. Putting every penny I find in a jar. Getting home late from closing at one job. Waking up early the next morning to open at the other. Meanwhile, hosting an entire series on To Be Heard Podcast called, "2020 Vision," where I encourage every listener to chase after their dreams in the new year, along with planning to host a seminar that upcoming February to teach others on how to build their vision.
C'mon, reader. You've got to laugh.
That's a pretty funny picture. Wouldn't you agree?
I'm chuckling as I type it all out myself, remembering what life was like around this time last year. And, not just January, but every month of 2020. Oh, you thought my little circus of balancing two secret jobs all the while encouraging others to chase after their dreams is funny? Wait until you hear what the whole year was like!
You might get a kick out of me declaring victory over the spirit of lust right here on the blog in February 2020 while being tempted the most in that area in the meantime.
Or, maybe you'd like to hear about me speaking boldly against the fear of COVID-19 on To Be Heard Podcast in March of last year before finding out the very next day that I would lose both streams of income during the lockdown.
Perhaps you'd love to see me sending out encouraging texts for a campaign I ran through April and May, all the while coming against insecurities I thought I had already overcome.
Not to mention, me launching the new season of the summer vlogs, convincing myself that no one would want to hear what I have to say in the tension of social injustice.
Maybe you'd be interested in hearing about me entering the month of July with the worst, unexpected news, experiencing heartbreak from someone who I thought was incapable of doing wrong, all the while running a business, selling new merchandise in the meantime.
Or, celebrating my 20th birthday in August online while undergoing another bout of ugly news, having to heal from a broken, familial relationship.
Little did I know what was waiting for me in September: the awful experience of my thoughts and emotions exploding with anxiety, churning up questions I thought I already had the answers to as I prepare for a brand new season of the podcast.
Or, proclaiming hope on the first episode of Season Two of To Be Heard Podcast when I was starting to feel the most hopeless.
Feeling like my fear was greater than my faith in November, as I began to sell merchandise with the slogan: "Loved by Jesus."
And, lastly, maybe you'd like to know what it was like hosting a series called, "Standing Firm," in December, while my knees were shaky, my heart was discouraged, and the spirit of depression was threatening to overtake me—only to later condemn myself for figuring that it's best if I take a break.
Maybe it's still a little too soon to laugh.
But, for the first blog post of the year, I want us to be okay to go beyond the nervous laughter.
I want us to get real.
In other words, I want to give you the chance to take a look behind the red curtain.
For today's post, you can think of it as me taking you backstage before the show begins, letting you meet the performer in their dressing room. We're going to the place where they practice their lines one last time, recite their affirmations in the mirror, and nervous-puke in the bathroom after the stage manager announces it's showtime. I want to give you a raw, exclusive, behind-the-scenes look of the performer before they break their leg and take their bow, before the audience cheers and the flowers are thrown.
Or, better yet, I want you to meet the fraud behind the impressive smoke machine and fire.
Because, after walking through a year like 2020—posting victories while feeling like a failure—I've got to be honest with you, readers:
I was starting to feel like the Wizard of Oz!
Oh, come on. You know the story! The big, all-powerful man, who everyone thought had all the answers, turning out to need just as many answers as everyone else.
When that curtain was pulled back and the truth was revealed, the Wizard of Oz said it himself:
"I'm a very good man.
Just a very bad wizard."
And, you know what?
So am I.
So are we.
It's time we stop trying to fool people into thinking we are anything other than human beings—humans with weaknesses, struggles, issues, feelings, imperfections, short-comings, and mistakes. Because, guess what? We are! No matter how "good" or "intelligent" or "sharp" we outwardly commit ourselves to being, every single one of us—every hero, every legend, every celebrity—is just like the man behind the curtain.
All, except, for one.
He's not the man behind the curtain.
He is, however, the God on the throne.
And, unlike the Wizard of Oz, He is not some scared, intimidated man, afraid of the day you find out who He really is. No way! Because who He really is is exactly what you'd want Him to be. He is all-powerful with all authority with every answer you've been looking for. He is the Great I AM—the only one worthy of all glory, all honor, all riches, and all blessing. He knows all things and created all things and everyone who trusts in Him is never disappointed.
He is GOD. And, He's good at it.
But, He was also a good man too.
While He could've stayed on His throne, comfortable and secure in the presence of nonstop worship, He instead humbled Himself and became like you and me. That's right. God came down in the form of a man named Jesus, in a body no different than the ones you and I live in every day. And, He allowed Himself to be tempted in every way we're tempted, allowed Himself to hurt the way we hurt and broken the way we are too. He was willing to become just like you and me because He knew we could never become as perfect as Him. Even when we try to press all the right buttons, cuing the smoke and flames, working up a sweat behind that curtain, we are still just...human.
And, you know what?
We were never supposed to be God.
I'll say it again—
JESUS is GOD. WE are NOT.
We have to stop pretending like the order is anything different. Because, NEWS FLASH:
We are very bad at being God.
And, while we're horrible at being God, God was very good at being like us. In other words, not only is He a good God, but He was a good man! Without sin, never fell into temptation, loved His enemies, prayed for His oppressors. Meanwhile, we can barely forgive the people who hurt us YEARS ago! He's a far better human than we could ever be and a far greater God who we will never be.
And, I've grown to be content with being the weak one in the story. I like being the human—the one who cries, doubts, struggles, the one who needs the Savior. Because, the moment I remember I am human is when I am the most humble. And, I've found that being humble is my best attempt at being God.
You know why?
Because if God—perfect, sinless, all-powerful, almighty, all-deserving of worship, creative, ingenious God—can humble Himself by coming to earth in the form of a human...I'm kind of thinking I can too. We all can. And, we become our best selves when we lead a life of humility.
And, if I could leave you with some encouragement, I want to remind you of this:
God is not a yellow brick road away.
Wherever you are, He is there too. And, that silly little curtain you're hiding behind? You should know that His love for you has already torn the veil.