“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.” – Luke 6:26 MSG
We kicked soccer balls around the yard Sunday afternoon. It was warm and the sun was shining, a taste of spring that felt a long time coming. There were no phones out to take photos, nothing extra needed to entertain us except one another. We played, and it filled my heart as much as it made our girl laugh.
The experience got the only 2 likes I needed – from my husband and daughter. They liked it because we were making memories together. The only hearts that were part of our time together were the happy ones the three of us had on a warm winter Sunday.
It’s easy to determine the worthiness of an experience by the response we receive online. Two likes and three hearts pale in comparison to the hundreds and thousands we see popping up on popular accounts. If it were a post on Instagram I’d be tempted to delete it, replace it with something else. I’d reconsider what time I posted it, maybe adjust when and what I shared to get the memory in front of the most people.
Being “bold” this year has looked so very different than what I anticipated. I thought I would be doing big, scary things. I thought maybe I would be invited to speak on stages, or have publishers knocking on my door. I thought I’d be making grand decisions and impressive announcements.
But God is inviting me to a year where “bold” looks like living true, not being popular. It’s quiet and incredibly unimpressive. Bold is choosing to value the small moments over the popular ones. Because I won’t be on any stages this year – not any that aren’t work related. My inbox has been filled with exactly zero publishers interested in me, personally. Every single “popular” thing I thought I wanted has been replaced with more humble, small versions.
This verse from Luke is what I’m holding on to in this season, as I ask God to remove the parts of my heart that feel cold and wintery with new life. Because my winter heart wants to stomp my foot and ask for more. It wants to strive and plan and try to figure out why things aren’t working the way I thought they would. But that part of my heart wants popularity more than truth. So, because God promises to come to us like the spring rain (Hosea 6:3), I’m trusting Him to breath new life into this weary heart.
I want to live a life that is true, even if it never looks popular.