Instafamous…and why we live small lives

Instafamous…and why we live small lives

1920 1044 Michael Thompson

Instafamous…that status you get when you blow up on Instagram. Lots of followers on your feed equals lots of fame in your following.

It’s all relative, isn’t it? Lots of fish seem big in a small pond.

But you can can become a moderate phenom if you learn to use the site well.

My son-in-law, Chase, introduced this old man to the new term. I think some people, like him, have earned the moniker.

As @thevuvobandit, Chase has rightly garnered quite a following through his sharp eye, unique style and keen skill with a camera.  And there’s a growing number of talented folk getting merited attention for real skills showcased by these snippets on social media.

#givethemahand

But others become Instafamous simply by doing things so stupid or inane that they are impossible to ignore. These folks milk their 15-minutes of fame but leave little of value for later.

#givemeabreak

The biggest problem with this kind of fame is the “Insta” part. It is very often too much, too soon about nothing.

I don’t think God has ever made anyone Instafamous. It seems God has never made anyone Insta-anything!

Almost without exception those whom God raises up go through a process of waiting that seems interminable. These long periods of delay test the metal and stretch the fortitude of those doing the waiting.

For Noah, it was 40 days of unrelenting rain in an ark. For Moses, it was 40 years of unremitting heat in a desert. The duration doesn’t seem to matter as much as the process.

In God’s economy, the fire of delay authenticates the fervency of desire.

The waiting rooms in life are characterized by the strain they evoke. Words like intense, deep, passionate are coupled with longing, desire, yearning to describe the inevitable tension between the “now” and the “not yet”.

It is far easier to live without desire than to live with desire unfulfilled.

The ancient sage knew it: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Proverbs 13:12a)

  • Hope is about expectation. It is the anticipatory waiting that occurs when something good is on its way.
  • Deferred is about delay. It is the drawn out waiting that occurs when something good is on its way–but its late!
  • Sick is about weariness. It is the routine of waiting that wears on your soul and feeds your doubts.

Living between the dreaming and the coming true rubs the heart raw.

One translation seems to grasp the angst involved in these moments of longing where time seems to stand still: “When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed…” (GNT)

Why does it seem that so often God takes so long? I don’t pretend to know the full answer, but I am pretty sure that it involves our need to decide three things:

  • Am I ready to let go of my dreams and hear a whole new plan from Him?
  • Am I willing to pay the price for the change I want to see?
  • Am I able to resist the temptation to seize His plan and do it my way?

When I have wrestled through to a “yes” (or at least an “I am willing”) the flip side of Solomon’s rhetorical coin becomes real: “…a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”(Proverbs 13:12b)

The longing for something more that strained your soul and stretched your heart becomes a tree of life that nourishes the soul and delights the heart. And it makes all the waiting worth it.

A few year’s ago a song welled up in me that expresses this Longing:

The longing in my soul is growing stronger everyday,
The ache within my spirit just will not go away
It seems I’m losing my grip on the cord of faith
Your fire’s heat makes me want to run away.

But I’ve determined to stand and face the burning
To see Your face for which my heart is yearning.

So I won’t run from the fire
And I won’t turn from the pain
I’m too desperate for your mercy
I’m just too thirsty for your rain.

The Apostle, after years of enduring the hurry up and wait of missional living, left his friends this wisdom: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.(Galatians 6:9)

Paul does not say we have to come through without a scratch. Remember, it is called “longing” because it is long! He simply says we will find a harvest if we don’t give up! 

Weariness is the result of waning expectation in the long seasons of preparation. It is waiting robbed of vision.

Only when we stand in the fire, face the pain and refuse to sit down and give up are we able to get to the tree of life called fullness. God desires to create focus, build faith and increase fortitude in the down times.

Maybe that’s why he never invented Instagrace.


 

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Michael Thompson

Michael writes because he can’t help it. It is an obsession toward sanity; a way of making sense of his world. Framing ideas, forging thoughts and then forming them into words is both craft and compulsion for him. Growing up in a tight-knit pastor’s home and then spending 20 years of his professional life in teaching ministries, words have been his cocoon since he was a child. Over the past 14 years he has made his living in the marketplace—the wild world of Wall Street. Converging the contrasting realms of church and commerce has given him a unique perspective. It has also birthed an unquenchable passion: to see life as it is transformed into life as it should be.

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