(I've been mulling over this idea that we're all nobodies - we are all people who don't really mean anything to anyone - until we realize we are made a "somebody" when we acknowledge that Someone put us on this earth to do much more than we could ever imagine...)
It all started when I read this book in one afternoon at the beach. There's something about the stories my friend Bob writes about in his book (I can call him friend - I texted him once and he replied #truestory) that are both absolutely insane and insanely beautiful at the same time. The whole time I read his book my brain was exploding - "who is this guy?!"/"people have lives like that?!?!"/"he's not a fictional character?!?!?!"/"is this real life?!?!?!?!"
Then I was reading along with my community of women a couple of days ago (and men too, I guess, if they're into the truths I've been rediscovering daily through their devotionals) and read about this awesome man named Shallun who lived a long time ago during the 'boring parts of the Old Testament' that was a nobody-turned-somebody when his commitment to the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem put him in a bigger story with Jesus of the New Testament when he didn't even know it. (Spark notes: Nehemiah writes of Shallun repairing the wall of the Pool of Siloam, which is the same place Jesus sends a blind man to wash off mud from his eyes to receive sight in John 9 #thatjusthappened)
And then this thought occurred to me: what if I lived my life like I was a nobody?
It's so easy to be a "somebody" in this day-and-age. We have Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Vine to make us look like we're the biggest 'somebody' anyone could ever meet/have in their life/call bestie. Do we really think we're that important? If we pulled up your Vine videos 20 years from now, would we look back on your short 6-second documentary life and say, "Oh yeah, that's really somebody! Look at all the a-m-a-z-i-n-g things they did with their life in these 6-second clips!"
Would we? Really?
We are so consumed by what people think of us*, because if people don't think good things of us (or worse - if people don't think anything about us), that must mean we're missing something...missing something that makes us special or that we're missing that indescribable 'thing' that we need to make us important in people's lives so that they'll talk about us (in a good way) when we're not with them. We want people to know and feel and believe that we're worth their time, worth their friendship, worth their love, worth their acceptance.
But then there's this thing that I always seem to forget about, and it's kind of a big deal when I start remembering it: there's this story (although after being confronted by Andy Stanley over the word 'story', I don't really mean 'story', more like "there's this historical fact"...) about a God who created every one of us uniquely (uniquely! we have forgotten how awesome this word is...) and a God who loves us so much that He sent his perfect Son to come to our mess and save us from ourselves. Because He thought we were special - back in the garden - and He STILL thinks we're special now (even with our self-absorbed 140 characters and our perfectly-chosen filters of nothing/everything).
If I really think about it, I've already been made a somebody by the only One who is worthy of calling me "somebody". Y'all, I don't know about you but that's reallyreallyreallyreallyREALLY freeing.
The moment I think I'm a somebody, the fear of fitting in or the fear of disappointing sinners will overwhelm me to the point of inaction. When I know that I'm a nobody, the world is literally my oyster (ok not literally, as we all know the Earth is not an oyster...and if this is a new fact for you, you're welcome). I'll do whatever it takes to show others that I love and care for them, because I'm not bound by the shackles of expectations or my reputation to act on my morals and beliefs. It means that if I see something wrong, I will speak up, even if it makes me unpopular (you can't be a 'somebody' and unpopular at the same time...unless you're the popular unpopular nobody that everyone knows about...). It means that I might quit my job and say goodbye to my kingdom plan because I have felt and heard God's call to serve Him and His kingdom plan. It means that being a nobody frees me to be the somebody God has called me to be, because I trust in His plan for me, I accept His love for me, and I cling to His thoughts of me.
The world is filled with nobodies. We know about them now because they followed their nobody calling and their nobody calling resulted in an extraordinary thing - but if we had known them then, well, we wouldn't have know about them then. Nobodies like Katie Davis who followed God's call to serve the least of these in Uganda when she was 18 years old and now finds herself the mother to 13 girls. Nobodies like the missionaries I grew up with who serve the people of Northern Thailand, helping them translate the Bible into their native tongue word-for-word. Nobodies like Jim Elliot who did some insane things without fear, whose short life ushered in the amazing power of compassion and forgiveness for a tribe of people and has since impacted Christians to be fearless with their faith. My church is filled with nobodies too. The nobodies who show up to drop off filled backpacks for kids who need school supplies. The nobodies who sew pillowcase dresses to send to foreign countries. The nobodies who serve our church community by reading to elementary school students and helping them with school work.
I hope you're not offended that I've chosen to call these amazing people nobodies. What I'm really trying to say is what Miss Davis said so eloquently when she she said this: "People tell me I am brave. People tell me I am strong. People tell me good job. Well here is the truth of it. I am really not that brave, I am not really that strong, and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am just doing what God called me to do as a follower of Him. Feed His sheep, do unto the least of His people."
Somebodies don't say stuff like that. Somebodies say stuff like this: "It’s what I came here to do. I’m now a legend. I’m also the greatest athlete to live."- Usain Bolt. And stuff like this: ""My best and worst 'Idol' moments? I don't have a worst 'Idol' moment. I've been spectacular. Yes, I am going to toot my own horn. And then my best moment is every single moment. I'll toot it again." - Nicki Minaj. Or stuff like this: "I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me... but I can't help it that I'm so popular." - Gretchen Weiners (ok so she's a fictional character, but I have definitely heard people say this in real life, so I think you get my point).
(Did any of this make any sense? Probably not.) All I have to say is this: The world is filled with too many somebodies. We don't need any more somebodies. We need more nobodies. Nobodies who are fearless and unencumbered by what others think of them or what others know of them. That's when crazy, insane, spectacular things start happening.
I want crazy, insane, and spectacular, don't you?
*I hope you know that whenever I say "we" and "us" I really mean "I" and "me". Because, let's be honest, I am very guilty of everything I expressed in this post.