Lately, I've been pondering being great. As some of you may know, I've been doing music and theatre for a long time. I started auditioning when I was 8 years old. Since then, I've been surrounded by a "being great" mentality. You had to be the best to get the part. If you didn't get the part, someone else did and you lost. Don't even get me started about all the being great girls I had to be around while my mom put me in pageants. If you want to learn about being great, just try and keep up with those girls! Then, I moved to NYC where being great is your last name. I've never lived in a more "me" city, where everyone was out for number one. Nashville is basically the same way, just the being great is sugar coated with smiles and convenient friendships.
But something about being great has never quite sat right with me. I always felt that it was right to work hard at whatever you are doing, but striving to be the best and get ahead was never satisfying to me. In fact, it left me even more empty that just being content with where I was.
I often think about the greats: Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland.... how is it that all these greats died from drug overdosing? Was it because being great doesn't satisfy? Maybe being great is an addiction in itself. And I, for one, do not want to share in their fate.
Even the disciples in the Bible were confused about greatness. You would think after following the Son of God around for a while that they would be more understanding. But instead, they started bickering amongst themselves about who was going to be the greatest in heaven. Another time in the Bible, the mother of 2 disciples (I refer to her as "the first documented stage-mom") asked Jesus to sit her sons at his right hand and at his left hand in his new kingdom. Jesus responded to this, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Our human nature can turn even the most innocent things into something bad. Being great at something isn't inherently bad, but if our attitude becomes self-centered, then it'll warp us until we don't recognize ourselves. Jesus' own brother said in his book of the Bible, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." In this day and age, it's so easy to spiral into the endless pit of ourselves by trying to become great. But, I think we can overcome this mentality by daily looking to the greatest great of all: The King of Glory who left his throne to serve us and gave "His life a ransom for many." So this week, I declare that the new standard of being great is serving others! Who's with me??
Sometimes I think I'm crazy. But sometimes, I think I know exactly what I'm doing.