I have this thing I do before any speaking engagement that involves me laying on the floor and listening to “Live Forever” by Drew & Ellie Holcomb.
Before any major event, and especially before I am about to present the gospel, you can find me face down on the floor somewhere rocking to the beat of “I want you to live forever, underneath the sky so blue…”
The song has sort of become a prayer for me. A heart cry. A surrender.
Friday was no different. I laid on the floor under Christmas lights and let the words wash over me and the Spirit rest upon me.
And within a couple hours I was laying on that same floor with tears streaming down my face.
And later, I was hiding in a pantry crying a little more loudly.
There it is. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Very ugly.
I am not sure I’ve ever struggled through a speaking opportunity the way I struggled through that one. I have never felt such keen defeat. I have never felt such acute failure.
And I am positive, I have never hid in a closet like I did that night.
I think I vacillated between anger at God, that He would allow failure like that, and anger at myself, that I couldn’t manage to get it together.
I replayed every word over and over and over again until I couldn’t think straight. And finally, as I was forced my mind to start thinking straight instead of living in re-runs, I put two and two together.
Katie. I’m not sure what your deal is, but I didn’t fail. And even if you did fail, I was still there – and I‘m too good to let your meltdown have any bearing on My eternal plans. That might now be how you measure success, but My ways are not your ways – and My success is not your success. You might be calling it a wash, but you gave the night to me, and it was a success in My name regardless of whether you see or understand. You, my girl, are not good enough to mess up My plans.
And then just for good measure, I felt the loving reality of this:
Geeze Katie, get it together.
So back to the floor I went. Playing “Live Forever” until it was all I could hear and all my heart could plead.
I recited to myself over and over, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8
Or as the New Living Translation words it: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
His ways are not my ways. His version of success is different than mine – it is better than mine.
And I’m not good enough to mess up His plans. Period. End of story.
For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? Isaiah 14:27
His version of success may not be mine, but we are offered eternal assurance that His is better.