Do you remember ‘The Gong Show’?
It was kind of the ‘American Idol’ of the late ’70’s, early ’80’s with one major difference. Just imagine Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. listening to each contestant and then instead of simply deciding whether or not they would earn a golden ticket, they would decide if the contestant would be allowed to complete their audition or if they were so absolutely horrible that one of the judges simply couldn’t stand it any longer and must pick up a big stick and strike it on a giant ‘gong’.
The only benefit of this method that I can see is that the sound of that gong reverberating through the room would help to drown out the cries of those eliminated contestants.
When I was in 4th grade, some
moron unwise administrator decided that instead of our regular yearly talent show, our school would have it’s very own version of ‘The Gong Show’. Yep.
My friends and I just knew that all of those months singing along to Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ were finally going to pay off!
We practiced our routine every single day after school and perfected our choreography.
This was going to be epic.
The big day arrived and as we pulled on our lace fingerless gloves, multiple strands of long bead necklaces, flouncy skirts and two pairs of different colored socks, we felt the anticipation building.
Finally it was our turn. As we marched out onto that stage, filled with confidence, we turned to get a look at the judges.
Our hearts sank.
There sitting behind the table were other students. And not just any other students. These were the ‘popular’ kids. The ones who seemed to sail effortlessly through life and had multiple pairs of Guess jeans. These were our judges.
I think we all knew in that moment that this wasn’t going to go well.
But it was too late to turn back now. We got into our positions on the stage, gave a nod to the kid in charge of the record player and as we heard Cyndi Lauper belting out those first few lines and began our routine, we found ourselves forgetting everything else besides embodying the very essence of those enviable girls who just wanna have fun.
It lasted all of about one minute.
As we were dancing our little hearts out, I saw the movement out of the corner of my eye.
Then the tell-tale sound of the scraping of a metal chair across the floor as it was being pushed away from the table. One of the ‘judges’ stood up and as the audience went crazy with a combination of booing and cheering (and as we still danced and lip-synched), they walked over to the cymbal/gong and gave it a hearty whack.
And just like that, my extremely short-lived career as a Cyndi Lauper impersonator was over.
But something happened to me that day.
It may have looked like I simply walked off that stage with my head hanging down and my side ponytail looking deflated.
But, what no one else could see, was that…
the gong came with me.
In fact, the sound of that gong continued to follow me throughout most of my life.
And, frankly, I got to the point where I no longer needed someone else to pick up that stick and give it a whack to eliminate me.
Because, well, I became perfectly capable of doing it all by myself…to myself.
You’re not cool enough.
You’re not pretty enough.
You’re never going to fit in.
You’re not worthy enough.
That person will never like you.
It’s taken many, many years to not hear that gong resounding in my head at every turn. In fact, I think I had to have the stick pried right out of my hands as my fingers clutched it as tightly as possible.
And it’s only been through coming to a greater understanding of how much God truly loves me that I’ve been able to release it.
This has not been an easy process though.
It says in Ephesians that we are His ‘masterpiece’.
Think about that for a minute. A masterpiece. A thing of beauty. A work of art.
Imagine a sculptor creating the most amazing statue. Pouring over the design, putting heart and soul into seeing their vision come to life, piece by piece. Stepping back and looking at it with absolute satisfaction and delight.
And then watching as that creation, that masterpiece, slowly began to pick itself apart, piece by piece.
Everything that you saw as beautiful, they saw as all wrong.
Well that’s exactly what we do when we ‘gong’ ourselves. We’re telling God that He had to have messed up with us.
We must be the exception to that ‘masterpiece’ business.
But, here’s the thing, we all know that when it comes to a piece of art, it only really matters how the artist views it. Right?
You know, that whole ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ thing. Well, we are the ‘beauty’ and He is the ‘beholder’.
So, what would happen if we began to see ourselves the way that God sees us?
What if the masterpiece was able to appreciate it’s own beauty? The beauty created by it’s Master.
You were created with purpose, with intention. In fact, you were made in HIS image.
And sweet friends, that artist, your Master Designer…
He will never, ever gong you. 🙂