Celebrate Those In The Shadows

Stage Fright?

Some people get stage fright.  Not me, though.  I get stage delight.  Put me on a platform, put a microphone in my hand and cut me loose.  It is very often my happy place.  Technically, there doesn’t even have to be a crowd in front of me.  I feel the same in front of video camera.  (But it is fun with a crowd.)

Now, please don’t think I’m vain.  It’s not that the stage fills an emotional void in my life.  I don’t seek accolades from my moments in front of people.  It’s just part of how God designed me.  It’s more like an area of giftedness.  Whether it is preaching, presenting or performing, I enjoy being up in front of a group of people.  It’s second-nature to me.  I’ve enjoyed it since I was a young child.

Hidden Figures

But I am also acutely aware of the fact that I would never be able to stand on a stage comfortably or excel at what I’m doing there without those “hidden figures” (to borrow a current title) who do what they do off the stage… behind the scenes… where possibly no one will ever know that they did what they did.

I like to celebrate those people.  PR31 (who could absolutely be on a platform herself), but often chooses to keep me fed and my clothes washed and create a sanctuary in our home, along with encouraging me privately before I ever stand up publicly… or media personnel, like my cousin Travis who rigs lighting & sound gear for major shows in major arenas but never really takes the stage during those shows, or Michael Fernandez’ team at Impact Now who set up so many times for our student conferences, or Zach and JR at church who make sure the videos play and the sound doesn’t feedback… Graphic designers who come up with the cool presentation materials… Maintenance and cleaning personnel who make sure the facilities are spotless and comfortable so that everyone can relax and enjoy.

Too many times I have been the person to get the pat on the back because I was on the platform, but I know all too well that I didn’t turn on the lights… or clean the restrooms… or write the script… or plan the schedule… or greet the guests and hand them a brochure… or feed the hungry… or hug an orphan like a house parent at Compact Family Services… or write the code… or build the set… or empty a bedpan.  There are people doing acts of service in “secret… where most courageous acts occur… away from public acclaim.” (Chuck Swindoll)

Don’t get me wrong… I have done (and will continue to do) stuff behind the scenes that no one knows about.  That’s part of what makes me appreciate those people who do that all the time.  In fact, there are times when it feels like what they do in secret is possibly more effective at making a difference than what I do on a platform.  Oh, I know both are important… I understand my role and delight in it.

I just think we ought to take time to seek out those who make our lives easier… those who serve in the shadows… those who delight in setting others up to win.  Let’s celebrate the nurses and not just the doctors.  Let’s celebrate the assistant high school football coaches and the statistician for the middle school basketball team, not just the SuperBowl MVP or the Heisman trophy winner.  Let’s celebrate the person who stocks the shelves and not just the manager of our favorite store.  Let’s celebrate the busboy and not just the critically acclaimed chef.  Let’s celebrate the private and not just the general.

Scripture tells us in Romans 13:7 to give “honor to whom honor is due.”  And people behind the scenes deserve to be honored and recognized for all their service.

Look Around You

Who is it in your life that is “behind the scenes” making your life better?  Maybe you don’t see yourself as being on a platform, but I guarantee you that you couldn’t do what you do without someone else who might otherwise be overlooked in life.  Why not take time today to look them in the eyes… smile at them… and tell them, “Thanks!  Thanks for making my life better.  Thanks for helping me to succeed.”  Or if you can’t meet them in person, jot them a note of thanks.  Or post a pic of them or their job on social media and give them a public shout-out of appreciation.

So, thanks, guy who checks my meter so that I get charged the right amount for electricity.  Thanks, UPS delivery driver who brings us packages from Amazon.  Thanks, lady who refills the machine at Kroger so that I can grind fresh peanut butter.  Thanks, World’s Best Kids Pastor Marci Goza, for all the time spent preparing throughout the week to teach my kids about God at church each week and reinforce what we are trying to build into them at home.

And if you’re someone I haven’t gotten around to, but you make my life better and easier… THANK YOU!  Please know that I truly appreciate you.

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