So I went to a BodyStep class today. Not a pretty sight.
One of my close girlfriends is a fitness instructor and today the schedule finally worked out for me to attend one of her classes.
Now, I've done step classes before and enjoyed them...but it's been several months since I've done it, and today's choreography really through me for a loop. It was a site to behold, let me tell you.
At first, it was just amusing to me how messed up my feet were getting, but by the end of class I have to admit it was downright embarrassing. (You know it's bad when several people come up to you afterwards and ask you if this was your first experience ever doing step. I should have just said yes.)
And as if I wasn't doing badly enough already, after about the first 15 minutes of fumbling with my feet, this blog started running through my head, making it even harder to concentrate on choreography. So I just kept smiling and stepping (totally off, though), and burned calories anyway, all the while wishing I had a notebook and pen to jot down my thoughts. It was embarrassing. And now my knees are mad at me.
You see, my mistake was that I set up my step in the front of the class. I don't know why. I guess because I was so excited to see my friend do her thing (I love to see people in their element, and watching her do her thing was totally worth my own humiliation. If you're reading this, you looked amazing by the way. You go girl.)
So, there I was, in the first row of participants, screwing up my steps for a full 55 minutes.
Within the first 10 minutes of class, I was kicking myself for setting up in the front. In my head, I was begging the people behind me "Please don't look at me! Look at her!"
If the people behind me had been looking at me, I can assure you their steps would have been completely screwed up. I was a mess.
And me being a mess just made me think about Jesus.
As my thoughts were inwardly beseeching the other participants "Please don't look at me, look at the leader" all I could think about was Jesus.
He's our leader, friends. We need to look at him.
And although at step class it's best to keep our eyes on the human instructor, really for the rest of life, we need to keep our eyes not on the human instructors but on the real leader. Jesus.
(As my six year-old prayed at the dinner table the other night "You Jesus. Only You. No one else.")
For my whole adult life I've worked in ministry. And while I've only been at this ministry thing for about 15 years...much less than many who've gone before me...in that short time I've learned something very important...all I want to do is point people to Jesus.
In everything I do I want people to look past me rather than at me and see Jesus.
"Please don't look at me. Look at Jesus."
We put a whole lot of emphasis and energy toward looking at human leaders, but really all of our human leaders fall very short. We all fumble over our feet to the point that goes past amusing to downright embarrassing. But Jesus never does.
I'm not making excuses for human leaders of the faith to go ahead and screw up. The Bible makes it really clear that those of us who teach God's word need to live above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2). Jesus Himself made it clear that the world would be watching all Christ-followers when He said, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35).
So, yes, the world is watching us, absolutely. Our children are watching us, our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends. They're all watching, and they'll make their assumptions about Jesus based on what they see. That's true and we must never take that lightly.
But, friend, if you're watching a human to learn about true love, or true grace, or true righteousness, or true anything, I can tell you this, you'll fumble around your feet. You'll mess up the choreography. You'll sprain your ankle. You'll fall flat on your face, because at some point the leader whom you're watching will fall flat on his or her face. But Jesus never will.
So, friend, please look past your human leader so that you can see Jesus more clearly. Don't look at Jesus through the lense of your clumsy human leader. (And we're all clumsy, right?) Look at Jesus as He is, alive and fully present to every person. See him as he presents himself in his Word.
Certainly, learn from the leaders God has placed in your life, dialogue with them, seek counsel from them. But don't fix your eyes on them. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
This is why I love to teach the Bible. There's really nothing more exciting to me than to open up the Bible for individuals and help them see Jesus. If I share too much of myself you'll see a whole lot of failure and not a lot of wisdom. But if I point you to Jesus, you'll simply see a whole lot of Jesus. Love, Mercy, Grace, Truth.
I want people to look past me and see Jesus.
Don't look at my mothering because you'll see me yell at my kids and ignore their requests too often. Don't look at my wife-ing because you'll see me on my laptop or smartphone instead of talking to my husband. Don't look at my checkbook because you'll never learn to balance one if you look at mine. Don't look at my house because I don't clean it very often. Don't look at my compassion because most days it's my biggest struggle. Don't look at my facebook because it's a very partial glimpse of my life. Certainly don't look at me during BodyStep class because I am a stepping failure.
But please, look at my Jesus.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus;