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  • Pastor Patricia Phillips

The Day I Chose to Smile


We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:7, NLT)

I had a dental procedure done right before an event where I was a presenter. My mouth was so sore that my speech was impaired. When I looked in the mirror with my partially swollen face glaring back at me, I became so concerned. But, I finished combing my hair and hurried out the door.

Challenge

My inner critic began telling me that I should not go. “Your speech will be the absolute worst,” it said. My looming anxiety was that first impressions are lasting impressions. Then a secondary dread emerged: Will they be videotaping this event and capture my swollen face forever on film? Needless to say, I had become consumed with external presentation. I was Exhibit A - flawed face on display for all the world to see.

Conflict

It’s in moments like that when all the insecurity and vulnerability of even the most seasoned, professional speaker can kick in. First, I deliberated on opening with an elaborate funny story entitled “What Happened to My Face.” “Easy enough,” I thought. Then, I considered using it as an illustration of my presentation called — are you ready? — “When the Unexpected Happens.” But I wasn’t feeling especially jovial.

Then I thought, “There are so many people who are truly suffering and broken.” So, I finally came to myself. I spent most of the morning silencing my inner critic.

Choice

My passion for these women, came to the forefront of my heart. I spoke and shared, but never once acknowledged the obvious - my face! I quite simply got over myself and focused on the business at hand – encouraging, teaching, and challenging hungry and hurting women — while smiling.

And God showed up.

By the end of the day, we had become so saturated in the sweet spirit of Jesus, that it was time to draw strength for the charge of going back into our sphere of influences, in our own little worlds with the overflow of a satisfied soul. I concluded my talk by saying, “You now have a choice: will you risk everything for a life of adventure in the presence, power, and purpose of God? Or will you play it safe, doing the same thing with the same predictable and limiting results?”

When I awoke that morning, I had a choice to either allow my swollen face to totally sidetrack my mission and message or to move forward — flawed. I am so glad I didn’t end up falling into the trap of making it all about me. The lovely decorations weren’t all that important. The outstanding acoustics and expert videographer were not the focus. And how the guest presenter looked was the least significant thing of all! Not only did I choose to smile, but I also chose to be empowered even in a moment of the unexpected.

My God, thank you for your grace and generosity. What was essential that Saturday were the women who had come and the message You gave to me to deliver. Conclusion

The next time something unexpectedly breaks loose in your life as you are about to embark on important, God-led assignments, recognize it for what it is — a temptation to become unraveled, to give up, and quit. Don’t do it! You and I are simply vessels with God’s treasure deep inside. The light from within will shine through our cracks flawed vessels. Allow God’s power within and His light to shine through our hearts to those we ministry to.

My take away: Don’t forget, we are like fragile clay jars containing God’s great treasure.

My prayer is that when you show up with nothing much but pure obedience, the world will listen and be blessed.


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