When my husband was a kid, he loved to have his face in every photograph. His mother used to laugh at all the pictures that were supposed to be of relatives, special guests and events. No matter the occasion, somewhere in the background was Wayne's impish face, mugging for the camera.
He says now that he thought everyone wanted a picture of him. He was making the picture better!
His niece was just like him. Every time a camera appeared, so did she. We learned quickly to line up the shot we wanted and call, "Over a little, honey. No, a little more! A le-e-ettle more to the left...There, that's just right!" And then snap the shot when she'd scooted over far enough to get out of the picture.
Have you wondered lately why things don't seem to work out like you thought they were going to? You thought you understood your calling, your purpose, your life goals--but it's not working out.
Maybe God is telling you to get out of the picture. He has a perfect plan, an amazing panorama that fits perfectly with all the other masterpieces he's created, and he'd like to let you be a part of it. But you've got to get out of the picture.
The problem is we see the camera and start mugging. We get a glimpse of what God wants to do through us and we say, "Great! I like that. I'll just tweak it a little here and fluff it up a bit there and this'll be even better!"
But our tweaking and fluffing ruin the shot. The great idea becomes a ruined picture---nothing like you'd thought it would be.
You scratch your head and wonder why it failed. You were sure you heard God. This was a great plan! What happened? Has God let you down? Why would he do that? With God's help, you could've done fantastic things! God would be the "idea-guy" and you would run with it. What a team!
But while you stress yourself out trying to make the plan work, God puts the camera away and finds somebody else to use.
I'm realizing lately that God can only use the parts of me that he owns completely. Not the parts I've loaned him, or rented to him, or offered on a time-share basis.
And then there are those areas to which I've attached a bungee cord---just in case I don't like what God does with them.
I finally figured out: He knows about the bungee cord.
God is not a thief. He doesn't take over what hasn't been freely given to him. And his plans for it may be very different from mine. That's when I'm tempted to dart back into the picture to "rescue" it, just as Wayne thought he was rescuing a boring photograph.
How do we know when we're out of the picture enough?
You can tell you're out of the picture when you no longer have an emotional claim on the outcome.
Just as I used to say to my niece, God whispers to us, "Scoot over, honey. A little more...a little more..." Until the thing we grasped so tightly is no longer of any importance to us. It's God's now and whatever he wants to do with his photo is fine with us.
Are you still too much in the picture? Is there too much of you and not enough of Him? Is it YOUR ministry? YOUR business? YOUR family? YOUR plans?
If so, you will only accomplish your goals. You will never live up to the full potential God has invested in you, nor will you see his greater purpose accomplished in your life. As Jesus blessed the little boy's lunch of bread and fish, he wants to do miraculous things with your offering. But you have to take your hands off the picnic basket first.
Wondering if there is too much of you still showing in the picture?
Ask yourself: Is your ego invested in this venture? Do you have something to prove? Is your self-worth based on how well you do?
If so, then you're still blocking the shot.
Listen for that still, small whisper and get out of the picture!