This world is designed to make us feel like we're feeling big. We work our way up from smallness until we can walk to school by ourselves, walk to the library by ourselves, ride our bikes across town without supervision, drive, vote, shoot a gun, and drink. Each of these is a stage of getting progressively bigger, and I have to admit that there are still some days, even at 27 years old, that I still feel big getting behind the wheel of a car.
The same is true in our industry. We're trained into progressive stages of big, progressive growth of our ability, influence, and duty so that maybe one day, we make a decision that we feel like really matters. So that one day, it comes down to us and we feel what power is like. Or we do something well, and it just feels big. Like we ought to feel big. Because what we just did was big.
But I'm a girl who has got to feel small.
This world is good at that, too. At taking your big and in an instant, stripping it to small. At taking whatever you think you are and diminishing you into something so much lesser. When the world makes you small, it's defeating. It's humiliating. It's meant to discourage and disappoint you. The world's definition of small is belittled. The world's definition of small is despised. The world's definition of small is unimportant. It's all of these things that strip you of what is you until you feel like you're nothing. And nothing is about as small as it gets.
That's not the kind of small I'm talking about.
I'm talking about the kind of small that rests in the Infinite. That is not humiliated, but humbled. That is not belittled but bewildered. That is not defeating but defining. This kind of small does not discourage or disappoint; it inspires and affirms. Somewhere in this smallness, you find that you're unimportant and simultaneously treasured. You're nothing and something, and in this place, that makes perfect sense. It doesn't seem contrary. It's more...comforting.
For me, this is something I find in a big empty space. Like a few weeks ago when my worship minister put together a "Gift of Silence" for those of us on the Worship Arts ministry team. I took the opportunity to kneel in the middle of this giant sanctuary, where the lights were off and just a few candles and Christmas lights (apparently, we ran out of candles?) provided ambiance and the big screen displayed images of distraction and invitations to stillness and there was just a hint of a storm left in the ever-darkening evening sky. In a place like that, I feel small. And yet, it is somehow perfect.
It's standing outside under the starlight, looking at the expanse of all of these millions of other bodies that are not so much unlike this one and yet, I could never touch them. And it makes me feel small, but it makes me feel...designed? It just brings the emphasis of what's in my heart to focus and there's all these things and all this stuff and this ginormous God who made it all, and yet I see Him working in my life and living with me and loving on me and simply loving me every day, and I feel so small in the midst of all of this creation around me, yet uniquely treasured and somehow...I don't want to say "important," but just merely like I matter. Like God has something in me He can't abandon because as tiny a speck as this is, it is part of that infinite, too. Even on days when I can't quite figure out what exactly my part is.
It's getting out of town, hitting a dirt road, walking through the forest, wading in the creek, throwing my hands up toward the sky, singing without anyone hearing, not caring if they do, praying out loud, crying out loud, yelling and screaming and living out loud in this place that is so empty and so big and so wide open that I can't help but feel small and then in all that, it's just ok. It's fine. Small feels right like where I'm supposed to be.
All this big the world wants us to feel, all this grown up and capable and independent and big that this society is structured to work toward, it just draws me away from God. It puts my life in my own hands, and I don't know what to do with it. Some days, I can barely find a spot in the parking lot. What in the world am I supposed to do with a whole life? And then you set yourself up for failure after failure because you're trying to be big because the world tells you you're big and there's this entire set of rules and definitions and expectations of what big people do. And I've gotta tell you, I'm just so seldom...so, so seldom...doing any of the big right.
But when I have the chance to feel small...man, then it just makes sense. It puts my life in the hands of Someone bigger than me who knows exactly what to do with it, and when I feel small, I feel that. I feel like I'm nestled into something greater than me instead of this little tiny life pretending to be big and trying to plow its way through and make a way. I'm just resting in all that is that doesn't depend on me making my way or being big or anything. I am a tiny, tiny part of all that goes on here. And that takes the pressure off and allows me to just be. In the midst of the Infinite. Nestled in His hands. In the expanse of all that is. Surrounded by Creation and feeling created. Small.
It doesn't matter what kind of day it is - a good day, a bad day, a hard day, an easy day, a Monday, a Sunday, an in-between day - any day that I can find a way to feel as perfectly small, it changes my everyday. And that's kind of a big thing.