Photo A Photo B
My heart dropped to the floor. It began to palpitate. Sweat dripped from my brow. I could feel the prickly paws of gloom, despair and agony scratching at my pathetically pitiful and prideful soul!
Is this what a panic attack feels like? I wondered, as I labored for air.
Rewind to several months prior to this day.
I was in my prayer closet, asking the Lord to show me the theme for an upcoming retreat where I had been invited to speak.
Yes! I was in PRAYER!!! That should pretty well guarantee everything would be okay … right?
After all, I was speaking to my Father — the One who knows everything about me and loves me anyway. The One who always has my best interest in mind.
What could possibly go wrong … right?
In the depths of my being, as I sought Him, I kept hearing the words of John the Baptist: “He must increase, but I must decrease,” and then I thought of Kathleen Carnali’s song, “More of Him; Less of Me.”
Yes! I knew that was to be the theme!
Earlier in the planning stages, one of the event planners had asked for my bio. She had also asked if I wanted her to use the picture on my website, or if I wanted to send a “different” photo for the promotional materials.
I remembered the picture that was on the link I had previously sent to her (photo B), so I said with confidence, “Please just use the picture on the link I sent you,” and that was the end of our conversation.
Months passed. Everything was fine. The Spirit of God had been graciously dispensing tidbits of verses and biblical principles for me to use for the weekend retreat. I was looking forward to sharing my wonderful Lord and His Word with the new friends I was going to meet — more of Him; less of us!
Then it happened. I received a copy of the registration form from the retreat team.
I couldn’t believe my eyes! I blinked. I blinked again. And blinked once more. I shook my head in denial and disbelief, attempting to clear my head — my eyes — whatever it was that needed to be cleared!
It didn’t work. It was still there — a picture of me from a mission trip I had taken to the Philippines two years earlier (photo A)! A hideous, sweaty image of myself was staring back at me, as big as life, on that registration form!
There I was, clad in a cotton summer top with narrow straps, dripping wet from the humidity. Unruly waves had overtaken my entire head of hair, and (save for a little lipstick) had nary a stitch of makeup on, accentuating the dark circles beneath my eyes and swollen face from the “heat stroke” or whatever it was with which I had been suffering since landing on the island of Mindanao.
In spite of my adverse physical reaction to the climate, which was foreign to this high desert girl, I had been pushing myself to minister Christ on this Pacific island. After all, my son-in-law had graciously arranged outreach opportunities for me throughout my 21-day stay, i.e., ministering at a women’s birthing center where my daughter was serving, at a children’s feeding program, at children’s outreaches in poor villages, and at Tim Tebow Cure Hospital with post-surgery children.
I had been determined not to let the nausea and headaches prevent me from doing what I went there to do!
But somewhere along the way, someone had taken a picture of me in my distressed state … and somehow, THAT picture (photo A) had apparently ended up on the webpage I had sent to the retreat planners (unbeknownst to me)!
Is there a hacker on the loose???
“Noooooooooooooooooo!!!” my voice echoed in the silent room where I sat alone, looking with mortification on that sick and sweaty woman staring back at me.
That CAN’T be the picture on the promotional materials! Please God! Let it NOT be!!!
(This takes us back to where this story began.)
That’s when I heard (again) the still, small voice whispering deep in my spirit — except this time it was in question form:
“More of Him; less of me, you say???”
“Yes … but … but … but LORD,” I stuttered. “Do you SEE this picture???”
… except for the repeated phrase, “More of Me; less of you,” followed by,
“This isn’t about YOU. It’s about ME.”
I slumped in resignation, knowing He was right … again. He’s always right, you know.
“Yes, Lord. It is about You, not me. Forgive me and take away this ugly pride that stands between You and me. Please, Lord! Less of me and more of You!“
As hard as I thought it through, I never did arrive at a satisfactory explanation as to how on EARTH “Photo A” had come to be the profile picture on the webpage that I had sent to the ladies!
I could only “try not to think about it” (as my husband has been known to say to me on a number of occasions throughout our marriage).
I turned to God’s Word for comfort, as is my custom when feeling distraught. And by His divine grace, I was able to give it over to Him — but I have to confess that it wasn’t without a fight.
Then this is the clincher:
Later in the day, while checking Facebook, a friend’s status jumped off the screen at me. This is what it said:
“… A person with godly humility looks to the Master. He or she neither exalts nor denigrates self, because to do either is to make self the center of our universe. When we’re really serving Christ, our reputations and abilities [and photographs?] simply cease to be so important. We must decrease that He may increase … “
That’s what the post said!!! “We must decrease that He may increase … “
Did I not NEED to see those words right then and there??? How grateful I am to that friend who obeyed His nudge to make that her status that morning!
God had taken me full circle — back to my earlier prayer in my little closet of a room — more of You; less of me, Lord.
The Spirit of God had moved on my dear friend’s heart to type those words — a friend who lives nearly 700 miles away and who knew NOTHING of my present dilemma! And, since my friend was quoting a famous author, our loving Father would have had to have placed those words into the author’s heart at some point … to be read and posted by my friend at another point — for such a time as this!
Oh the intricacies of His divine plan to mold us, each one, into His image! How can we not but speak of Him to everyone who will listen!
Give me a pure heart, O God! One that seeks after You! I confess my sinful pride and lay it at the foot of Calvary’s Cross. Change me, Lord, from the inside out. I want to cooperate with You — not fight against You. I surrender all. Please transform me into Your image — the Image of Loveliness — that the only beauty in me would be the reflection of You.
This is my heart’s cry, dear Lord: More of You; Less of Me.