I recently had the opportunity to go to a Chris Stapleton concert with a friend. It was super last minute thing, but we had a blast. The music was great and the time to catch up with a sweet friend was invaluable.
I’m not sure if you know this about Chris Stapleton, but his one and only back up singer is his wife. That’s not something you see very often in the entertainment world, so it’s always intrigued me. And not just me. The next week at work, I told someone that I had been to the concert, and her response was “Cool….was his wife singing with him?”. To see a marriage so prominent in the entertainment world is unusual.
This image spoke something totally different to me though. It spoke to me a little bit about my own marriage. And a little bit of background might be helpful to understand where I’m coming from.
My husband is a super outgoing, loud personality. He has been on stage singing since he was four years old. And the amazing thing is, God blessed him with some kind of crazy talent, and he doesn’t have to try very hard to do what he does. It really is a gift, and God uses it to reach a lot of people.
I’m the opposite. I love music, and God’s given me an ear and a love for it. He’s given me a heart to serve Him with it. But I didn’t necessarily get the innate ability. I’ve always had to work at it.
Here is where my pride comes in. It sneaks in and shifts my focus to me and attention that I feel belongs to me instead of what I can do to point people to Jesus. When you have the personality and bigness that Brandon naturally possesses, people notice. And people compliment and praise it.
Not only do people praise him for it, but they also tell me. I can’t tell you how many times people come up to me and say things like
“Wow…isn’t he amazing?”
“Man! That guy can sing!”
“There’s just something about him…he’s so engaging!”
“You really are lucky, being married to a man with that much talent!”
And while all of this is true, my sinful heart balks at that. I fight the urge to diminish him and point out how much I had to do with it. How I reviewed his notes and helped critique it. How I made sure his clothes were out and ironed. How I organized his music and made sure it was printed and ready to go. And the list goes on.
But I always graciously replied, “Yes, he really is amazing, and I really am lucky.” My mouth said it but my heart was rolling its eyes.
I really am proud of him, don’t get me wrong. I just pridefully wanted someone else to notice my efforts and acknowledge how much I contribute.
But the heart is the issue. This morning in church, we talked about the verse in Jeremiah that says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” It’s so true! My heart wants to make a difference for the Kingdom, but wants the credit for it too. It wants to serve Jesus, but only in the ways that receive recognition and praise.
At its core, this attitude is a distrust of God and what he created. He created Kala to be Kala. He used a unique recipe full of specific ingredients to purposefully form me. I’ve been equipped with the right combination of gifts and talents to walk the path He designed for me.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
(Ephesians 2:10, NIV)
If that’s the case, then I need to trust that plan and serve in the way that I’ve been best created to serve. When I try to force something else to be my gift, I neglect the things that God has put in my care. He made me a very detail oriented, organized person. He gifted me to excel in one-on-one relationships and mentoring. He gave me the ability to connect through teaching. He gave me a heart for people and the everyday struggles they are going through. He gave me an ability to write instead of speak. Who knows what He has in store for me if I would work on cultivating those things?
And if I’m totally honest, God didn’t create me with a ‘spotlight’ kind of personality. I do have the opportunity to step out on my own sometimes, and I do so with a LOT of nerves and talking way too fast. And mainly a lot of relying on Jesus to help me not fall flat on my face. God definitely uses these opportunities to challenge me, and still honor Him.
Not only do I need to be striving to honor Christ above all, but I also need to remember that I stood in front of my husband almost two years ago and promised to be his partner in life. We both bring certain skills and talents to the table, and we work very hard to mesh them together and bring forth a godly marriage. God has blessed us with the opportunity to do ministry together. Something I hadn’t initially envisioned for our marriage. But it’s an amazing opportunity, and is so fulfilling for both of us!
Have you ever seen the movie Sky High? I saw it as a teenager. In the movie, the kids attending Sky High are the offspring of superheroes, training to be superheroes themselves one day. This requires a different kind of education….for obvious reasons. Students fall into one of two categories- Heroes and Sidekicks. Most of them strive to make Super Hero, but sometimes have to settle for Sidekick. As with most teeny bopper Disney movies, there is a moral to the story. The idea that the world needs both Heroes and Sidekicks, that both are equally essential. Heroes couldn’t save the world without Sidekicks, and Sidekicks would be out of work if there were no Super Heroes. Deep, I know.
God has gifted me more like a Sidekick. And while the movie may be cheesy, it’s right. Superheroes need Sidekicks, and vice versa.
I only do my partner a disservice when I become jealous of our roles. A true partner would encourage the other, and do whatever it takes for the other to succeed. When both partners operate like this, both are free to operate in their own strengths to the best of their ability.
Loving him like I promised is loving everything about him. It’s encouraging him to be the best that he can be in the areas that God has gifted him. And I am lucky that I have a partner that does the same for me.
So I left the Chris Stapleton concert, wanting to be more like Morgane Stapleton. Everyone knows his name, but I had to Google hers. Yet, she still shines. All throughout the concert, he relied on her. When he needed to communicate something to the band, he talked to her and she took care of it. Her harmonies blended with his seamlessly, and they obviously enjoyed doing their life together in this way.
Chris himself said it this way: “We’re married so we hold each other accountable. We can lift each other up on bad nights, kind of give each other a wink when we screw up or do something funny.”
And I am perfectly happy with that. The only reason Brandon or I will ever shine is because Jesus does. So I’ll play to my gifts, and continue to trust my Savior and rightly love my husband. I’m just thankful that God, in His infinite wisdom, gave me the perfect super hero to sidekick for.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-6