I don't like to admit I used to do pageants. It got started when my mom entered me in the Miss Baby Jacksonville pageant and I won my first crown at 6 months. And well, my only crown. I did a few more pageants growing up, but looking back, good Lord, I will NOT put my daughter in pageants! (No offense mom!) I just hate how superficial they are.
Rewatching the Miss MHS pageant video, I couldn't help but think of the Beth Moore bible study I'm doing right now with my church about the book of Esther. Esther was a regular girl who, after the king's own version of a beauty pageant, was chosen as the Queen of Persia. Her big historic moment came when she had to stand up to her king to insist he stop the upcoming annihilation of the Jews. The movie, "One Night With The King," is based on the book of Esther, and the scene that always sticks out to me is the moment she has to fulfill her destiny. She runs in the rain to the king's quarters, risking everything by attempting to enter his quarters without being called first, something she could be killed for in those days (um, being queen is tougher than I thought!). But instead, she trusts God and bravely pushes through the doors in that dramatic Hollywood entrance of slow motion and momentous music playing. It was her moment, "for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14)
So, ok, no, competing in the Miss MHS pageant wasn't highly important in saving the world, but, to me, it required that same kind of courage, being the shy wallflower I was in high school, to show my high school the real me I had been holding back. I remember being a nervous wreck waiting behind the curtain for it to open. Those few seconds waiting on stage felt like an eternity as I tried to talk myself out of it.
"I can't do this. What the heck am I about to do here? This is the WHOLE high school about to watch me. I'm crazy, WHAT was I thinking signing up to do this?" So many random thoughts going through my head. Needless to say I was a mess of insecurities!
WHY are we always so quick to tear ourselves down? Even when the Lord was first calling Esther to her mission, her first reaction was "Um, it's kind of bad timing here, I kind of have some issues going on with my marriage, the king hasn't even called for me in 30 days!" (Paraphrased obviously! (Esther 4:11)
As I waited behind the curtain, the next thing I noticed, I looked in the right wing of the stage and I see none other than the very first guy who broke my heart. He was that "Mr. Man on Campus" who I confessed to earlier in the year that I liked him and he gave me a few pity dates only to drop me like a fly, and I learned the hard way why crushes are called crushes. He had an acting part in the opening of the pageant performance, but WHY did HE of all people have to be standing in the wing of the stage as the last thing I saw before my performance? Even further ironic, his current girlfriend of the time was the one that introduced my talent act. :-) Oh how God is a funny God.
Then the curtain opened, and it was showtime! I had no choice. It was time to bomb or it was time to shine.
I know I'm blackmailing myself here, but I thought I would share the performance so you could laugh with me at me. I couldn't stop laughing at how cheesy I was singing about the man of my dreams, but yet rewatching it, so proud of the teen version of me courageously walking through her biggest fear in that moment.
What stirred the memory of all of this was last night I reconnected with another high school crush on Facebook. I confessed to him 10 years later what a huge crush I used to have on him, and he confessed back how I made his jaw drop during that Miss MHS performance and how stunning he thought I looked that night.
I made HIS jaw drop?
Get out of here.
So, um, yeah, that made like my LIFE.
All the butterflies he used to make me feel walking by him in the hallways, they all came fluttering back when I read that. Like, wow. No, I didn't go on to win Miss MHS, but hearing that compliment, even 10 years later, was so much better than winning a crown. :-) (Thank you Aaron!)
What's holding YOU back from walking through your fear and maximizing your potential? Like Esther, God loves to use ordinary people in extraordinary ways for His kingdom. Who knows, maybe this is your time to walk through your fear for such a time as this!