I was rummaging through some old things a day or so ago and found this picture. Let me introduce you to an old friend of mine … Pickels the clown. Pickels was my alter ego many years ago. What started out to be a part-time job delivering balloons, turned into a full-fledged personality change for me. As a shy young woman, I had dreams of becoming this sophisticated career-type person. I wanted to be like the divas in the soap operas that had class and dignity. Back then, like most young families, we were often strapped for money. This was during the time of the ‘entrepreneurs’. A friend convinced me that she and I could make up a couple of costumes and deliver balloons for birthdays and special occasions. Somehow in an oil town of 1,000 people we were suppose to get rich. (Awe for the optimism of youth!) Costumes were created, business cards were printed, and commitments were made … and she backed out, leaving me to go out among the people to embarrass myself alone. There were smiles and laughter wherever I went … I was hooked!
Over the years, Pickels and I grew up together. I literally threw myself into this new ‘career’ and studied the masters of comedy and slapstick. I became close personal friends with librarians who would use the inter-library loan system to find books on magic, costuming, theatrical makeup, and silly jokes. Pickels grew more polished and established, becoming a minor celebrity in areas across Texas. Me? Well God had some things to teach me in all of this.
God used that period in my life to teach me how to focus my attention outward. He put some really awesome Christian clowns in my life and used them to teach me lessons about dying to self and becoming what the Bible terms as ‘the least of these’. I couldn’t serve Him and stay focused on my own ‘dignity’ and self-image at the same time. I had to learn to ‘put myself out there’ to be laughed at and possibly ridiculed. You know, that rarely happened. Instead, I found people wanted to be near me. They wanted for just a few moments to reconnect with innocence and fun. They wanted to forget their burdens and be child-like again … just for a little while. I learned that anyone can put on the makeup; but to be a real clown, I had to learn to have so much love and compassion for people that it bubbled out of me. Without a doubt, that was an experience of a lifetime! I never earned much money, but I became as rich as King Solomon in so many ways.
To have a true servant’s heart, we have to always keep in mind that this life isn’t about us. When asked by the scribes what the most important commandment was, Jesus said “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
Little secret to all you young folks out there … life isn’t about dignity, pride, and image. All these things are extra baggage to weigh us down and hinder our service to the Lord. Let them all go and become as a child. A child trusts without question, loves without reservation, and is open to all the wonderful experiences that a loving Father can bestow on them. And Christians, here’s a secret for you … it’s not about ‘us’. When we went to the Cross, we died to self. It’s all about serving God, in whatever capacity He calls you to. For a period of my life … it was to literally become a fool for Him. The things He taught me during those years will serve me the rest of my life. God is so good! Will you put aside all the ‘baggage’ of self and trust Him completely to lead you? It’s scary at first … but oh, what an adventure!
Have a great day and may the Lord bless you!