…right off the bat this is going to sound like the worst sort of humble brag: a fake prayer offered as a humble brag. But you know my heart here, God, right? If I’m humble bragging, forgive me. If I’m not (and I really think I’m not…) help folks bear and pray with me.
So hear goes: as you might have noticed finding my name on a list of amazing speakers, specifically finding my name just above Marilynne Robinson’s, just about knocked me off my chair. But here’s how I know this isn’t a humble brag: I wasn’t knocked off my chair because I find myself so unworthy (not humble!) but because I’m just not the sort who makes it on to lists.
As you know,usually I’m the one feeling like crap because I’d hoped to see my name on something (maybe? just maybe?) and it’s not. I see a list I’d love to be on but am not and suddenly I’m back in 7th grade, standing in that hallway in the middle of friends all cheering and high-fiving because their names were on that cast list. And mine wasn’t. Remember that?
Usually I’m comforting myself with all sorts of reasons why of course I’m not on the list and why I’ll show them. I’m super mature, you know that, God.
But then sometimes, out of nowhere, my name appears. And then I’m filled with an icky weirdness all over again. Because the truth is: lists matter. You know? And being on one–being included in something “important” feels great. Because although I tell my friends who didn’t appear that it doesn’t matter and that it’s “just a list,” I’m going to add that my name appeared on Rachel’s list to my bio. I’m going to make sure my publishers see this so they think I’m something. I’m on the list!
And that stinks. That this matters. Because I know it doesn’t to you, God. What matters is that I live right. That I use my gifts as the woman you made me to be. That I love. Actually, that I love is probably all that really matters.
But still: there’s this world we live in where lists matter. Where being included feels great (but too great? is that bad?) and where being left off sucks. (FWIW, God, I’m not blaming Rachel here. Of all the lists I’ve seen, she set hers up beautifully and humbly and honorably).
So I don’t even know what I’m praying here: just maybe that you help me (and the other “listeds”) accept the good feelings and good “things” that come from being included in a list and that you help me (and the other “unlisteds”) whenever we are left on and want to be on.
Also, thanks for not letting my name be on that 7th grade play list. Was good to learn early on that a thespian I am not.