Drag Ugly Into the Light

There’s this song, Empty Me by Chris Sligh.  The lyrics strip me down every time I play it…

“I’ve had just enough of the spotlight
when it burns bright
to see how it gets in the blood
and I’ve tasted my share
of the sweet life
and the wild ride
and found a little
is not quite enough.
I know how I can stray
and how fast my heart could change.”

It’s not that I’ve seen that much of the spotlight, just enough of it to identify with Chris’ words– to know how quickly man’s approval can become addictive.

I think you get those lyrics, too. You may not have occupied a platform or a stage, but you’ve done something at some point well enough to elicit praise. You wrote, sang, photographed, cooked, helped, coached, nursed or gave. Add to the list until you see yourself, but whatever was produced from your efforts was recognized and appreciated — and it sat well with you.

We give ourselves to man’s approval like a dog to a belly rub. And just like our pets nudge us when our attention strays and our hands grow still, we can find ourselves stretching for the next pat on the head.

At least, I can.

Allow me to swallow hard and go all first person. It’s painfully embarrassing to admit key stroke by public key stroke that I like a “You go, girl” as much as the next person, but it’s worth dragging it into the light because that part of me stands in opposition to the approval I most long to hear.

Well done, my good and faithful servant.


I can’t reconcile the two.  They’re light and dark, flesh and spirit.

On my own I can’t even see when I’ve slipped from worshiping the I Am to the age-old battle of recognize me.  The Lover of My Soul has to call me out.  Always He gives me the option of admitting and submitting, relenting and repenting, but once I do He moves tenderly and purposefully. Under His skilled hands, the lesser things of this life are cut away and my sore hearts beats with new passion.

This last pass under His sweet healing knife came as I was preparing speeches for several upcoming events. I was moving along at a pretty good clip when I found a Rock in my road. Color me stunned when God slipped in without any fanfare and showed me that I was going about my preparations with a desire to “do well” at these events.

Do well? Whatever does that mean but to do well so I won’t be embarrassed, so I’ll be approved, to ensure further opportunities– for me…

Father and I have had quite a day. I think I know what He wants me to do and say. Oh, the speeches aren’t totally wrapped up or set in stone. God knows He is welcome to pull them and start all over should He choose, and that’s the sweetest place on earth to be.

See, there’s another line I adore from Chris’ song,

Everything’s a lesser thing compared to You.

And so, I pull all of this ugliness out into the can’t take it back written world because if I don’t know anything else, I know this: My ugly can’t survive in the Light of Who He is but a yielded spirit thrives there.

I will always appreciate a kind word from you, but I aim to live on His for they are spirit and they are life.

All that said, this coming weekend I’ll be ministering with Dr. Joneal Kirby, known as The Heart Mom, the women of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, and a host of other exceptional speakers and worship leaders at the Inaugural Heart to Home Conference in Monroe, LA! I would appreciate your prayer support. Oh, and it’s not too late for you to secure a ticket and join us. Or, if you can’t make the trip physically, you individually or your church group can participate in the simulcast. All of the details can be found here.

Hugs, Shellie

Can you share one of your “uglier” moments in this business that Father has had you drag into the light?

8 Replies to “Drag Ugly Into the Light”

  1. Excellent. And so true. I find, as soon as I get a hit on a query, or a yes on an article, that I get that rush of “yea me!” and then… it is like I need more of it – when all I need to be doing is following His guidance and path. Thank you so much for posting. Balm of Gilead for me today.

  2. Thanks for this post. I am preparing for my first speaking engagement and you exposed the words in my heart. “I just want to do well….” God help me to stay pure and seek only what God wants always. God Bless you!

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