For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about Joseph. You know, the one in the Bible. The boy with his head in the clouds. The one who always thought that he was meant for more than just a provincial life. (cue Beauty and the Beast soundtrack) His family thought he was being ridiculous. His neighbours probably blamed his parents for letting his imagination run wild. His brothers thought he was too prideful. But he just knew that he was meant for something more. That his life had a bigger purpose than the one he was presently pursuing. He probably even felt lonely because no one would believe him when he talked about his dreams. He was made fun of, and ostracized. And then, following a tragic set of events, he gets to be in charge of Potiphar’s household. That’s an important position. Surely, he must have thought, this must be it. This must be what his dreams were all about. He must have felt on top of the world and felt like he was living his dream. A head of the household was an incredibly important job. He was respected and held with high regard. Things he had never experienced all his life. And surely, he must have thought, this is my dream coming true at last.
Then tragedy struck again and he was thrown out of there and into prison. One can only imagine the devastation he must have felt. To be riding the highs of life, only to be thrown off into the pit (again). He must have questioned everything. Even the purpose of his existence. Whether he was just a pawn in God’s hands. Whether his life was a cosmic joke. All the what ifs flooding his mind. What if he had never had those dreams, he would have been content with his life with his family. What if his brothers hadn’t sold him off, he wouldn’t have been at Potiphar’s house. What if he misinterpreted the dreams? What if … Questions probably flooded his mind, yet no answers came. Is this what his life is supposed to look like now? Living in prison, trying to push his dreams to the back of his mind. Focusing on the present and trying to make the best of it. And before he knew it, he was given a good position even in prison. You could say, he was a natural leader. Through all of the things life threw at him, and through all the questions he had, he kept being the person God had moulded him to be. Maybe he kept waiting in hope that his dreams will finally come true. Maybe there was a crazy thought that his time at Potiphar’s house may not have been his dream coming true, but that something far better awaits him.
And then it happened. He was just being himself when he counted on God for the interpretation, except this time it was for the Pharaoh. And just like that, he was made in charge of not just a household, or an estate. A whole frikkin country! Absolutely insane. I can only imagine him sitting in his place of importance and taking a moment to take it all in, as his journey flashes before his eyes and finally all his struggles and pits start to make sense. And he finally understands what his dreams were about.
Imagine if Joseph was appointed as head of Egypt, as soon as he had the dream. Then there would have been just a line about him in the Bible. But his struggle made his story unique (and gave him about 10 chapters in Genesis). I’ve constantly heard that no one meant for great things, has had the easy way. And stories of people like Joseph affirms this statement.
Have you ever felt that you’re meant for more? That something great came along, and then it wasn’t yours anymore? Have you lost your dream in the struggles of life? You are not alone in this. The story of Joseph reminds us to keep going, and to keep being who you have been called to be. And if what you thought was your dream has been taken away, it only means that it was meant to prepare you for something greater. And if there is a voice inside you telling you that you’re meant for more, believe it. Because you are meant for more.
So I started to watch The Crown on Netflix and may I just say how much I love British drama? Like, seriously, they have such a posh and polished way of snubbing people, its awesome! And so much of it made more sense to me now that I have a little bit of knowledge about Church History, thanks to Matt Lowe’s class last year.
But what I love most about shows like The Crown and Downton Abbey, is the reverence and respect that is expressed toward people of a higher standing and authority. No one has to tell the people to respect the Queen or Mr. Crawley. It is an unsaid understanding. The authority they have seems like an aura around them and everyone else simply bows to it. No questions asked. It has always baffled me. But then, I look around me and see that my Indian culture has pretty much taught me the same thing. Respect your elders and people with authority. This voice in my head tells me that I can never say some things in front of people with authority or take a certain tone with them. It has been drilled into my personality.
Then I think about Jesus and how, despite his appearance or his clothes or even his background, He has so many followers. You could say He was just a natural leader. But He was more than that. He had an aura of authority around Him and only the people that cared enough to pay close attention felt it and bowed down to it. To a random passerby, He may have seemed like merely a good public speaker. But if they paid attention, His speeches showed authority and commanded respect and reverence. He didn’t have to wear an actual crown or preside over an estate to prove His authority. He was a mere baby, when He was first recognised as the promised Messiah. He was twelve when he baffled religious teachers. So even before the heavens declared He was different, after His baptism, even before His first miracle, people had started to see there was something worth respecting about Him. Even if it wasn’t everyone.
It is this Crown that we are called to worship and revere. A Crown that stoops down to us in love and doesn’t keep us at a distance because of His authority, but that His love outweighs all else, even our faults. A Crown that aims to serve rather than be served. A Crown that gives peace and not fear. A Crown that is personal and life-saving. A Crown that is all-powerful yet ever-gentle. A Crown that is relentless in pursuit of your trust. A Crown that is accessible to all. The greatest Crown of all.
A major part of my life was spent building walls and trying to protect myself. So I am no stranger when it comes to not allowing myself to be vulnerable. However, in the past couple of years, with the help of a few select wonderful people, these walls have come down brick by brick. It was a slow and difficult process but now I am in a state where I can genuinely appreciate the value of being vulnerable and be trusting toward people. All it takes is a bunch of encouraging people who value you and teach you to value yourself. As famously said, no man is an island. Or maybe it is just a Tenth Avenue North song. Either way, no man or woman can survive by themselves. We need people and people need us. To support, encourage, strengthen and to grow individually.
I’ve learned that not everyone judges you for what you’re going through and what you have been through. Not everyone forms their opinion of you based on your low moments. Not everyone thinks you’re weak because of what you say in the darkest of times. And not everyone belittles what is going on in your life. Key phrase? Not everyone.
So leave behind the memory of those who hurt you. And look around at what life is offering you today. The people who love you, for you. Give yourself a chance to open up, and take a risk with your heart. Who knows, maybe your vulnerability will inspire someone and you’ll have made a close friend. Maybe, in trusting them, you’ll be able to accept your true self – warts and all. That, in turn, will make it easier for you to accept those around you. And so will continue the spread of the feelings of trust and acceptance. And it all starts with you. Yes. You.