Want It That Way?

As part of Catholic Schools Week, the grade school that our ten-year-old grandson James attends had a Talent Show. The gym was full of teachers, grandparents, fellow students, and parents. The teachers were ready for anything, the grandparents were beaming with pride, the students were giggly with anticipation, and the parents, especially those whose children had signed up to perform, were white knuckling their phone cameras quietly praying their child didn’t blank out on words to their song, the steps to their dance, or the magic in their magic trick.

Funny how the parents seemed more nervous than the kids.

James and his buddy, Sam, had decided to sing the Backstreet Boys song “I Want It That Way.” Dressed all in black with sunglasses and stocking hats to add to the overall “too cool for school” look, they hit the stage full of confidence even when the sound system failed them and they had to sing the whole song acapella. That is, James sang the song, Sam chimed in on the chorus on a microphone that wasn’t on. So basically, it was James singing, alone with no accompaniment, in front of a gym full of onlookers, including his classmates.

Recipe for disaster? Could have been, but instead, it was sheer delight. Before long the student section was singing along and waving their arms in the air. (As were his mom and grandma.) I half expected to see phones with flashlights on, waving in the air for an encore.

What amazed me even more than the fact that James really can sing, was the bravery of those two boys. That took a lot of courage to put themselves in such a vulnerable position in front of their peers. To rise above the technology challenges. To not factor in the possible criticism or embarrassment and just do what they were there to do. Out of their bravery and confidence came good.

What do you need courage for today? Where do you need to be brave and just do what you are there to do? Is there a hard conversation that needs to be initiated? A life changing decision? A prompting outside your comfort zone that you know you need to answer?

I have been watching the video series “The Chosen” recently. It has reminded me of just how much courage and bravery the followers of Jesus had as they set out to establish the early church. Talk about life changing decisions and moving outside your comfort zone. But Jesus promised to give them all that they needed to do the job at hand, the gifts they needed to accomplish their mission and the bravery. All this was provided by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

That same indwelling Holy Spirit is available to us every day. That’s a promise from Jesus. We just need to believe it and call on that power that lies waiting. Jesus made sure we didn’t have to deal with life’s challenges on our own. And boy am I glad.

I want it that way.

Don’t you?


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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