On Anonymity and TGCW16

I recently returned from The Gospel Coalition Women’s conference, which again did not disappoint. Melissa Kruger helpfully provides some questions to think through as many women (7200 to be exact) are settling back into the routine of life, but still trying to process all they learned in those packed three days.

John Piper’s closing message from 1 Peter 5 particularly struck me, especially his repeated emphasis on serving God in anonymity. I’m no historian, but I wonder if there has ever been a time where a longing for significance and fame has been so present for all of us. We are all one camera click away from fame, glory, and recognition. Who hasn’t posted a picture on Instagram only to check the notifcations every hour—Do they like me? Was it cute enough? Was my caption clever? And what about in the Christian writing and speaking world, a world I am newly learning how to navigate—Did I get a good review? Will they ask me to speak again? What if my pitch is rejected? What if no one shares it? Will I be invited to that group?

Even if you aren’t a writer, anonymity is rarely our first choice. As much as I pray for humility, pray for contentment where God has me, pray for joy in the task that is before me, and pray for faithfulness in the ordinary, I confess—I don’t love anonymity. I want to be known. I want to be heard. And since I’m on an honesty streak here, I want to be praised.

But this is not the way of Christ, who though he was God did not count fame and earthly glory a thing to be grasped (Phil. 2:6). This Christ, who for the joy set before him endured shame, not praise (Heb. 12:2). This Christ, who made himself a servant to serve us (Phil. 2:7). It’s so counter to our natural human bent for glory, yet it’s so right. It’s not that he didn’t want glory (he deserved it). It’s that he knew the proper time and place for that glory, and his first coming to earth was not it.

I want to know my place in this world.

But even more than that I want to be content with my place in this world.

Psalm 84:10, says “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” It’s a verse that’s been racing through my mind all week. Do you know what a doorkeeper was? Charles Spurgeon says this about the doorkeeper:

The lowest station in connection with the Lord's house is better than the highest position among the godless. Only to wait at his threshold and peep within, so as to see Jesus, is bliss.

Here the psalmist longs for the ordinary if it means getting God. He longs for anonymity if it means rejecting wickedness to gain eternal glory. This is where I want to land—in humble service to my God. I’d rather spend my days in quiet, faithfulness, if I get God in the end. I’d rather no one retweet my posts, if it means I dwell in God’s presence. I’d rather never be invited to speak again, if it means God is my prize at the end of my days. I'd rather never write another book, if it means God is the center of my life.

That’s a hard place to get to for a glory seeker like me. And I’m not sure I’m always there fully, but I want to be. If anything else, the Lord knew I needed that message on Saturday morning, and I’m praying for a heart of contentment in anonymity, knowing that in the Lord there isn’t a single, ordinary thing I do that is ever in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).