The last week in June isn’t that significant for most people other than it being the week before the 4th of July, but for me it floods my mind with the memories of being crowned Miss South Carolina on a road to a dream that was placed in my heart at age 9. The age I gave my life to Christ. Over the years the pageant date has fluctuated between the last week of June and the first week of July. Regardless, this time of year always makes me reflect, rejoice, and respond.
I reflect on the fact that way back then God was orchestrating the steps and plans for my life. I came up “SHORT” (lol) not just by being 5’ 2” and the shortest girl in the pageant, but also by being first runner up to Miss America. Initially, on live TV, it was a tie but I ended up getting the “short straw” and was named first runner up. Today, I can still remember the disappointment and hurt….and being at a loss as to “What’s next?”
I had not let myself think of the “What if” of not winning. I was ALL IN and that meant mentally too….so to say I had to “regroup” is an understatement. But in God’s faithfulness…I did regroup.
I don’t ever think of the “would of, could of, should of” because I had the Holy Spirit and a very close walk with the Lord, plus great mentors who encouraged me to leave no stone unturned in my preparation. Thankfully I took their advice and I was “ALL IN on steroids” so to speak. When Coach Swinney came up with the slogan “All IN,” I absolutely loved it…because at age 23 I had lived and been mentored on what it meant to be All In! So I live with no regrets or But Whys.
I can rejoice in knowing that He is still fulfilling Ephesians 2:10 in my life…with or without the title and crown of Miss America. In fact, in the year that I was first runner up, I am told I made as many appearances as Miss America did that year. Maybe I didn’t make as much money but in some ways I was given the same exposure and was free to share Christ and my personal testimony.
Today, 31 years later, I am mostly remembered for my talent, clogging. That is a good thing. I rejoice that it was the talent portion which set me apart since most newspaper articles said that I was “hidden in a swarm of taller contestants.” So true! I can remember being in the line up and looking to my left and to my right and having to look up in both directions to see the taller girls. LOL…
Point of post: always remember, if God is in it…it does’t matter how tall, how pretty, how smart, how rich…the only thing that matters is your heart, motives and your effort…the rest is up to HIM!
When living a surrendered life to Christ, the possibilities are endless. Surrendering our will to His. If you have dreams or desires, filter them through the hands of God.
Ask Him with an open hand and heart…Do you have this for me? Or, is this my flesh…my own desire?
HE will be faithful to show you. He will not hold back.
And even when He calls you to do something, it doesn’t mean the ultimate “win” is in your future. It means you are tracking on HIS PLAN FOR YOU. The specific purpose for which He created you. For me, as an up close example, I didn’t win the “super bowl” of pageants…but the path that led me to the “loss” was God’s path and has been used literally thousands of times in my life now for God’s glory and to further the “call” He has placed on my life. He doesn’t waste a thing and He never says, “oops!”
I respond today…by giving back to the Miss South Carolina Pageant…with my time and my resources and I also continue to write about the most important thing in my life…my relationship with Jesus and how you can have a personal relationship with Him as well. If you ask Him into your heart…then you “surrender your will to HIS.” He can accomplish significant things in your life and use you to accomplish significant things in the lives of others.
We don’t often think of losses as true wins but Jesus tells us the following in Matthew 16:24-26:
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?'”
Whoever loses his life, will find it when that life is placed in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Don’t wait any longer to be be “ALL IN”.