Do You Want to Be an Overnight Sensation?


Even though it is hard when other people seem to achieve success overnight, as Christians we have to remember that the story is not about me or you; it is about Jesus Christ.

Are you surrounded by overnight sensations while you seem to be going nowhere? If so, this post is for you.

I’m no overnight sensation. In fact, I sometimes really dislike people who are.

I know they claim it took lots of effort and hard work to get where they did, but we all know that somehow their tipping point came just a little sooner, a little steeper, and a little flashier than the rest of ours.

Take this guy, Jon, for instance. He started a blog on a whim and eight posts later 4,000 people showed up to his site.

I know what the correct Christian things to say are, and I try to say them out loud. I mumble: “Praise God, I’m so happy for you,” or “It’s such a blessing to know that God blessed you this way. Be blessed and bless others in return.”

But the truth is, I’m too busy battling the green-headed monster making its way up my neck to worry about saying the “right things” with the right smile on my face.

Overnight sensations are a hindrance to my Christian walk. And they seem to be all over the place. There’s the girl who met Mr. Perfect on eHarmony the first day she signed on while I’m still muddling through my list of guys who live in Singapore. There’s the guy who signed up for Twitter and passed 10,000 followers while I was still trying to figure out how to word a smart thought in 140 characters or less.

You’re probably tempted to think I’m calling the kettle black. My life looks glamorous from your point of view. Maybe you’re thinking I’m your overnight sensation. Let me adjust your sight a little bit. I do things the hard way. College wasn’t enough torture, so I went to four more years of school, another six for my training, and another two for good luck. And I still put in years of overnight shifts to try to be the best doctor I could be.

I felt called to ministry over ten years ago. I started out teaching a class of five elderly women. Just when things started looking good with double-digit attendance, I moved up to Chicago and had to start all over again.

There are no overnight sensations in my gene pool—simply lots of hard work and a word that I still can’t seem to swallow without some severe heartburn: waiting.

As my mind wanders to the Scriptures, I realize that I’m actually in pretty good company. There aren’t many overnight sensations in God’s story. Abraham spent a lifetime waiting for his boy Isaac. Moses waited forty years in the wilderness for the burning bush experience. Joseph was in prison for a few years longer than he should have been. And David knew the inside of a cave pretty well for a guy who’d already been anointed as king.

The thing about the Christian life is that there is only one sensational thing to consider: Jesus Christ, Son of God born in the flesh, who died for our sin to give us life eternal and freedom from sin and shame. The story is not about me and it’s not about you. It’s about Someone far greater, gentler, wiser, and mightier. 

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