Whitney Houston’s amazing vocal gift has gone silent. It was discovered and grown inside her church where she also found Christ, her savior. Now, as the pundits gather like vultures to pick apart what lead to her undoing, theirs will be so many wasted vowels and consonants, as the unraveling of Whitney’s life is no great mystery.
Whitney knew Christ. But, she didn’t know, or she forgot who she was IN Christ.
Kevin Costner, her co-star in the movie that promoted her to stardom, “The Bodyguard” hinted eloquently and lovingly to this during her funeral, as he talked about how Whitney struggled with feeling good about herself.
He told the story of when he asked her to try out for the role “Rachel Marron” in the 1992 movie. Whitney thought of a hundred reasons why she wasn’t qualified, but Costner convinced her to come in for a screen test anyway. When they started rolling the film, however, after just a few minutes, he stopped the test, and turned off the lights. He asked Whitney to go back to the prep room with him.
“What did I do wrong?” she cried. “Was it that bad?”
Rather than answering her, he slowly turned her around so she could see herself in the mirror. When she did, she saw that all her make-up had melted and was running down her face.
Costner explained that Whitney had not been comfortable that the make-up that had been applied to her face for the screen test was sufficient. So she had taken it off and put on her concert performance make-up because it was thicker and more glamorous. She had been afraid she didn’t look pretty enough in the other make-up. Of course, she didn’t know that the lights used in movie sets were that much warmer than performance lighting. Said Costner:
“Whitney always wondered, ‘Am I good enough?” ‘Am I pretty enough?’ Will they like me?’ It was the burden that made her great and the part that caused her to stumble in the end."
“Whitney, if you could hear me now… You weren’t just good enough, you were great. You sang the whole damn song without a band. You weren’t just pretty; you were as beautiful as a woman could be. People didn’t just like you, they loved you.”
Yes, Whitney was good enough, pretty enough, and everyone fell in love with her. After “The Bodyguard” was released, thousands of young women wanted to look and sing just like her. And Whitney was just about to star in a new movie, “Sparkle”--a comeback seemed to be on the horizon for her.
But it didn’t matter. Because Whitney suffered so deeply, that nothing, and no one, could fill it. Only when we know who we are IN Christ can we be filled up.
It’s not just a burden of the famous. It is a burden of us all. John Piper, an author whom I turn to for my personal bible study, says that one of the reasons we don’t know who we are in Christ is that our thirst for God is so small.
He nails it on the head. You and Whitney, and I…we who are Christians*, have a choice when our suffering is so deep that it wants to define us. Whether it is physical, mental or emotional suffering, we have a choice. We can EITHER medicate the pain, look for answers in self-help programs, turn on Dr. Phil, talk and talk and talk about it, give up entirely. OR we can decide this is the time to figure out who we are IN Christ and live like a dying-of-thirst person whose only drink is God..
· We are God’s children. (John 1:12)
· We have been justified. (Romans 5:1)
· We belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20)
· We are assured that everything happens for a reason. (Romans 8:28)
· We have been established, anointed and sealed by God. (2 Corinthians 1: 21-22)
· We are confident of Heaven (Philippians 3:20)
· We are born of God and the evil one cannot touch us. (1 John 5:18)
· We were chosen before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4; 11)
· We are forgiven (Ephesians 1:9; Colossians 1:14)
· We have a purpose (Ephesians 1:12)
· We can overcome a spirit of fear, and own one of power, love and discipline
. (2 Timothy 1:7)
. (2 Timothy 1:7)
· We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13)
I am writing this blog for myself as much as for anyone else. I need to remember who I am IN Christ regularly. I must remember that am NOT defined by my pain; by my limitations of energy, short-term memory, or my inability to do things I used to do. Instead, I am defined by who I am IN Christ.
Blessings and prayers for all of you, and to Whitney’s family and friends.
P.S. Confused or apathetic about this whole "Christian" thing? Maybe some of my posts will shed new light for you. Check out posts under the following labels: “My faith”, “salvation”, “Light of Jesus”