I took one for the team gentlemen. Hugh Jackman’s world tour came through Indianapolis this weekend, and I decided that taking my wife of 24 years to see this handsome triple-threat heartthrob was a great anniversary gift. She seemed to agree.
It was 2 1/2 hours of The Greatest Showman soundtrack and other schmaltzy show tunes oddly mixed with random video clips from the Wolverine movie franchise. I hate to admit this publicly, but I enjoyed it. He had me at the Les Mis medley.
The Underdog Story
Just before intermission, he told the unlikely story of underdog Keala Settle. An unknown singer and actress before being cast as the bearded lady in The Greatest Showman, Keala was originally hired to workshop the newly written song “This is Me” for the studio execs. Her jaw-dropping performance won her the part. The video has over 40,000,000 views on YouTube.
To wild applause, Hugh introduced Keala to the Indianapolis crowd. She didn’t disappoint, reprising the song that made her a household name. As I listened to a stadium full of voices belt out every lyric with her, I couldn’t help but feel the emotion in the song myself. There is something visceral and empowering in it:
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, THIS IS ME!
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, THIS IS ME!
True and False
My heart resonates with the deep longing in these lyrics. While there’s something truly inspiring here, there is also something self-justifying that we can’t ignore. But before I dismiss it as another anthem of our self-obsessed, postmodern, Western culture, I want to stop and validate the underlying emotion that we all resonate with.
We all want to be known completely, seen fully, and loved deeply.
This isn’t weird, abnormal, or wrong, it’s part of our original design. We were made to know and be known.
But mankind’s rebellion messed it all up. Sin has marred our image and the resulting shame drives us to cover up. It’s been this way since Genesis 3. It impacts everyone and everything. All of creation is under this curse, longing to be redeemed, longing to be resurrected and made whole, longing to once again to fully know and be known. This is the instinctive desire that “This is Me” connects with so powerfully.
But the solution to our dilemma is not to dig down deep, root our identity in our broken image, and courageously declare it to the world. We need our sin removed. We need our rebellion paid for. We need to be resurrected.
Thank God for Jesus.
Next time you belt out the refrain of this contagious song, remind yourself that it’s tapping into something God-given. But before you go around showing yourself to the world, make sure you know who you really are.
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat – I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.” (Luke 9:23-24 MSG).
In Christ, you can be seen and known and loved for who you really are, and that unmerited grace will transform you into “who you’re meant to be.” Then you can boldly declare to the world, “This is me, resurrected!”