Audience of One
“Growing up I LOVED performing. There was a time in my life when I was in three choirs, multiple plays, and acting classes all at the same time. I lived for the rush of being on stage with “all eyes on me”. There was nothing better than working so hard on a role, then receiving a standing ovation, flowers, and endless compliments after the show.
Unfortunately, I have watched that same motivation seep into countless other areas of my life. I have spent my whole life trying to perform. Hoping that “A” would get me “B”.
- A) Perform well academically. B) Make my parents proud.
- A) Perform to “fit in”. B) Gain social acceptance among my peers.
Even, A) Perform well spiritually. B) Feel accepted in the church. (Ouch)
After seeking the Lord, praying with others, and going through much inner healing, it was evident I performed out of a deep root of rejection. I grew up feeling so rejected by countless people in my life, so my external way of asking “Hey guys, am I ok the way I am? What do you think? Do you accept me?” This translated to living my life to impress others.
The thing I have noticed about living for others’ praise and acceptance is that it is simply exhausting. Not only that, but it is fleeting and flimsy.
There is a song by Rend Collective that goes “I don’t want riches or man’s empty praise,” and that’s just what the praise of man is at the end of the day: empty. The truth is an overload of compliments and “well dones” may hold you over for a week, but eventually you will find yourself in the same position of your “acceptance tank” being on E. Thus, you will seek for even more attention, and when you don’t get it, you will find yourself questioning your value and worth.
One of the best decisions I ever made was starting to live for the approval of one person: the Lord. But when I asked myself “How can I perform well for Him?” I found an interesting answer.
He doesn’t want me to.
He doesn’t have a tally sheet up in heaven of the number of prayers I have prayed, the number of times a week I go to the orphanage, or number of failures I have had this month. I can’t work harder to gain His acceptance because He accepts me outside of what I do; He truly loves me for who I am.
I can’t “do more” for Him. However, I can do everything UNTO, before Him, and to glorify Him. There was a shift when I stopped living for the glory of myself, and started living for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) and it changed. my. life.
When I look up to heaven I feel a grin from God, because even in my imperfections, I know He knows I am doing all I do to MAKE HIS NAME KNOWN. He is a proud Father, who is pleased with me in both my success and failure (which sure does takes the pressure off)! When I start to feel anxiety about “how well I am doing”, it’s a red flag for me that I am starting to perform again… and I’m learning to KICK that habit fast because:
I do not perform for the praise of man, but live for an audience of one.”
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:23)