“Those who keep score in life just want to know that they count. When you work for an audience of One, you always know that you count.” – Ann Voskamp
Humbling words for the striver in each of us. Is the audience of the One enough?
My spiritual answer is, “Yes!” but honesty pulls its weight on my heart and more times than I care to say the answer is, “No!” I want it to be yes all the time, that would be much easier. The opinions of this world can be crushing, I want to turn a blind eye to them, I want to escape from the scutiny, I want to be free to dance in my corner and not care what onlookers think, but most days I am not that free.
It’s brutal out there. People can be unkind, insensitive, thoughtless. In some cases it may be from a place of hate and detesting, which is more about them than the person they are criticizing, but I think most of the time it is from a place of not thinking. People don’t stop and think how important their opinion, their judgement, can be to a weary, parched soul. And without care or thought they push their opinions on another, which again is more about them than the person they share it with.
Everything we think or say about another is a reflection of our own souls.
How bitter is she? Listen to all the negativity she spews about others.
How disapponted is he? Notice how he never shows up.
How much does she hate herself? Watch how she looks others up and down.
How critical is she of herself? Listen to her opinion about you.
That’s a bitter pill to swallow as you turn the spotlight in and take your inventory. Each person, each situation we find ourselves in has a lesson to teach us about ourselves. You may think it is about another but it’s not, it’s about you and how God is using each moment to draw out of us the dross so that He might sluff it off and refine us.
Provebs 25:4 Purge the dross from the silver, and material for a vessel comes forth for the silversmith.
Silencing this world’s voices can be difficult. We want their approval, affirmation, attention. I wish I didn’t but I struggle.
I post the blog and watch for how many likes.
I give a speech and wait for the praise.
I write a book and anticipate the sales.
This past year has been a heart-wrenching year of laying down my expectations.
My expectations about what people think about me, my products, my ministry. My expectations of what I thought others should do. My expectations about holding people to their word, the promises they made and didn’t keep and letting it all go. My expectations about others seeing me as good enough, as smart enough, as credible enough, as trained enough, as simply, enough!
Laying down expectations – well there has not been much laying it down to be perfectly honest, it has been more like ripping it out of my hands. And it has NOT been a graceful process. I have kicked and screamed, laid on the floor in full out tantrum wanting my way. I have held on tightly. I have named it many things – the right thing to do, integrity, kindness reciprocated but in the end, when I turn the spotlight in it has been about my heart and the hidden things within that keep me looking more like Christ. I hate that! I hate that at the end of the day it always about me, but who else for God’s sake would it be about?!?!
In laying down my expectations, God has guarded my heart from criticism and compliment. I have been thankful to be guarded from other’s criticism for the most part. He knows my sensitive heart couldn’t handle it but I didn’t know that under that umbrella of protection He would keep me from compliment too. Critcism and compliment are sisters that can feed the same monster.
Pride has two faces – she can be boastful and all that or she can be diminishing and have us skirting the world with our tail between our legs. Both aspects of her are focused on the me, they keep the me looking at the me, thinking about the me, lost in the me. Criticism can diminish, compliment can boast, both threaten to make us a prideful.
So, I have been so thankful for God’s hand of protection over my heart to guard me from the criticism of others’ opinions but not hearing the compliments has, well quite franktly, sucked some days. I like the “atta girls” this world can offer and sometimes I feel like I need them to get through, my flesh craves them!
And then I hear Him whisper, “Is my audience not enough?”
The audience of One!
Lord, make my heart content to do my dance on this planet soley for you!
I heard this message from a podcast of the Introvert Entrepeneur on a day I was so heartsick after a speakng engagement that I felt like I bombed. She encouraged -after the speech is spoken, the book is written, the message is delivered, the event is over – after it is finished – the question to ask is NOT “How did I do?” the question to ask is “What happened after?”
So with my head under the covers, depressed and feeling like a failure I asked, “Ok God what happened after?” And He brought to mind one sweet lady that came up to me at the end of the ladies conference. She was in a marriage with a man who was uninterested in spiritual growth and she felt like spiritually she was dying. She came up to me and asked, “How do I get that kind of relationship like you have with God?”
Such a sweet and validating question. She experienced me with Him and wanted that! She was the one He sent and He reminded me of her. If for no one else that evening I offered her hope that she could have a similar relationship with an intimate, personal God.
I used to ask “How did I do?” and to be quite honest I still ask that question far too often but I am working to change it and instead ask “What happened after?” It’s a much better question. It takes the focus off of me and puts it back on God because I am committed that the audience of THE ONE is enough.