Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, Anastasia rolled out of bed to the incessant noise of her alarm clock. It’s time to begin another day. Before she leaves the room she must pick out the just the right clothes, check (and double-check) her hair, and get her make-up just right. Her costume is now complete.
She grabs her backpack, ready to head off to her 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 2:45 p.m. performances. Does she know lines? Did she practice enough? What will her professors, fellow students and that cute freshman guy who notices her across the quad think?
She comes back to the room after her classes exhausted. Time to check Facebook, Blackboard, and email. Does anyone care enough to tell her something personally, or is it just her friends’ self-absorbed picture posts and the usual institutional announcements today? Have any of her professors posted grades? Are they good enough?
After frantically working on homework for a few hours, she calls her family. She’s worked so hard this week on school. Will they be proud of her? Do they miss her as much as she misses them? Has anyone asked about her this week back home?
That night she lay in bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to go to sleep. She’s worked so hard and done so much today. Will it be good enough?
Many of us will recognize ourselves in Anastasia’s story. We try so hard to do our best and please everyone. It is impossible… but we try anyway.
Ok, I might not feel like every class and every assignment is a performance. I may not completely rely solely on grades and professor comments to increase my personal confidence and affirmation level, but they help, right? And no matter how much I love them, I can’t always rely on my family for my daily dose of approval and acceptance. My friends are awesome, but they certainly can’t unconditionally love me.
So, if I can’t rely on my audience members—my peers, professors, family, and friends—to unconditionally accept me and help me feel successful, what can I do?
It all comes down to the most important Man in the audience. In fact, God should be the only one in the audience we really care about.
The rest of the people are just spectators.
He is the Designer, Manager, Artist, Director, the Author and the Perfector. He is the only one we should care about, and God cares unconditionally about us. He is the Audience of One.
Os Guinness, author of “Rising to the Call” wrote, “A life lived listening to the decisive call of God is a life lived before one audience that trumps all others—the Audience of One.” And later, he also said, “We who live before the Audience of One can say to the world: “I have only one audience. Before you I have nothing to prove, nothing to gain, nothing to lose.”
I don’t have all the answers. But I know it starts with asking some difficult questions: Am I willing to seek to please and only to please my Audience of One? Can I let the spectators sink into the background and let it be just God and me in the spotlight of my life? What is it going to take to trust God so much that I can completely rely on him, to say to the world that I have nothing to prove, nothing to gain, and nothing to lose