Friday, February 01, 2013

Audience of One

A few months ago I was going through a bout of significantly more insecurity than usual. It was unsettling and I did NOT like the implications it was having my life. I wrote a bit about it at that time, but as I have continued to pray and ask God to rescue me from it, He has revealed additional layers of heart issues that I feel led to record lest I forget.

Not usually one to spend much time concerning myself with the judgment of others, my thought life was invaded by insidious insecurity. I became consumed by recurring thoughts of "What would ___ think?"

When posting to the blog/facebook, when speaking in a group, when interacting in a social setting I found myself searching for any sign of approval or disapproval from a person or two in particular. I confess that FAR too much mental and emotional space was being devoted to figuring out another person's opinion of me. (That frankly, I could only guess at anyway!)

Making this realization was cringe-inducing,
confessing it to my husband and most trusted friends was humiliating,
working through it was harder than I thought.

I don't want to be the most beautiful, most popular or most anything really. I just want to be understood. Isn't it the cry of the human heart? I don't want to compromise my core. I want to be real--and liked. The hardest part of living authentically, is that when invariably my personality doesn't jive with someone else's, it is the real me that gets rejected.

One night in the throes of imagining my life on a stage and those I perceived as not liking me heckling from the audience, God spoke straight to my heart. This is the problem, Jennifer. You should only have an audience of One. I am not a critic. I am your creator. I love you. 

I realized that the blank in my "What would ___ think?" had been misguided the moment I made it multiple choice. The phrase should always, only be: What do you think, Lord?

Two specific passages of Scripture came to mind about what He thinks my life should be about:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NIV

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:28-31

And there you have it. The world's standards change constantly. My Father's stay the same. I made myself a card and placed it on my desk for when those taunting thoughts start trying to creep in.
I wish it were a one time battle, but on a daily basis I find myself pausing to pull people out of my imaginary audience and reimagine the theater as empty but for one seat.
And He isn't looking for a performance. He simply invites me to relationship.


phillips phamily mama said...

Beautiful post, JMom!

The Burgess Family said...

I needed to read this words at this very moment. I have been struggling with this very issue so much. God spoke to me through your words. Thank you for being the messenger for me today.

Unknown said...

Really what I needed...reminds me of the Max Lucado children's book, You Are Special.

The Niemeyer Nest said...

I am struggling with this too! Thanks for sharing.

Kari said...

Love it. Thanks JMom.

Melanie said...

I have been reading your blog for several years. I am always amazed at your insight and ability to capture in words what God is teaching you. This post spoke directly to my heart. Thank you for putting into words a struggle that I battle with as well. Thank you for allowing God to use you to encourage others!

Margaret Feinberg said...

Love the scripture you shared!