Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Consider the audience

Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. (Psalm 51:17 MSG)

I will be the first to admit there are days when I am merely going through the motions. Something deep inside of me just isn't all that excited about doing whatever it is I am doing. I don't quite see the thing ahead of me with any real sense of passion. While these days are not frequent, they can really bog me down when I allow them to influence me for very long. Going through the motions is nothing more than putting on a performance. You feel one way, but are doing something entirely contrary to the way you truthfully feel. Why do we do this? I think it may be it is easier to just go along for the ride than it is to step up, take ownership for how we feel, and allow ourselves to really face the day without masks. A flawless performance - many of us know very well how to give these. Few of us will actually ever step beyond the performance, but when we do, we find a liberty and a peace that transcends whatever bit of pride we are hiding behind!

To 'perform' one needs an audience. Real or perceived, the 'audiences' in our lives frequently dictate the 'performance' we render. There are times we consider only the audience we can see, discounting those who look on that we don't really think are observing our 'performance'. As a parent, I quickly found out more was 'observed' than I thought. The things modeled in the behavior of one of my children oftentimes revealed to me they had been observing my 'performance' much closer than I ever dreamed! Their choice of actions or words were a direct comparison to my own. Now, if this is me sitting quietly reading with a leg crossed over the other and the child imitates that exact pose and takes up his/her own reading book, I might find it delightful. If that child imitates my 'less than stellar moment' when I lost control of my emotions and let my anger fly, I am not as 'flattered' by that 'performance'.

One thing I learned in theater - you must consider the audience before you. You must know how much to project your words so you will be heard. You have to 'read' their connection with you so you can vary your actions and your topic ever so slightly to keep them engaged. The need to 'perform' varies depending on the audience. I am so grateful for those in my life that don't need to see a performance from me. The ones I can get totally 'real' with are perhaps most inclined to actually extend grace in my life where I need it most, but they are also not willing to let me 'perform' to the audience. They want reality through and through. While this may be challenging, they keep me grounded and honest. There is nothing wrong with that! In fact, the more honest I am with them, the more honest I discover I am being with others. While I may be tempted to 'perform', they hold me accountable to just being th real me. Not a bad thing considering it is the real me that Jesus wants to come through anyway. Just sayin!