Audience of One

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Why is approval so important?

Those who keep score in life want to know that they count. But when you work for an audience of one you always know that you count.
Rebecka Lyons

“Is the approval of others important to me?”
I assure myself it’s not.
That I don’t want the compliments, affirmation of others.
But is that really true?

In “An Audience of One”, Rebecka Lyons shares,
“One fall morning three years ago I wrote in my journal,
“God I sense you want to set a lot of captives free.”
I saw people standing in metaphorical jail cells the doors are open there were no locks, no key.
Yet the people inside were clinging to the bars- desperately afraid to come out- because captivity was all they had ever known.
I knew that here and now God wanted to set the captives free and as I readied myself in this revelation for the role of the cheerleader, God interrupted my plans and said
“Hey Rebecca how about we start with you?”
Three weeks later after I read these words in a Facebook post by my friend Ann Boskamp
Those who keep score in life want to know that they count. But when you work for an audience of one you always know that you count.
Wait a minute was that me?
The one keeping score?

I can identify with the feelings of insecurity Rebecca goes on to describe.
Second-guessing myself after teaching a men’s bible study, keeping score of the likes on my Facebook posts, hits on my blog.
When the numbers are good I’m up when they aren’t, I’m down.
Was it good enough, did it measure up, why not?
It’s like Junior High all over again.
My writing, my teaching is focused on encouraging, offering hope to those who are discouraged, struggling, in difficult situations.
I know my gifts, I know my calling but here’s the thing.
I can operate in those gifts, go forward with the calling, but still not be free to live what I encourage others to embrace.
And if I’m not careful I will fall into competing, comparing, copying and eventually burn out.
Because when I allow those things to drive my desire for approval it will never be enough.
And I have to face the fact that I am more desperate for approval then I realize. That is a humiliating truth I must be willing to admit and then be willing to ask, “God do I matter to you?”

This morning I went for my yearly doctor’s visit. The nurse whom I have gotten to know over the years, did the usual medical procedures, and then began to tell me how she prayed for me, that I often came across her mind.
As I listened, she began to speak to situations in my life that I had not shared with her, that she could not have known about.
As I listened I could hear God clearly say
“Yes Cliff you do matter to me.”
You matter enough that my servant who stands in front of you is taking time out of her busy and hectic day to speak things to you I want you to know.”
All of the approval I could ever seek and desire from other people will never be enough.
It will never compare to knowing that I matter to an audience of One, God who created me. God who during an ordinary doctors visit, took extraordinary steps to let me know “yes you do matter to me.”
We live in a time when people are desperate for approval.
We want to know we matter.
We have bought the lie that even though we are God’s creation, we’re not good enough, that at the end of it all we really don’t matter.
I don’t know where you are today.
I don’t know what it might be you are struggling with.
Maybe you have listened to the lies and in a desperate quest for approval always come up short. Maybe you’ve been hurt by those who matter most to you. Maybe even in your success the desire for approval overshadows everything you have accomplished.
Know this.
There is an audience of One who is your biggest fan.
The One who loves and cares for you more than you could ever imagine.
The One to whom you matter so much that He came and died in your place, for your sins.
Today He is saying,
“Yes you matter to me.”
And when all is said and done that audience of One is enough.

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