Engage

An Audience of one

Do you ever feel like you’re performing for others? Like the script of your life isn’t what you want to write, but it’s what has been written for you? Or that you’re not really the person you want to be because you’re always trying to please someone else? Or be someone else?

Whether in person, online, or on social media, we spend a lot of time performing for others. We defer to their expectations. We give in to their demands. We try to change for them. And we begin playing a part––a role––in the performance of our life.

If we center our lives on pleasing others, living out each day gets harder and harder. And during shelter-in-place restrictions which cut us off from normal activities, it can feel impossible to create a new life script. Especially if we’re not engaging in life with our whole selves––the way God masterfully created us.

This week, I’m spending time meditating on these questions––and I encourage you to join me: Who am I, really? Who do I want to be? What role do I want to play in my life? Who do I want starring in a lead role with me? Am I someone who has to live in the spotlight, or do I prefer to say behind the curtains stage left? When I am on stage, for whom am I performing? Who is it that should matter most?

As you answer these questions, consider journaling your answers so you can see them on paper and pray through them. Then focus on this last question: Who do you see as your most important audience?

In other words, at the end of your life, when the curtain closes for the final time, who will remain in the seats in front of you?

Most of us perform for a very large audience. Husband or boyfriend. Kids. Parents. Siblings. Best friend. Party friends. Social media “friends”. Old friends we want to impress. Boss. Co-workers. Rivals. Neighbors. People we used to see out on the town. People we sit next to at church (or used to before Covid). People we want to impress. People who looked down on us in the past. People who look down on us now. People we want to influence. People we wish would like us, just the way we are.

Day after day. Month after month. Year after year.

Many of the people in our audience don’t know us very well. In fact, some may not know us at all. But as actors in our life performance, we hope they’ll love us in our role. We want them to cheer and clap. We want them to leave inspired and see our worth in the leading role. We may hope for an occasional standing ovation.

But should other people sit in the audience of our life? This pandemic forces all of us to look at the people around us, their expectations of us, and our expectations of ourselves. And it begs us to think about our life today––and what comes next. Maybe finding peace and hope in this new season requires us to start living for an Audience of One: God.

When the curtain closes on our final act, God alone will sit before us. Will we look back and realize that we performed our role on life’s stage while looking at everyone else in the cast but never once directing our focus to Jesus? Or will we gaze into the eyes of our Savior as he joyfully proclaims, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

Whether we acknowledge it now or not, life is lived for an Audience of One. God remains our biggest fan. He wants us to fix our eyes on him and dance like there’s nobody else in the room. It starts with faith. Faith that he exists. Faith that he’s our Director in life, not our critic. Faith that he has lined up the most amazing after-party we could ever imagine, and it will start as soon as the curtain closes!

Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know your Audience. He loves who you really are. And he’s sitting on the edge of his seat watching every scene of your life with the affectionate eyes of a devoted Father. He wants you to play your starring role for him. Will you?

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Joy Dahl

Dr. Joy Dahl is a Jesus girl transformed by God’s grace. Through many trials she has learned to rise above the depths of real life by holding fast to truth and hope. Today Joy passionately helps believers embrace their calling as Christ’s ambassadors in the world. Much of Joy’s career has focused on startup and high-growth companies in Washington, D.C. and New York, and for 10 years she provided Chief Financial Officer services through her consulting practice. Joy earned three degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary: Master of Christian Education, Master of Biblical Studies, and Doctor of Ministry. Her emphasis on the integration of faith and work led to her current role as Executive Director of Polished Network which gathers women to navigate the workplace and explore faith together in authentic community. Joy and her husband, Gordon, call Dallas home. Joy’s favorite things include: God's Word, international travel, dark chocolate, horses, flowers, beach getaways, running, big dogs, and adventure!

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