Jonathan's Perspective  

Aug 13

'The Freedom of Focus'

I remember as a kid striving for approval from others. I wanted my dad and mom to approve of me with a smile and words of praise. I wanted my teachers to approve of my work with good grades. I wanted my friends to approve of me with invitations to activities and overnights. As I grew older, I sought approval from my wife, my children, my supervisors, my bishop, and even my dog. It is amazing how many people (and pets) we want to think well of us. All of this is ingrained in us with performance conditioning using rewards and punishments. It helps us navigate different relationships and expectations. When we are within the parameters of the person we are trying to please, we find a measure of satisfaction. 

There are several drawbacks to this system. First, this gears us toward finding our value and worth through other’s opinions of us. Second, there are times when there are competing voices that want us to make opposite actions. Third, we become anxious because every time we disappoint someone, we feel the disapproval. Fourth, listening to too many voices can make us schizophrenic and sometimes paralyze us due to our fear and anxiety. 

The solution is to seek the approval of one, The One. Living to please an audience of One simplifies things and makes the choices and actions we should make much more clear. On top of that, God is the most encouraging audience. God already loves you and has accepted you through your faith in Him. We are performing for our Creator who wants to see us succeed in all our relationships and endeavors. 

Success is not always measured in outward rewards, but is always measured by the peace that comes from love and trusting obedience. Let’s say that you are an actor on the stage of life; God is watching – but also doing much more. He is already looking at you with loving approval. When you forget a line, He eagerly feeds it to you. If you fall over a prop, He is there to pick you up. He gives you the energy and stamina to continue for the duration. He laughs with delight when you do well, and lovingly corrects when you stumble. The Audience of One is completely given to you and on your side. 

I have found in my life that living for an Audience of One is so much easier than trying to please all kinds of people – both those I like and dislike. The focus and confidence that God gives helps me live better so that I can bless better. 

All we have to do is be attentive to His stage direction and follow the script. A play is much more fun with many actors; so, together, let’s put on a performance of a lifetime.

Playing for an Audience of One,

Jonathan

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