I had the opportunity recently to speak at Cross Point. It is an honor to be able to speak at a church I love. After the service, people were very kind and encouraging about the message, both in person and on Twitter.
As I was leaving, I was reminded of a phrase that Trisha and I learned several years ago that used to have a grip on my heart. When Trisha and I started marriage counseling, one term that kept coming up in our counseling sessions was the term “the seduction of the stage.”
As we talked about this phrase, we discovered how easy it is for us to live for the applause of others rather than for the approval of God. It is a subtle shift that happens in our lives that we don’t recognize until we begin altering our values. These values were once driven by a desire to please God, but slowly drift to impressing others; convincing others of how great we are, trying to prove to others how worthy we are.
Brennan Manning says this in his book, Abba’s Child:
We give glory to God simply by being ourselves.
For so many years I felt like “myself” was never good enough. It wasn’t good enough for my dad; it wasn’t good enough for my coach; it wasn’t good enough for my professors; it wasn’t good enough for Trisha; it wasn’t good enough for the people that came to my church. Inadequacy had a grip on my heart.
At some point, I created this belief system in which I thought that if I could achieve enough, receive enough applause and impress people enough, I would finally be comfortable being “myself.”
Living this way will never lead to you and I being ourselves. It only leads us to be performers; performers who are seduced by the stage. It is an exhausting way to live.
The truth about you is you don’t have to be more than you are right now to impress God. You don’t have to be better than you are right now to receive God’s affection.
You don’t have to perform. You don’t have to pretend. You don’t have to fake your way with God.
You are a son. You are a daughter. Unconditionally. Live in your belovedness today!