EGO at Center Stage
I’m not what you’d call an accomplished thespian, but I was cast in a few local shows throughout high school, college and early adulthood. Since my children were born, however, I’ve been on an acting hiatus…for a little more than a decade.
Last month, I decided to dip my toe back into the theatrical pool by trying out for a community production of Mary Poppins.
It. Was. Terrifying. Seriously, I don’t remember ever being more nervous about anything in my entire life.
There’s something unnerving about standing alone in front of a panel of four judges who are evaluating every line, every note for quality. They are literally comparing your worth against every other individual who has – or ever will – stand in that exact same spot. I felt like I was facing a firing squad, and the livelihood of my self-esteem was on the line.
Apparently I was not alone.
My audition behind me, it was almost amusing to stand in the lobby that afternoon observing others. Many of them were friends with the accompanist, and I stood by watching as one person after another – several of them extraordinarily accomplished actors and singers – slyly shimmied up to him for the inside scoop.
“Did I do okay?”
“Did that sound good?”
“Do you think they liked me?”
Even the most gifted of performers needed assurance that they somehow measured up.
Edging God Out
Ego. We all have it. At the end of the day, we all want to know that we are loved and appreciated, that our lives are of worth. And that’s not so bad.
The problem comes when we turn to the wrong sources to find our lasting value.
We “Edge God Out” when we move Him from His rightful place as our:
- Object of worship,
- Source of self-worth, security, and wisdom, and
- Audience and Authority over our daily work and life story.
Any person or thing that we allow to take God’s place will leave us anything but satisfied with where we stand. They are poor counterfeits for the One who truly gives life meaning.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
Edging God Out leads to:
- Separation: We’ll isolate ourselves from God and from others.
- Comparison: We will never be good enough, strong enough, or talented enough.
- Distortion: The truth will be replaced with a false sense of security or fear.
In short, the approval (or disapproval) of any audience other than God will only leave us feeling empty.
Exalting God Only
On the other hand, we can experience extraordinary freedom and self-worth when we remember Whose we are and who we are. We are beloved creations of God the Father – and nothing we do can make Him love us more or less. Our value is found in Him alone.
“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)
We “Exalt God Only” when we venerate Him as our:
- Object of worship,
- Source of security, self-worth, and wisdom, and
- The Audience and Judge of our life decisions.
In doing so, our pride and fear is replaced with humility and God-grounded confidence. We experience:
- Community with God and others,
- Contentment in all circumstances, and
- Truth, which will set us free.
Unlike local theatre, there is a part for everyone on God’s stage. You were created with a distinct temperament and set of skills. You have experiences unlike anyone else’s and a circle of influence that is uniquely yours.
I can’t play your part. And you can’t play mine. Thank God for that!
What’s more, there as the Audience stands the great and loving Director, and He is eager to applaud your performance. So step to center stage, and give it your all with confidence. You were born to play this part!
Exalting God only brings true joy and purpose. With His guidance and approval, you are sure to wow all those who experience the masterpiece to which He has called you.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am yours, and You are mine. Teach me to walk in Your ways, to seek Your guidance and approval in every circumstance and with every person I face today. I will exalt You only, knowing that my real value can only be found in You.