From our very first breath we are cheered for what we do. From the baby burps to first steps, we offer praise to those little humans for their actions. Students learn to expect praise for grades, how they play with others, and their attitudes. We discover, early on, that performance in sports, dance, or drama can bring a wide array emotional response.
As we grow and mature, we become accustom to performing with the expectation of a response from our audience. It may come in the form of a good job evaluation, a pay raise, or the opposite. I often question the crooked lines I leave when I mow the grass, thinking the neighbors are judging how I mow. But now I just shrug and think, “But I did mow the grass.”
Critiques, self-imposed or from an outside source, can be beneficial. We need to comprehend the consequences of our choices, words, and actions. However, far too often we associate those critiques with our intelligence, self-worth, or value. How many people like my post? Who showed up to hear me speak or sing? Why did that one person not like my book? The list goes on.
All of those questioning thoughts are racket that distracts us from our purpose, to glorify the One who created us. I Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God
I have never been able to do anything well if someone is looking over my shoulder, ask my typing teacher or my husband. I cannot be “creative on demand.” I become a bumbling goof. I am distracted by the “noise” of the appraisal of my work.
When I set out to play the harp a few years ago, I jokingly said that I play for me and Jesus… and the dogs. The music is only as sweet as my audience. When I write, it is the message He puts in my heart. When I garden, it is to create a sanctuary of worship. When I clean my house, it is an act of appreciation for what He has provided.
As my hair has turned grey, my heart has not become hardened to that racket, but I am learning to put the earplugs in so I can hear the applause of my Audience of One.
Galatians 6:4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.