An Audience of One
I will never forget this ballet recital, it was the year Marianna danced her heart out. It was also the year she had the worst case of stage fright she has ever had. Marianna started ballet when she was two years old and each year she ended the season by dancing in the recital. Every year had its challenges, but performance anxiety was not one of them until she turned nine. She knew the dance by heart and she seemed fine all day but all of a sudden backstage fear struck, and it hit hard. I still remember her clinging to me, terrified, saying "Mommy, get me out of here!" Our dear teacher Ms. Becky was just as shocked as I was. This was totally out of character. We both tried to coax her and calm her down but Marianna wasn't buying it. I felt so badly for her but I didn't want to give in. Finally, I said "Marianna, dance for Jesus. Dance like he's the only one watching you."
The curtain opened, the music played and Marianna's face lit up. I was standing off to the side of the stage next to Ms. Becky and I couldn't believe my eyes. Marianna was dancing like a princess and to my surprise she looked over at me and made a heart with her hands. It was amazing. She had forgotten about the crowd seated in front of her and was dancing for an audience of one.
People used to ask me if I got nervous anchoring the news. They wondered how I felt anchoring in front of so many people. But I would tell them, "actually, there are only a couple of people in the studio. I feel like I'm talking to the one person behind the camera." Performing for one person takes the pressure off. What if that one was Jesus?
I had never heard the phrase "playing to an audience of one" until it came up in a seminary class a couple of years ago. It simply means God's opinion is the only one that should matter. Set your stage with one chair, and make it his. It's easy to get caught up in what others think of us, or what others think we should do or not do. I think it's wise to consult others about important matters but this is different. This is about whose opinion matters most to you.
Colossians 3:23 says "work willingly at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord, rather than for people."
This truth has changed my perspective. For one thing, it will help melt away the fear. It will also empower you to go after the things that really matter in life, the things God has already prepared for you to do.
God is a wonderful audience of one. I have no doubt he looks at his children with love, just like we do, and says "dance my child, I love to watch you dance."