“The Stage” - This post is a little personal. I have spent almost 20 years up on a stage. I have been in front of very small crowds and I have been in front of large crowds. I am by no means a world renowned performer…but nevertheless one of the places I gravitate towards is in front of others…to entertain…to inspire…to be me. The stage is a place of beauty…but it is also a place of great danger.
I have not only been on a stage for much of my life…I have also lived a very staged life. When I turned 16 I started singing publicly and found that peoples perception of me was far above where I actually was…and I liked it. The stage became a place to keep people at bay…to not let them close to me…because I believed that if they knew the person behind the music…………….they wouldn’t like me. Thus began a long a painful journey of hiding behind a mic…of making people smile and laugh while I myself was crying inside…of inspiring people to tears when I was uninspired and dying. Along my journey I have used my gifts to manipulate…to dodge hard truths…and as a result…I hurt the people the people I loved the most…especially myself.
There seems to be this perception that to truly give your all as a performer you must be a tortured soul off the stage…God help me from not falling into that lie. I desire with everything in me to let the stage be an overflow of the joy that fills my days far away from monitors or instruments or applause. Here are a few short thoughts about the stage that come from my journey of being chewed up and spit out…broken and woken up. If you spend a good amount of time on a stage…my heart is for you in these musings…
False humility is just as unattractive as arrogance and self absorption. It’s pretty obvious that no one has a taste for a performer who is full of themselves. But…shying away from who I am created to be is just as nauseating. I have overcompensated in “humility” by shying away…and I have found that I do this out of fear. I have had so much experience with my “gifts gone wrong” that I “pretend” to be meek and end up looking like a turtle poking his head out of his shell. Meekness is a state of the heart…I can go full throttle on stage and still be meek…which leads me to my next thought
Giving inspiration and joy is different from getting applause. There is nothing wrong with a pat on the back for a job well done…there is also nothing wrong with a crowd standing to their feet and cheering after a rousing performance. But…there is a distinct difference in my life when I step up to GIVE to others rather than GET for myself. Much like a relationship…giving without expectation sets another persons heart free to dance…and in turn they often give back in abundance. It is a beautiful cycle that feeds both and is for the encouragement of everyone involved. The want for applause is not EVIL…just like wanting to be loved by someone is not EVIL. The danger for me is when I NEED that applause to complete or fill me with love and acceptance that I DON’T ALREADY HAVE FOR MYSELF. Which again…leads me to my last thought…
Finding my identity OFF the stage makes me a powerful performer ON the stage. What do I like? What makes me tick? Why do I love me? Ultimately my identity is found in the kindness of God. I am to love God…and love others AS I love myself. I definitely understand the idea of “Losing myself” in a song or a moment…but I would rather “Use myself” and be fully present and aware of the people around me. Shows end…applause fades…venues shut down…but bringing all of my hurts, fears, successes, joys etc to the stage for the love of God and others…NO pyrotechnics or programmed lights can outshine that.
So…that’s all I got today…maybe there will be an encore to this (pardon the pun) - But for now…the show must go on (another one?) - The real show that is…life. Thanks for reading…you deserve a standing ovation (Cue tomatoes)