Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Audience Of One

Being in the world of Performing Arts means I have to face things such as rejection, uncertainty, emotional highs and lows, hopes deferred, feelings of self doubt and performance pressures on a regular basis!

There are many wonderful things to be experienced as a performer too of course. For example, I often get to meet fascinating people from all walks of life, work alongside incredible talent, explore and use my creativity, have variety in life, get paid to travel and see the world while performing in some of the most incredible places and also do something I’m passionate about and love to do!

Most importantly though, I’m given many opportunities to share the Gospel with those who don’t yet know Jesus. This always brings me so much joy and I pray for these kind of doors to open in conversation.

Despite having been in the entertainment industry for many years now, I still have to work at keeping the nerves in check sometimes. It was during one of these times when I felt inspired to write my poem “Audience Of One.”

I was reminding myself that Jesus doesn’t demand perfection from me, all He asks is that I give my best and commit my efforts unto Him for His glory. It made me think of the words we read in Micah 6:8 where it says,

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”

I found this verse so encouraging as it reminded me that it’s not Jesus who puts pressure on me to perform perfectly, it’s me! Instead of fearing the judgement of others and myself, I decided I should instead focus on committing everything into His hands and imagine I’m performing to Jesus alone, my Audience of One! This really helped reduce the level of demand in my mind and I felt I had been “freed up” to enjoy the situation rather than dread it.

These thoughts inspired me to write a poem that I can read and use to help calm my nerves before an audition or performance if I’m feeling particularly anxious. My hope is that it can be used by many other people too no matter what line of work they’re in or whatever the situation may be. Perhaps it’s a job interview, a first day at school, college or new place of work, a speech delivery or any situation that makes us feel like the pressure is on and we doubt our ability to produce the “goods!”

I pray this poem can really help us move our focus away from ourselves and instead turn our attention towards Jesus, the One who gave us our gifts and skills to bless others! May we commit all to our “Audience Of One” and remember the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13,

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Here I am again to try and meet today’s demands,
I give it all to You and know my life is in Your hands.
You’ve given me these gifts and skills as part of my life’s story
So now I give them back and ask You use them for Your glory!

Calm my nerves I ask O Lord and strengthen me today.
May thoughts of fear and doubt be gone, distractions kept at bay.
Fill me with Your confidence and may my skills shine through.
Help me do my best and find a joy in what I do!

May I focus not on man’s approval or acclaim
But let my heart’s desire be to glorify Your name.
You’re God of life and love and art, Creator of all things!
Create through me a moment that can praise the King of kings!

Remind me of Your love and let my spirit not be moved.
Covered by Your grace, there’s nothing more I need to prove!
So as I journey forth, let negativity depart.
I’m grateful for this chance to use the talents in my heart.

Whatever be the outcome may I find in You my rest,
I pray that my abilities leave others feeling blessed.
I now commit my efforts to the work You have begun,
Wholeheartedly performing to my Audience of One!

Colossians 3:23-24
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

Jeremiah 1:8
  “Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Philippians 1:6
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Matthew 19:26
“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””

Philippians 4:6-7
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Download a PDF of this poem to keep and share