Once upon a time I was a performing artist. In fact I’m coming back into the professional arena after over a dozen years’ absence. But today I’m thinking, not about now, nor the intervening years, but about the early days.
This morning as I was doing my usual stretching to keep flexible… the years are waxing and waning even as I write… the words that popped into my head were,
“Keep from Idols”
I didn’t receive this phrase as a warning, but as a remembrance. You see, years ago as an actress, when I was an extra and struggling to get into shows, I was afraid. I felt nervous, small, intimidated by the world of the theatre, even though I had a uniquely marvellous voice.
Why was I afraid?
Because I thought so many others were so much better than I was: better actors, better singers, just better and more talented. I envied them, admired them, and elevated them above myself. I didn’t know it at the time, but I idolised their position, thought I was unworthy, and so I sabotaged any hope of breakthrough into that world.
I had Idols, which took away my confidence and brought fear in its stead. This prevented me from being free to be all I was meant to be.
I had nothing to fear, but I was afraid. And so, although I achieved a high professional standard, I never “made it big” because of my fear.
So readers, as we embark on 2017 we reach toward the ultimate goals for our lives, I’d like to alert you to the lesson I learned. Although I was a firm believer and follower of Jesus, I nevertheless, unwittingly, had idols. I idolised no one in particular, but I feared others; I feared them because of their achievements and their high status. This inhibited me. It prevented me from befriending them and from receiving the favour – and the work – that was available to me. It limited my creative expression and prevented me from walking in the fullness that the skills and talents I’d honed had equipped me for. Most of all, it limited God from working in and through me to reflect His love and beauty and grace.
Let us have no idols. Yes let us have our dreams, ambitions, desires, and goals. These are God-given hopes and dreams, but we need to be sure they are surrendered to Him. Let us enjoy our opportunities, yet not place ourselves high, but humbly recognise our abilities are God-given, our mission is God-given, and there is nothing that cannot be done through Christ who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13)