God is the Performer
What does it mean that performing isn't about us, it's about God? That's where we left off from last month's hot topic, "Performing without Fear: Be Self-less." And how does that help us eliminate fears about performing?
- God is the performer. We are the performance.
God is the real Performer. The psalmist affirms, "I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me" (Ps 57:2). Wow! That takes a lot of pressure off of us. Instead of focusing on what we need to do to perform effectively or just to keep from messing up, we can focus on what God does, how God is performing for us, how we express God's performance. And who better to perform for us than God! Why? Because:
- God is the Performer; we are the performance.
- God is the Cause; we are the effect.
- God is the Original; we are the reflections.
Seeing God as the performer makes performing a totally different experience. How so?
- We simply stay open to God.
- We accept all that God, the Performer, is doing for us.
- We respond to God's wisdom, power, calm presence, and grace, which God is always giving to us.
- We rejoice that we are God's "image" and "likeness" (Gen 1:26).
- That's how God created us.
- An image does what the original does.
- So what God does, we do.
That's why performing is about God. We simply do what God does. God, as our creator, has the power of performance. The power is not in us, the images. The power isn't in the effect; it's in the cause. If there's no creator, there's no creation. If there's no God, there's no us. If there's no original, there's no image. If there's no performer, there's no performance. Because God is the performer, there's nothing for us to fear. There's no reason to put extra pressure on ourselves to do or to be what we're not capable of being -- the originator or creator. The joy of performing is that we get to respond to God's great ability.
We are able to respond to God because we've learned, from "Performing without Fear: Be Self-less", that getting ourselves out of the way enables God to do His work. When we keep our "window pane" of thoughts free from any sense of fear, ego, pride, selfishness, worry, etc., we can hear God's word. Thus, we allow God's light (God's thoughts, messages, goodness) to shine through us in resplendent beauty. We can even think about being a prism. When light shines through a prism, it refracts into its seven rainbow colors. We see the fullness, completeness, allness of light -- of God. And when we see God's allness, we can rest assured that God is indeed capable of performing everything that needs to be performed.
- God's power overrides any fears of our own inadequacy.
But sometimes, even if we feel that we're doing a good job getting ourselves out of the way, fear creeps in and says, "What if I'm not good enough? What if I can't hear God? What if I can't do what God wants me to do?" We often feel this way when we think we have a really important performance or message we want to convey. Well, those "what ifs" don't come from God or from ourselves. They come from the devil. And to the devil, who was trying to tempt Jesus and ruin his mission, Jesus said, "Get thee behind me, Satan" (Luke 4:8).
See, the devil tries to make us doubt God, to undermine our faith in God, to question our own abilities, or even to make us believe that we're so good that we don't need God. If we think that we alone have the power to make a performance a glorious success, then we can also feel that we have the power to make a performance a miserable failure. And that's where many of us get caught up. We feel inadequate -- unable to convey an incredibly important message, to make the winning goal, to live up to a high standard.
It's at this point when we have to realize where the real power belongs -- with God. Job affirms:
But he [God] is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. (Job 23:13, 14)
God is going to get the job done. We can't stop God from doing His own work. Do we really think that God is unable to get our attention, incapable of making His message clear, impotent to communicate with us and others? If God wants to get a message across to us, then God can do it. If God wants to use us as a vehicle to get a message across, then God can and will do it.
- God is able to get our attention and communicate a message.
Just look at Moses. God got his attention with a burning bush that didn't burn (Ex 3:2, 3). God certainly had a fantastic message that He wanted Moses to give to the Israelites in Egyptian captivity. The message was freedom. Right off the bat, Moses suggested to God that he wasn't the right choice. But God was not impressed by Moses' feelings of inadequacy. God had very important messages, messages that are still supremely significant for us today:
- "I AM THAT I AM" (Ex 3:14).
- "Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say" (Ex 4:12)
Think about the performance expectations. Moses had to convince the Israelites to follow him, to move from where they'd lived for hundreds of years, to get the Egyptians to let their slaves go, to part the Red (Reed) Sea to escape the pursuing Egyptians, to take the children of Israel to a new land, to provide food and water for them for forty years, and more. That's enough to make anyone feel inadequate. But because Moses finally understood that God was performing everything for him, Moses was able to help the people hear God's message, even when the Israelites questioned and doubted God.
Think also about the Old Testament prophet Elijah who was running away from Jezebel because she was trying to kill him. Elijah had a message he wanted to get across. He wanted the people to believe in God again, to stop worshipping Baal and gods that don't exist. But Elijah felt tired, confused, and totally inadequate -- ready to give up. The confusion in his thoughts was echoed in the confusion in the weather around him. The wind, earthquake, and fire certainly could have shaken him with fear. But "the Lord was not in the wind … earthquake … or fire" (I Kings 19:11). All that confusion and terror didn't keep God from getting through to Elijah with the "still small voice" (I Kings 19:12) telling him what to do, reassuring him that there were still people who believed in God. When he heard and understood God's message, he was able to do God's will and get God's message through to many people.
So when we know we have to perform, and we start feeling afraid, we can trust that God, the Great Performer, is doing His work, is communicating to us, through us, to others, and through others. God is indeed powerful: "I am God, and there is none else" (Isa 45:22). As images, we can only reflect God; "there is none else" to reflect. There is nothing to fear. What a relief!
Because God, the Performer, is perfect, God's performance must be perfect. What a sense of freedom! What a reason to rejoice that we are God's performance!