My youngest daughter is the baby in the family. She is quite a bit younger than her older siblings and, needless to say, we humored her a lot. When she was little, she had this big, stuffed dolphin that she had named Longy. It was not unusual to find the other four Hoppens, lined up on the couch, in the evening to watch the next episode of “The Longy Show.” There was no plot, you never knew where it was going, and it was over when we sat there long enough and just started to clap and yell, "Yay! Great Show!" In other words, The Longy Show tended to get a little, well, long. We stayed patient as long as possible because we loved her. That's why we were watching! At some point though, we had to cut it off…
As I reflect on last week's Get Real Conference, I can’t help but think about The Longy Show. My drinking life was comparable to The Longy Show. There wasn’t any plot and you never knew where it was going. I ignored the director (God) and looked for applause (affirmation) at every performance. Then there was the day the curtain went down, so to say. My family stood up and said “enough.” The show could not go on. Sadly, they were also part of the cast. If I continued to act, I would be on stage alone. They had stayed as long as possible because they loved me but it had to end. There was no audience, they had gotten tired of my production. Therefore, there wasn’t any applause. Wait, there was one fan left in my audience. My number one fan, Satan, and he loved to cheer me on.
Why did my thinking go in this direction? How on earth did I start thinking about The Longy Show and the Get Real Conference? I guess I shouldn't be surprised. My brain is all over the place all of the time! Pretty sure God put it there. While I was speaking in the middle of one of my sessions, I said, “And that was the last day I took a drink.” And there was applause! I was stunned. It brought tears to my eyes, I stood a little straighter and silently thanked God for the reason they clapped.
I had a new audience. I looked through the crowd and saw many familiar faces that had come back to see the new production. I saw unfamiliar faces and was humbled they had come to hear my story. This is what it looks like as I followed God's direction instead of my own. Where I listen to the cues he gives and use it to honor him.
He is true, he is just. He didn't want to leave me where I was. That play was a flop! It wasn't until I accepted the gift of the cross and left my free will there that life started to change.
I believe this is true for all of us. We don’t need to be on stage to find an audience. Who is your audience? Kids? Office? Teammates? Friends? Strangers? Here’s the thing, we are always on stage no matter where we are and what we are doing. I used to tell my kids (and sometimes still do) “Wear Jesus on your forehead!” They knew that meant to let others see Christ in you, by your words and actions. Own him. Just think for a minute what it would be like if we all did that, all the time. Pretty sure this earth would be a friendlier place.
I encourage you to look at your audience today and make sure you're in the right theater…
Blessings on your weekend,