The world is consumed by numbers.
Some are concerned with the numbers in their bank account (or lack thereof).
Some are consumed with the amount of debt they have accumulated. Some are concerned with the number of bills they have to pay….
Not you? Ok. What about those who are concerned with the numbers on a scale? The numbers in the ingredients of food packaging? The number of calories consumed? The number of calories burned? The number on a clothing size tag? The number of inches in the waist or chest? Or the number of years of lived?…
Still not in your backyard? How about the number of kids you have or do not have? The number of degrees you have or have not attained? The numbers in your GPA at graduation? The number of friends you have or have lost somewhere along the way?
Or my personal favorite…the number of likes on a photo? The number of followers? The number of views? The number of comments and shares?
I could go on, but I will stop…because everyone obsesses over a number at some point. We try not to let that number drive us. We try not to let the number control us, but the end result is that life is full of numbers that somehow tie to our value. How do we keep those numbers from controlling us? How do we decide instead that we control the show?
The truth is that the numbers are the result of the show. The show is NOT a result of the numbers. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we begin to control the show.
My husband coaches football so every Friday night for three straight months is show time…at least that is what society has told us. Society teaches that the show happens when the lights come on.
Yet, if we wait to put on a show until the lights come on, we have a small chance of actually delivering a spectacular performance because the show starts before the lights come on.
This brings back the original question…How do we control the show? How do I control the show? How do you control the show?
1. Accept what you are called to do and dedicate your talent back to the One who called you to do it.
My husband is a teacher, a coach, a dad and so much more. He accepts it wholeheartedly and gives each hat he wears all that he has. He loves the kids he coaches, the students he teaches, me, our children, his family….
Everyone has been called to do something. Everyone is amazing at something naturally – so naturally that sometimes the gift goes unnoticed at times. I sometimes look at the callings of those around me and get confused. I cannot see what I have because of the brights lights of the shows playing simultaneously. To control my show, I must look to the Producer, ask Him where He wants me to perform, and then give my show all I have to give…all you have to give…all we have to give.
“If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:11)
Practice. Put every bit of energy into the show. You control the show by what you do in the preceding days. As a track coach, I spend my entire season focused on two meets – district and state. Some of my athletes are not fast enough as freshmen, sophomores or even seniors to run at the state level, but they can set personal bests along the way. As such, they put in lots of work between December and May. They practice 4-5 days a week. I use my talents as a coach to motivate them at practice. They use their talents as as athletes to give their best efforts to complete the workouts according to my predetermined specifications. The practice is always more painful than when the lights come on. There are tears. There tired days. There is frustration, but each rehearsal is a chance to put on a little mini show.
3. Recognize that the show must go on.
Setbacks happen. Life happens. I lose athletes because of grades. My husband loses athletes due to injuries. People quit. People move. These setbacks makes each of us want to throw in the towel. They make me want to throw in the towel. They make you want to throw in the towel. You wonder if the performance is worth all the extra effort. Again, you look around at all the other performances, and your own seems to pale in comparison. You go back to the Producer. You question whether He cast your role properly, why your talents are not reaching their full potential. You show Him these other people. He smiles and repeats your assignments. You must not get consumed in other performances. You must not let these things stop the show. You must refocus. You must get up and you do it again. The show must go on.
“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
2 Chronicles 15:7
You need continued guidance. You are still a little shaky after some tough rehearsals. You are still off balance from unexpected setbacks. As a result, you give it all back to God, and you continue to trust the process.
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
6. Shine when the lights come on.
It is Friday night, or state testing, or the state track meet, or time to press publish, or the kids are going to school, or the kids are moving out, or the kids are going to college. Everything from this point on is out of your control. This is where you rely on everything you have done up to this point. You accepted your role. You prayed. You cried. You rehearsed. You rested. You did everything your assignment required. Now, it is show time.
And as you shine, you begin to notice that the numbers take care of themselves. I begin to notice the numbers take care of themselves. We begin to notice the numbers take care of themselves. We begin to clock the numbers that count. We can promote. We can spend our days, money, and effort advertising, but the numbers do not dictate the show. The show dictates the numbers.
Then the lights dim. The applause and encores slowly fade to nothing, and it is just you, and a spectacular spotlight that is now finished. Some people are let down. The moment passed too quickly. The performance is over. Now what? These people do not realize that life was never about the performance. Life is everything in between. To control the show, you must shine…I must shine…we must shine BEFORE the lights come on.
What are some ways that you have learned to shine?
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