Monday, March 27, 2006

American Idol Syndrom

Are you amazed what we see sometimes on TV? American Idol is no exception. There is amazing talent. There is also amazing deception. It's the deception that we all struggle with that can do us in. It's what I call the American Idol Syndrom.

We like others to think highly of us. Really. We all do. Many of us like to "wow' others with what we do or a knowledge about things most common people wouldn't know or do. It makes us feel confident. We rarely talk about things we are unsure of about ourselves.

In the end, we all want to have a positive positive self-regard of ourselves. That means we seek self-respect, self-worth, or some call it self-esteem. The danger in this is that we sometimes hang our hat (self-worth) on things other than where it should be.

As musicians or technicians, we tend to base a lot of our self-worth on our talent/skill ability. We are encouraged by others when we do a good job. We walk out of the service and others say, "You did a great job when (fill in the blank)." But somewhere along the way, people have failed us. They've failed to be honest with us.

Most Christians rarely tell you the truth. Really. When was the last time you had someone come up to you and say - you know...that really wasn't the best. You need some improvement before you try that again. It's rare. We somehow think that if we say only the positive things or just keep our traps shut when there are not any positives that we are doing them a favor.

Let's ask "what would Jesus do" if he heard me play a horredous trombone solo. Would He do the nice Christian thing and say, "Oh thank you Bryan for giving a sacrifice of praise," then turn around and drive home and say to His disciples, "Man, that was a sacrifice on My part to listen to that." Maybe it would be better for Jesus to say, "Thank you for giving your best...that was your best, wasn't it?" Or, "Bryan, you have a lot of potential...I'm looking forward to hearing what you'll do in the future when you improve even more." Speaking the truth in love. And yes, sometimes the well meaning truthful Christians forget about the LOVE part.

Unfortunately, most of us simply don't want to hear the truth. We may even say we want the truth, but end up justifying why we did a poor job. Or we reason that the evaluation was political, biased, unfair, etc. Back to American Idol...some of these people are just downright terrible - but when they place themselves in front of a panel to be evaluated and then are honest, they don't believe them. Why are they there to begin with? Are they there because they've placed self-worth on what they do? Or is it because they really want honesty from the panel?

We get in trouble when we somehow think we are "owed" positions because of our skill/talent, our attitude, or how much we've contributed in the past. Once I begin thinking, "So and so doesn't sing like I do," or maybe, "Why does so and so get to play the solo, I've been here longer than they have," we are in danger the American Idol Syndrom (thinking too highly of ourselves that we feel we are entitled to something).

The bottom line is that we aren't entitled to anything. I'm not entitled to a job, a family, good health, wealth, talent, or anything. God freely gives you and me these things.

The solution to the problem is to replace our self-worth as (musician, doctor, teacher, fireman, ... fill in the blank) with the knowledge that God loves us despite who we are. He doesn't care I'm a musician. He cares about the relationship He and I have together, though. And He cares about how our relationship impacts "who I am" (musician, blogger, father, husband, friend, etc.).

God, be honest with me. Tell me when I'm not following You. Show me when I'm not giving my best. Share with me when I can improve. I want to honor You with our relationship. I want You to be the sole place where I place my worth.

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