In the midst of all the preparations for Christmas, one of my favorite activities is watching the grands perform in their long-prepared productions.

Not all performers are created equal.

We first watched Isley in her play as she sang and danced through four performances, playing an angel and newsie in “Yes, Virginia”. These young people were enthusiastic to showcase their hard work. Smiles radiated, songs were sung with gusto, impassioned lines were said with confidence.

Our next show was not quite as professional. The enthusiasm levels were varied; some of the performers wanted to be there, and others didn’t. Some had all their lines down pat; others glanced to the right and left, trying to keep up with what was happening.

The fun happened in the back of the room, where the preschool teachers were singing with fun and fervor, making motions big and brash, grinning ear to ear with joy as they helped their little charges perform for parents and friends.

With the older children, being part of the play was something they chose, having to try out to be part of the production. The younger ones were in a situation where all were expected to take part.

Desire makes a difference in how you show up.

The things we enjoy and are good at are often the things we choose to do frequently. The things that make us hesitant, cause fear, or make us feel uncomfortable we try to avoid.

Nobody wants to look or feel foolish.

Competence is something we strive to achieve, to be able to do something so successfully and efficiently that we become known for a particular talent. To know that we’re good at something increases our self-assurance–it gives us an identity, a reputation.

The problem is in our current culture, reputations are made and broken in moments. A wrong comment, an oversight, a mistake, and the whole world knows we failed. Such pressure can cause undue anxiety, frustration, and fear. It’s no way to live.

God gives us the freedom to not be limited by such pressure and the world’s opinions. He has shown us what is true and right, and those realities should shape who we are and what we do.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do EVERY GOOD WORK.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

We may be the best in our field, known throughout the world for what we do. But if we don’t have truth and live by it, our best reputation can’t save us. Absolute truth leads us to God and His provision for our lives. What He says about us is more real than what anyone else could ever say.

So who are we?

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26

If we believe in Him, receive Him, we are delighted in and loved by Him. A gift of relationship that we can never lose.

Our reputations can’t save us.

Being loved by God can. No matter how skilled we are.

Or aren’t.

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