An Audience of One

(I know I was supposed to write about how William Blake made me cry–  and you can see those comments here— but the following was a more pressing matter.)

A few months ago, before I decided to seriously commit to writing more, I felt God’s spirit whispering this truth to me: Live for an audience of One.  I had to immerse myself in this truth before I was able to share any of my ponderings publicly.  I had to turn off my status updates and learn to be content with silence on a daily basis.  I had to embrace this inescapable paradox: that I deeply desired to write for people but not for people.

I cannot tell you how desperately I need be reminded of this on a daily basis—because, you see—I have unfortunately come to define myself in accordance with how I am defined by others.   This deeply ingrained desire to present myself as impressive to people has become a shackle; this belief is the chain that keeps me from being the truth-teller I am meant to be.

Because I am meant to be a truth-teller.  And you are meant to be something, too.

Today I left school during my lunch period, drove to an empty parking lot in front of a lake, turned off the ignition, and pulled out my phone to listen to Dallas Willard speak about the kingdom of God.    He talked about how pre-occupation with our reputations is perhaps the single greatest thing that diverts us from ushering in the Kingdom. Then he used the same phrase God had been whispering to me a few months ago: “We ought to live for an audience of One.”

And let me tell you something: when I walked back into work with this truth nestled in my spirit, I felt free.  Because the previously unnerving judgments of others—at least for a few moments– had no power over me; what did their demands matter if I am loved by One who demands nothing?  What did their approval matter if I am already and forever approved?

As a truth-teller who has committed herself to writing, I must subsist on the nourishment of this truth.  I want to write for you, but not for you.  I write for the audience of One.

Let’s attempt this sacred venture together— let’s try to break free from the shackles of our reputations tomorrow.  Instead, we’ll wake up to the reality that we are Loved Deeply and we’ll actually live like it.  Because when we live unshackled lives, we liberate others from the tyranny of judgment and approval as well.

We are meant to live unfettered.  There is no place for chains in The Kingdom.

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3 Responses to An Audience of One

  1. vandemom2 says:

    You sound like Buechner in “Telling Secrets”….and I love it!
    “What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier . . . for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own . . . ”

    don’t let yourself be edited, don’t strive for acceptable, never lose track of the wonderful version of you. xo

    and yes….YOU need to write for people, we want to hear you. I plan to quote you.


  2. Liz says:

    such a good Buechner quote! I want to live “unedited!!” I do enough editing at work……


  3. missionhabitatfix says:

    Thank you so much, Liz. I needed to hear this tonight, more than ever. These words could not have been more perfect. I am so lucky to know you.


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