Everyone likes applause. Everyone. We all want positive feedback. Some feel so unworthy inside so they have trouble receiving the smallest compliment. Others soak up the applause like the desert does raindrops. But we all have a need for applause.
Applause is interesting. Once we get a little, we want more. Applause can become intoxicating. It can be downright addicting. We start looking for it. We might even try to manufacture it. Applause is a crazy thing. It will often distort our perspective and our decision-making if we are gripped by its influence.
Depending on what kind of approval we received or didn’t receive from significant people while growing up, our whole adult lives can be subconsciously driven by the need for applause. If unaware, we can make catastrophic choices in our quest for the applause of others.
Regi Campbell writes, “You won’t have peace until you figure out who your audience is, and God is the only audience that matters.” I totally agree. Yet there are plenty of mistakes you can make with that philosophy. You could assume that God is just one more audience to perform for. That approach ignores this Biblical truth of grace, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so than no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). The above philosophy can also create a false reality that what other people think doesn’t matter. Unrealistic and untrue.
It seems to me that we should learn to practice the pause of applause. Acknowledge that applause feels good. We were created by a Creator who repeatedly proclaimed statements of applause at creation: “And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18 etc.). Celebrating accomplishments and achievements is not a bad thing at all. But we must learn to pause when there is applause.
Pause to give gratitude for the gifts and talents God has blessed you with. Pause to remember that God gives us His grace, His love and His forgiveness even when we don’t deserve it. Pause to give thanks to the person who took the time to note your hard work and efforts. Pause to remember that applause can be addictive and ask God for the clarity of mind not to become driven by the approval of others. Pause to ask God for the humility to continue serving when others forget to give much-deserved applause. Pause to deflect the applause that others on your team also deserve.
The pause of applause enables me to keep my pride in check. To remember that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17). This pause helps me remember to compliment and affirm those around me who are working hard and doing a great job. And it reminds me to be grateful for all of those who’ve poured themselves into my life so I can now be successful.
Don’t get me wrong. I still like applause. That’s human. But I’m not often addicted to it nor intoxicated by it. With grace and gratitude, when I pause at the applause, I realize that God deserves much more applause than I ever remember to give Him. And the audience of One, is who I most want to receive my applause from.
QUESTION: Are you clear about whose applause you’re working for…and why? Tell us in the comment section below.