I was watching a popular Korean talent show where they bring up these incredible performers and then proceed to encourage them and build them up for the next thirty minutes while the audience genuinely cheers them on. It’s the opposite of an American reality show — but then I thought, not really.
While I love the idea here, there’s a second hidden language that is actually saying, “You have value because you’re talented. We are cheering your ability. We like what you can do.” You can see the performers desperately vying for the approval of everyone watching, and I can imagine the lonely disappointment later in life when they keep trying to recreate that applause.
I know that no one gets on these shows by being lazy or eating chips on a couch, but it’s easy to think we are loved by the size of our talents. It’s easy to become addicted to dancing on a stage for the thirty minutes of attention until the novelty wears off.
There are plenty of people who feel mediocre and subpar in their particular field, but they are just as treasured and prized by the God who created them for the simple reason of breathing them into existence. Maybe you don’t have a stage or a TV audience, but you certainly have just as much value to your Creator as the guy with the microphone.
I think talent is wonderful, and I thank God for infusing us with so many interesting gifts, but your worth is not measured to the degree of your gifting in the eyes of a worldly system. You are not on a metric scale that weighs your usefulness to society. You do not earn God’s merit based on how the majority views you. You are adored by a God who unconditionally accepts you as you are.
I really believe we become truly successful when we care less about our idea of success and more about our deepening of this relentless self-existing love. Then when “success” happens — it is only a thing that happens to us and doesn’t really say who we are. It is a bonus and not a bondage.
If you’re going to maximize your ability, I hope you won’t be too attached to results and outcomes and validation and record deals. We should absolutely pursue excellence at all we do — but even when we fail and the world gets tired of us and our star sinks below the radar, there is just One in the audience who will never change His mind.
He calls you good on behalf of His Son, without you having done a single thing but beat your heart today.
You are loved: simply, purely, endlessly. Nothing compares.
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
— C.S. Lewis