The auditorium was filled. The air was pumped full of energy. There was only one part left. And a line full of talented gals that waited for their turn to bring their version of the character to life.
I watched as the line dwindled in front of me. With each "Next!", I got one step closer to my moment. I'd memorized the lines. I'd practiced my inflection. I had even added my own adlibs to the script. I was ready to nail this thing.
As I shuffled nervously to the center of the stage, my eyes were drawn to a small lamp that illuminated only part of the director's face. He made notes and then stopped to peer over his glasses as I began.
I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and I began.
I performed flawlessly and confidently stood in the spotlight and waited for some affirmation of my performance. Nothing. A cold, direct, "Next!" greeted the next eager gal in line behind me.
I waited in the lobby as the auditions finished up. The announcement was made. I didn't get the part.
I was devastated.
And then, I was told... "You weren't all that great...but, we could probably use you as an extra."
Just an extra. Not even a title. Like teen girl #2. Or crowd member #17. Just an extra. Lumped in with all the other wanna be's that hadn't been good enough.
I learned a lot that day.
And it all came back to me recently as I quieted myself and tried to get to the bottom of some tangled emotions.
All of the sudden, I was back on the stage. The director look different. He looked like all of the pictures of Jesus I have ever seen. The lights were low and it was my time to wow Him.
I think, most of my life, I have viewed my relationship with God like a huge audition for the role of "good Christian." I memorize the lines, add my own personality and viola...I get the part!!!
Until, my mind gets distracted or my body gets tired, and I blow it. I miss the mark and get thrown into the sea of extras.
He doesn't look to me to perform perfectly. He just wants me. The real Me. Not the one I've rehearsed and the emotion that I can control. The raw me that falls and stumbles and blows it on a regular basis. The me that forgets the lines and buckles under pressure.
Because, then, it's not about the performance anymore. It's about listening to the Director. It's about trusting Him. Taking cues from Him. Seeing His pleasure in the role He has called me to fill.
I never get cast as an extra...and you don't either. And if we can step out of the spotlight we will find Him waiting in the wings, we will find Him faithful. On good days and bad. When we are brilliant or busted. Wonderful or wounded.
So, stop the performance. Drop your guard. You don't have to hide. Bring Him your baggage. Let Him delight in you.
And, He will be on His feet, cheering for an encore.