At a young age I learned that God had created me to be an entertainer, or someone who loved to perform in front of crowds .
Experiences like that taught me a lesson I have never forgotten…people love to be entertained.
Over the years my method of entertainment changed from class-clown to story-telling or public speaking, but the goal was usually the same.
As an entertainer I wanted to help people forget about their struggles or problems for just a few moments.
My crowning achievement was a dinner theatre in 2003 where I played the part of a used vacuum salesman. Even more than ten years later people still tell me how awesome I was.
Standing on that stage listening to hundreds of people laugh hysterically at my lines was a wonderful moment, but it was also the moment everything started going downhill
See the laughter of others can be an incredibly addictive thing. So slowly my goal as entertainer changed from making others forget their problems to getting their applause .
The birth of social-media is both a blessing and a curse for entertainers.
- A blessing because you can reach hundreds of people with a joke or story very quickly
- A curse because you crave their applause (more about that tomorrow)
Websites like Facebook eventually became a place where I could entertain people and get their applause. This created the never-ending search for “God stories.”
A God story is one where God did something absolutely amazing, they are often very emotional, and transparent (sharing how the Lord brought us through a personal struggle)
God stories were created to focus our eyes on the Lord (He is our source of strength) but in my case they were doing the exact opposite (focusing eyes on me) .
There’s just one problem with that
God stories don’t come every day
In fact as we start using them for our own glory (getting an emotional response from others) God will take His power away from us .
The craving for the applause of others (emotional response to my stories) combined with the loss of God stories resulted in my not communicating on social-media at all. Over time this created a belief that all of my updates or posts had to include a God story.
Play this out to the end and you will realize (like I did) that the reality you share online is nothing like the real world.
Only sharing God stories gave the idea that Missions, and the Christian life in particular are just one awesome experience after another with no bad days at all. Of course nothing could be farther from the truth since life will always include painful experiences.
My greatest fear is that Christians will start following the Lord expecting everything to be awesome because of my stories, and then become discouraged and depressed because of Satan’s attacks. It’s much better to share what missions really looks like.
The thing is people don’t applaud when we share the random or painful experiences of life, and those stories rarely bring the house down. Yet those are the posts that prepare people for the real world.
- The strange thing is I’m a pretty introverted person by nature (was really shy in High School) but in front of a large crowd I turned into “entertaining John.” ↩
- laughter or other emotional response ↩
- As a Missionary God stories are especially important because you can share them in email or social-media updates and use as a proof the Lord’s blessing is upon your ministry. ↩
- we never lose the presence of God, but if I’m rebelling against Him the Lord obviously won’t bless me ↩