Who are the folks in your audience? It's an important question that needs an intentional answer.
We all have an audience maybe it's our co-workers, friends, followers, teammates, or our families. Now, more than ever, we have the largest audiences because of how interconnected our world is. The depth of our audience can be one of our biggest blessings or one of our biggest downfalls. I think, at one time, we could pick our audience especially when we were younger, we didn't have jobs and social media wasn't a thing. However, now we have audiences that we don't get to pick and opinions that we don't ask for.
Recently I received an email from an anonymous person, who spoke some unkind words about me. Initially, my heart began racing and I felt my body tense but as I read I knew this person was speaking absolute untruths about who I am and how I conduct myself. However, this person was very hurt by how some people approach social media and blogging, which I can understand. They were frustrated with the digital world, which I also completely understand. Although it felt like an attack against me and my character I think this person was ultimately just hurt and frustrated and they took it out of me. And guess what? I'm happy they did.
I learned that I need to know who my audience is and I was reminded that there is always something to be learned even when it hurts.
I've self-defined audience as people I look for to receive criticism and praise. Sounds a little odd at first, I know, but we need accountability. Ultimately, I only want to honor the Lord, with my words, actions, relationships, time, and choices. He is my audience and I can check myself by looking to His word. Asking myself questions like, "Sydney is the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart acceptable to the Lord?" (Psalm 19:14)
Then, I've got my earthly audience, who I pick only if they are first aligned with my heavenly audience otherwise...they don't have a ticket to the show. I need people in my audience that will encourage me when I'm living for the Lord and confront me when my material (words, relationships, choices, actions...etc.) isn't aligning with the abundance that the Lord desires from me and for me.
If I choose to water down the quality of my audience I'm only allowing the weapons of the world to have a hold on me. The weapons of the world are the weapons of the devil, who only comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). By increasing the number of folks I look to for praise I'm also increasing the number of folks who I'm giving the authority to criticize me.
The world will only end up asking more from me in order for me to receive more praise. I constantly remind myself that the praise from the world is unfulfilling. But Jesus is Fulfillment.
Hear me out, THE audience will always be filled with praise and criticism from people who are rooted in jealously, judgment, harsh words, and other vessels that steal, kill and destroy you BUT (BIG OLE BUT) YOUR audience will also always be filled with praise and criticism from people who are rooted in the Lord and what He calls you to. It's up to you, my friend, we don't get to pick who is in the audience but we do get to pick who is in our (YOURS & MY) audience.
**The person who wrote the rude email has reached out to me and apologized. I have no ill will towards this person and believe that their initial intention was good, but with poor delivery (emotion can do that to us).