I finally have begun editing (and rewriting) the first draft of the my book, Finding Balance in the Circus of Life. I thought I would share another circus character from the book with you (if you missed the first three, you can find the ringmaster here, the clown here and the trapeze artist here).
There she sits, the woman in the glittery dress, riding bareback on a white stallion. All eyes are on her, marveling at her beauty. She waves a princess wave, preens a bit, draws the attention to herself. Divas need that spotlight. And they’ll do whatever it takes to stay in it.
Let’s face it; many of us love being the center of attention. We may not be beauties, but we desire recognition as a star, whether for our brains, our sense of humor, our competency, our superior parenting skills, or our hard work. Are you someone who wants others to notice your efforts, to validate you with their applause? Do you live for that validation of your worth?
The problem is, that attention is fleeting. Too soon the elephants come clomping in or a mini car filled with clowns rolls by, and our moment in the spotlight is gone.
In Helen Fielding’s book Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, Olivia, the main character, has 16 rules for living. Number two is “No one is thinking about you. They’re thinking about themselves; just like you.” That explains why it’s often so hard to remember the name of the person we were just introduced to. We weren’t really thinking about them. We were thinking about what they might be thinking of us.
We are selfish creatures. All of us. That makes it hard for the diva to ever get enough attention. She is always trying one more stunt, one more push for perfection, to capture just a few more minutes of fame. But it never lasts.
God’s ideal for us isn’t the pursuit of personal glory. He created us wonderfully, but not so we can receive the glory. In Isaiah 42:8, he says, “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another.” We will never be satisfied when we are seeking glory for ourselves because glory doesn’t belong to us.
When we pursue the glory meant for God, we end up desperate. We resemble the too-old former bombshell dressed in inappropriate clothing with make-up applied with a trowel. People are embarrassed by our neediness and turn away. And we get even less attention.
We resent the person who is now the darling, getting all the attention. We get snarky, trying to bring her down. We trust no one and no one trusts us, and we are lonelier still.
God wants our lives to have purpose. As we fulfill that purpose we find satisfaction in being part of God’s plan. It’s a joy that doesn’t rely on the attention or praise of others. Instead we find ourselves as part of a community, working together for God’s glory.
No grasping for fame required.