What’s my motive?

Originally appeared online in the teen series Your Healings -  April 2, 2024.

I love participating in the arts—I dance, act, sing, and play an instrument. I’m even thinking about musical theater as a career, so I joined a local Christian youth theater company to continue my singing training. This theater company also asked me to be part of a worship team, where I sing Christian songs with a small acoustic band every Saturday morning.  

I was excited to have this opportunity and began diligently practicing the songs I was assigned. I felt good about my performance when I sang with the group. But I also felt I was approaching rehearsals in a way that really stressed me out. Soon, I realized why. 

During one practice, we were discussing whether we should change the song order or even add a new song on the fly. There were some concerns about this, and some people in the group felt that it might not be a good idea because our voices would be unprepared and the songs under-practiced. 

I was approaching my rehearsals in a way that really stressed me out.

But then someone said something really interesting: It doesn’t matter whether we sound perfect or not. It’s not a performance; it’s worship, which is really about glorifying God. I’ve learned in Christian Science Sunday School that God created us in His image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27). This means we glorify God by expressing Him. So the talents I’m expressing are not mine; they’re God’s qualities individually reflected in me. 

This made so much sense to me, and it was clear what I had been doing wrong. I’d been looking at this as a chance to perform and to show off what I thought was my talent, when my motive should have been to glorify God. I’d had a desire to be applauded for my gifts and efforts, and that’s what had been driving me. 

I thought about how I love singing hymns in Sunday School and how that has always felt more about glorifying God than performing. And it is never stressful. So it made sense to me that when I changed my motive from performing to glorifying, the performances wouldn’t feel stressful anymore. 

I also thought about this assurance from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 494). It can be tempting to chase the lead role when participating in a show or other performance. But no matter what I might think I want or need in terms of a role, vocal part, or dance number, it’s divine Love, God, that is meeting every need in just the right way, and I can trust that. My talents will always be put to use perfectly—and so will everyone else’s. This idea took the pressure off my auditions and performances.

These insights led me to think about my motives for every activity I participate in. As God’s reflection, I never need to demonstrate my skills with any extra effort or focus on myself. I’ve felt more comfort since this realization because I know that I’ll always be in the right place to glorify God with my God-reflected talents. I couldn’t ask for more.

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