It’s 2:00am on the morning of American Idol auditions, and I am remembering who I really am, and I’m switching my audition song… again.  This will be the third time I’ve changed my main “audition song” in the past 24 hours.  Mostly I’ve been thinking about what is a good fit for my voice, what I think the judges will know, and what I know how to sing, but none of those are the most important thing.

They say over and over again in the FAQs, message boards, etc., that the most important thing is to “just be yourself”, to be “authentic”, and it occurs to me that even without trying, the tendency to quietly slip into the molds we think other people want us in is ever-present, and has caught up with me already.

You see, I am a Christian.  More than that, in fact, because that term has been so diluted and confused with all the “cultural Christianity” and misconceptions of what true salvation is.  I am a Christ-follower. I gave up my life long ago, only to have it replaced with a new one the follows a different path.  Now, for me to “be myself” means that in everything I do I seek to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ.  Therefore, if the most important thing is to be authentic, then the most important thing is not for me to pick the song that I think will push me forward, but the one that Jesus places in my heart to be a true and faithful witness to Him.

All around me, such dreams, such fears, such hope, such insecurities!  All around me are calls from the peddlers of ideas, all trying to sell some idea of how to find personal worth and feel like I have value.  Here’s the thing… the drive to “be something” has at its core a desperate need to prove to the world by my accomplishments that I have value.  It says that my worth is determined by my status, fame, money, achievement, etc., and that to really matter I must make a good showing for those around me.  Think about this… thousands and thousands of people will audition tomorrow, and many more thousands in other upcoming locations, because they are following their dream and want to “be something”.

Have you realized though, how there are HUGE problems with this mindset?  If I am to be evaluated on the basis of my accomplishments, whose criteria am I measured against?  How do I know what it is and when it changes, and how long my “measurement” will last before having to re-prove myself again?  It’s madness!  In the midst of trying to “be something” comes the subtle fear that whatever I achieve or become, it won’t be enough, because there will always be something greater, someone better.

No, this is not how I am called to live; not who I am called to be!  I am called to be one thing: a true and faithful witness of Jesus Christ.  My worth is found in my position in Him and His possession of me, period.  Whether I win or lose, whether I triumph or fail, whether my name is known to many or few, I have value and worth and identity in Him, and that is all that matters.

When “tomorrow” morning comes (it’s really just later today), the most important thing is not that I sing with passion and vocal clarity, that I hit the notes right or make good eye contact.  The most important thing is not that I pick the song the judges want to hear, that I remember all the words and pronounce them right.  The MOST important thing is that I am a true and faithful witness of Jesus Christ in everything, from my presence to my answers to the song that I sing.  Disregarding all other things, all other hopes, all other ideas or criteria or advice, I must be true to myself, and come what may, the only way to do that is this: to be true to Him.

Phillip Gonzales
7/9/09