Wednesday, February 7, 2018

When the Applause Stops

When you are at the top, it is easy to ignore the brokenness you know exists within. When everyone shares with you how broken they are, day in and day out, your "controlled brokenness" doesn't seem so bad. "Of course, we are all broken but at least I have mine under control." Let alone the praise and applause that comes from being on top. "You can't be that broken, look at how everyone adores you".

These aren't lies, really, as much as they are deterrents. Maybe you were better off than a lot of people maybe you did have it together more than most. But the applause and the "likes" drown out the noise of the inner self. It can drown out even your religious or moral conflicts.

I knew there were things inside of me that I was not dealing with, but I'm sure there were worse people doing and thinking worse things. I hope you can see all the PRIDE that is hidden away in this.

My pride came from soaring high, early. I had outdone most of my peers financially, morally, religiously, and academically. Out working and producing people twice my age, and giving advice and coaching people and organizations. I had much older peers in my world telling me how much better I was and my product was than most of the country.

When the applause becomes that loud you quit doing the things that actually got you to where you were. I wasn't lazy in comparison to those around me, but I had sold my self-short. I had become partially satisfied with what I had done so far.

Then the halo broke.....

It got real quiet real fast!
The phone stopped ringing. The emails stopped rolling in. The facebook likes went to almost nothing. People I used to get work from when I needed it, wouldn't touch me. Just commenting on a social media thread would end a discussion. I could feel the awkward stares at the store. The eyes that said "Who are you?" burned through my soul.

They never knew me. They knew the public me, they knew the "me" that was useful to them, but now that they have seen a glimpse of my "Dark Passenger" (Dexter was so fantastic) they couldn't believe that I was just like them. I was no longer useful to them, I was no longer a means to whatever end they desired or that I was once able to produce for them.

For a while, the silence is liberating. Finally some space!!! It doesn't take long for us, who once thrived on the acceptance and love of others, to miss the noise of the applause. I would find myself looking at my phone knowing full well there wasn't an email worth reading, or a social media tag to follow up on. Didn't need to check voicemail or even have my ringer on. When my halo broke I thought about changing my number but realized pretty quickly that was unnecessary because no one was calling.

When the applause stops you can finally hear what is going on inside. Whatever noble reason you thought you were once living for comes into focus and I realized I hadn't lived for the cause in a long time. I lived for the win. My entire career became about proving people wrong, and finding some source of adrenaline. I was never happy with status quo. I was satisfied with my personal status quo, but I was constantly chasing someone or something only to find that when I got there, if I got there, that there was just another person or organization to chase.

What are you supposed to do with this?
My hope is to provide the reader with some sort of application and not just my ramblings. SO what do you do if you find your self surrounded by applause?

If I could go back, I would have gotten out before I broke. Most people aren't wired that way. I thought about it at least once a month for the last few years. Who do you even tell? Everyone is cheering you on and pushing you forward. The reality is that those I did tell I wanted out didn't believe me. Some of the closest people to me didnt beleieve me, so here is what you have to do. Make them believe you! In the end those people are going to move on to cheer on the next big thing and you will picking up the pieces alone. Get out while it's still an option and you have your dignity.

It is far less damaging to swallow your pride and say I can't do this anymore, than it is to have everything youve worked for stripped from you. 


  1. Thank you for sharing your brokenness. I pray that through blogging about your brokenness that you are able to find healing in your journey. You talk about pride throughout this post. I think pride is something everyone struggles with, especially in religious circles. It is difficult due to the fact that when others give the applause about your work and accomplishments, our pride goes up while our humility goes down.

    On a similar note, I think, "How much of a platform do others put religious leaders on?" So many times I think that the success and growth of any ministry has been focus on the personality, skill, and boldness of a leader. If that is true (which i have a hunch it is) it puts a lot of pressure to keep our personas on while inside we are struggling and are scared to be open and honest for the fear of losing our position, influence, and experiencing the silence and shunning of the audience we are trying to transform into Christ.

    When I look at the Scriptures, we see so many verses about the morality of a leader and how a leader should conduct his Godly lifestyle. I can remember doing a huge by-law change and looking at the section on "The Character of Pastors and Elders." Even though every section was rooted in the Word, another college said, "I don't think any elder or minister can live up to this standard." He was right. When I think about Morality I look to Paul's writings in Romans 7:14-25. I call it the "do-do" passage. Paul talks about the struggle of the law of the flesh and the law of God. He is a wretched man, but gives thanks to God for Jesus Christ to deliver him from this. Even though one may be a religious leader, they are not Jesus. We are still have brokenness, and struggle with sin, and give in to temptations. The church has become a social club for saints then a subway of sinners. If we want to see brokenness healed, we have to allow Jesus to transform us and act as ambassadors to those who are broken. It is the ambassador part that the church fails at, especially when it comes to church leaders who decide to take of the mask and share their brokenness or it breaks off.

    I hope my ramblings give encouragement and hope, because that is the way it was intended. If any of my words rub you the wrong way, I apologize in advance, because do not intend to bring more pain, but to be an ally to support your healing journey.

  2. Well said. The ability to reflect and determine when it is best to put some endeavor to rest before utterly failing is one that many people in our fast-paced, competitive society lack.