I was watching some of the auditions from this past weeks X-Factor USA show on Fox. It was interesting to see the various reactions from the contestants. Those whose talent was not what the judges were looking for found their dreams of stardom, fame and riches dashed upon the rocks of the judges comments. Those whose talents did move the judges and audience found that many of their fears were unfounded and that their dreams could be attained.
While the sociologically interesting components of the X-Factor are a common thread with other shows of the “Reality Show” genre, there was something that struck me in a subtle way as I watched the critiques of each act. Why were so many of those that didn’t “have it” feel so crushed by the reality that their aspirations may have been misplaced? Could it be that, for whatever reason, someone was not willing to lovingly tell them that this may not have been for them? Even thinking these words seems so cruel. And yet, if we stay at this level we are failing to understand that there is something very real at work in these misguided motivations.
Within each of us there is a deep longing that must be satisfied. This longing is given to us by God, not so that we will be satisfied within our own selves, but rather that we might be satisfied in Him. Every heart, from the smallest child to the senior most member of society needs to have this longing satisfied. And sadly, too often we risk genuine satisfaction and allow ourselves to be fooled by a hopeless substitute.
What is this deep longing? Many of you have felt it. I have searched for it most of my life as I have struggled to make sense of who I am and what I am supposed to do. It is the longing that causes most people to sacrifice integrity, personality and even dignity.
This longing is AFFIRMATION.
What is affirmation? It is the simple and indispensable need of every person to know that their uniqueness is good! As I have watched these reality shows I have seen this common thread through them all. There are so many people in this world that need affirmation. They are looking for someone, for anyone, to tell them that they have something within them that needs to be shared.
The danger of these shows is that we have allowed the world’s value system to reduce to a few categories what should be considered as valuable. I, more than most people, would love to be able to sing with such power and passion that people would pay to hear me, but I don’t have that gift or talent. So, for me to seek affirmation in that way would be a futile and damaging endeavor.
I pray that those of us who have found our identity in Christ would stop perpetuating these false hopes and expectations upon the next generation. Until we do, we will not see the kind of living that God sent Jesus to this earth to provide for us.
I have provided the video of the audition that sparked these thoughts. Enjoy! This young lady is talented and potentially has a promising career in the entertainment industry. You can see upon her face what the words of affirmation do to raise the human spirit.