Yes, you’ve been here before…another stage, another age, preparing for the role of a lifetime.  This time all the rules have changed.  You don’t know what you can count on, you don’t know if you can even step into the best light or create the most positive performance.  You don’t know if everyone else can carry off their lines well enough to make you look good or if you can do a job that will send the audience into a frenzy and put a star on your door.  You don’t know because the stage is never the same when you enter it.  It looks different.  The scenery has changed, the faces only seem vaguely familiar, and though your routine is still good, you don’t know if any one values it any more?  Stage fright!

Whatever stage you’re in, whatever your area of expertise, you can find yourself bringing the house down one minute and have trouble being an extra the next.  Listening to a recent interview between Larry King and Whoopi Goldberg, I was awed at the idea that enormously talented people can lose their jobs, their opportunities, their stage presence simply because they hold different ideologies, or focus on views that may not be popular.  It’s an interesting world and all of us slip into vulnerable spaces without even knowing how we got there, no matter what celebrity status we may have enjoyed.   We begin a new stage whether we meant to or not.  So what’s the hope, what’s the possibility?

That’s where I go back and lean on hope itself.  Hebrews tells us that faith is being sure of what we hope for, being certain of what we cannot see.  Okay then, I can’t see the future, but if I rest in Jeremiah 29, I can at least take comfort in the plan, the one where God says He’ll give us a hope and a future, meant for our good.  Hope then is a key component to how we act when we take the stage of our lives.  Every minute we’re playing a role, CEOs of our own lives, stars in our own drama and how we perform is really up to us.  No one else can do quite what you do.  No one else can deliver your lines and your facial expressions and your sensitivity that brings us all to tears and laughter.  You’re it.  You’re the one who makes a difference.

If you’re experiencing a bit of stage fright today, it’s understandable.  Look at it, laugh at it maybe, and then embrace it.  Hold on to what you know to be true.  Grab the center stage and tell them to lift the curtain because you’re ready to go out there and give your all.  Nothing can really stop you.  Nothing can change what is inside you.  God gave you a talent, a heart, a hope that no one else on this planet has.  That’s why you’re the star, the real star of your life.

If you hear some clapping today, it’s me, celebrating you and chasing away the stage fright.  You’ve got it…time to put your name up in lights…God’s light…because you’re a veteran of the stage.  Bravo!