Why Applause Doesn’t Make You Somebody



In a recent episode of America’s Got Talent, Paul Potts, the first winner of Britain’s Got Talent, talked about the impact winning had on his life. He said, “I walked onto that stage a nobody and left it as somebody.”  The crowd erupted in applause, and the judges nodded in agreement — but my heart broke.

I wanted to reach through the screen and tell Mr. Potts he was a somebody long before he walked on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent. Perhaps, he was not well known. Maybe he wasn’t asked to sing for the queen or to perform all over the world. Likely, only a handful of people knew he could sing and appreciated the gift he had been given. But, he was not a nobody.

From the moment God formed Paul Potts in his mother’s womb, he was a somebody. He mattered. He had value. He didn’t need the accolades of thousands of people to be somebody. He didn’t need people to cheer for him. He didn’t need to sell millions of albums. He didn’t need people to know his name. He was already known, already cared for, already beloved.

“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NIV)

Someday the voice of Paul Potts will be a distant memory. The next person will step onto the stage, and Paul will be forgotten by the crowds that cheer for him today. If his worth is truly found in the applause of others, he will be left as he was before — a nobody.

The opinions of people are fickle. One day they love, the next day they hate. Even Jesus experienced this.

“One day he rode a donkey into the city as the people threw down their coats and palm branches and yelled, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” Matthew 21:9 (NIV)

Less than a week later, the same people shouted, “Crucify him!” The man they had loved only days before was nailed to a cross.

What if Jesus had found his value in the opinions of others? Would he have been able to stay nailed to the cross that day? Perhaps, he would have called down the angels to save him, unable to bear the weight of the crowds disgust and hatred. Eternity would have been forever changed.

But, Jesus knew a secret about self-love. He knew his value, his worth, his identity was not found in the crowd, but in the Father.

Before Jesus began his ministry, he was baptized in water. Many people were baptized, but something special happened as Jesus came up out of the water.

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!” Matthew 3:16-17 (NIV)

The Father could not contain His love for the Son! Heaven was opened and out poured the Spirit of God. It was as if the very love and pleasure of God spilled from heaven onto Jesus.

Have you ever had a moment like that with God? A moment where the love of God was poured out on you? A moment where you knew without a shadow of a doubt you were unconditionally, unexplainably, undeniably LOVED?

We need that moment. We need the love of God to fill our hearts, fill our souls, fill every crack and crevice of our beings. We cannot be whole without it.

We must seek it, as if searching for buried treasure. We must long for it, as a deer longs for water. We must desire it above all else.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

If we do not receive that love from God, we will seek to find that love from people. Unfortunately, unless God’s love is our foundation, even the most beautiful love story will have a tragic ending.

True self-love is drawn from a heart that says, “I can love myself because I am loved by my Heavenly Father. I have value because God values me. I am important because I am important to God. I am loved because I am loved by God.”

Take a moment and ask God to pour out His love on you. Wait on Him. Allow Him the opportunity to speak into your life. Read the Bible. Write His words on your heart by memorizing the truth of Scripture. Sit in silence and ask God to speak to you. Listen. Hear his voice. Let His love wash over you.

Self-love that is pure and rooted in the love of God says, “I came to this stage a somebody and whether you applaud me or not, I will walk away a somebody!”

Kelly is a wife and mother of five children living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She is an ordained minister and author of PAUSED: Protecting Your Faith When God Says "Wait" and Pursuit: The Cross. For more info visit: kellyjoy.org