When You Feel the Need to Impress

My hand-eye coordination is about the worst thing you can witness minus the acting abilities of Keanu Reeves in Much Ado About Nothing. Sorry. But Shakespeare and Keanu? Just no.

But seriously. I have zero coordination. The fact I played JV softball in high school says more about the compassion of our coach than my prowess as a player. Though our team never won a game (another blog for another day), there was one thing I could do.

Miracle of miracles, I could hit the ball.

Though I wasn’t your homerun hitter, I rarely struck out.


Fast forward five years. College intermural softball. I signed up to play on a team with a hot guy I was dating. He was the pitcher. And it turns out he became Prince Charming.

Our first practice and my one-day-husband pitched. I never hit a single ball. There, in front of the entire team, I choked. Big time. My nerves were a mess. What was everyone going to think? I just knew everyone wondered why I was even there.

I was angry. I was frustrated. I was defeated.

When I’d showed up to practice, I had one goal–to prove myself to a group of friends. Instead I proved nothing.

That afternoon on the intermural fields of Florida State became a metaphor for my life.

You see, I have a drive to impress and a desire for affirmation. Always. I’m not sure why those roots extend so deep. Maybe it was Lake of Fire known as middle school. Or the group of friends who turned their backs on me senior year. Or possibly seminary classes filled with men.

Whatever it is, I’ve always wanted approval.

When I choked on the softball fields? My attention had been on the crowd. I wanted to impress and awe those watching. I wish I could say a lot has changed in almost 20 years.

Still, I struggle with the need to impress.

Instead? I need to learn the power of an audience of One.

Once practice was over that day so long ago, I looked at Michael and told him he was going to pitch to me until I hit the dang ball. He didn’t have a choice.

We went to the batting cage. It was just my love and I. He pitched, and I hit every ball he threw. Every one.

What made the difference? My audience had shifted from a group of individuals, acquaintances, to one—my Prince Charming. It was an audience of acceptance no matter what. His view of me didn’t quake or tremor based on my lackluster skills.

There is a King. A Heavenly Father. One who loves unconditionally and without reservation. I cannot earn His approval. I cannot work hard enough, be good enough, perform fast enough to deserve His love.

I can’t do enough because He already does.

He is my audience of One.

When I sink into His presence, the crowd fades. My desire to impress becomes a pin-prick spec on the horizon. I find gulps of air when I no longer stare at crowds but look into the eyes of my Creator.

I’ll strike out in an audience of thousands because I can never be enough for the world. I can never please all the people.

I’ll still choke. I’ll still miss the mark.

But my audience of One? My Jesus? For Him, I’m already enough.

I don’t have to prove anything to Him. I just have to love Him. In that loving my Audience smiles.

And the pressure’s gone.

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5 Responses to When You Feel the Need to Impress

  1. andylee71647 says:

    Girl, we are such kindred uncoordinated spirits. 🙂 love you!

  2. Beth says:

    thank you for those inspiring words today when I’m feeling discouraged.

    • Dena says:

      I had a moment of nostalgia reading this tonight! I too played softball at FSU as a Theta but with Intramural sports. God Bless!

  3. Tara says:

    Thank you for your beautiful, candid words. You have been ministering to my heart.

  4. Lynn says:

    Keanu and Shakespeare? No. Nathan Fillion in anything? YES!