Thursday, January 17, 2013

An Audience Of One

I'm not really sure how to start this post, but I know where I want to go with it, so please stick with me.  As many of you know, I'm a former pageant girl.  I spent six years of my life training, working, practicing, sweating, dieting and sacrificing in an effort to become Miss Kentucky. Ultimately, the Lord had other plans in store for me, but I am so grateful for the friendships, the memories, and the lessons I have taken away from my experience in pageantry.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, pageants single handedly prepared me for my career in television more than any other training I received.  Please, don't get me wrong.  I attended one of the most elite and intense journalism programs in the nation at Western Kentucky University where I recieved a solid education and unparalleled training for the field.  My internship at WTVQ in Lexington, Kentucky gave me a real life look into the demands, the deadlines, the scrutiny and the nature of the business.  Without either my college training or internship experience, I would have not made in the world of journalism.

However, it was pageants that  taught me two lessons that I could not have learned otherwise.  The first is how to talk and think on my feet.  Can you say, "interview?"  I was drilled on every topic you can imagine from my favorite actor to my opinion on abortion and gay marriage.  I was expect to present my opinion quickly with knowledgeable and well round answers, and I was prepared to defend that opinion graciously and passionately.  Fast forward almost ten years, and I'm using those skills on a daily basis to host  two 30 minute talk shows, neither of which are aided by a teleprompter.  Ya'll, no amount of college training could have prepared me for that.    

The second and probably most important lesson I learned from pageants was to have thick skin.  By nature I am extremely tender hearted.  I take things personally, and I want to please those around me. But pageants aren't for the faint of heart.  Judges, directors, coaches, other contestants, and their moms will rip you apart.  They will talk about you, make fun of you, and put you down in a heartbeat.  I don't have horror stories of dresses being destroyed or talents being sabvataged, but I can tell you the stories of countless people I know whose self esteem, dreams, and even businesses have been destroy thanks to the vicious gossip and bullying that occurred on message boards and other internet site.  Of course that was back in my day.  I can't imagine what these girls go through now.

I have to admit that despite my best efforts, I let the opinion of others effect me.  It was a cycle that went something like this: sad, angry, motivated.  I was never one who wanted revenge, but I was one who used the negativity to fuel my ambitions. I'm not implying that my reaction was bad; I'm just proving that words do indeed hurt, and they can carry a heavy punch.  Fast forward with me to my internship for television.  One of the reporters (who I'm now happy to call a friend) warned me that pageants have nothing on the world of journalism.  I assumed she meant ambitious co-workers who will stab you in the back to get ahead. And for the record, that's part of it...only part.

I have received nasty, horrible, rotten, emails from viewers who are just plain mean.  Here are some of them:

"Nice try on the wardrobe today, but it was a mess.  Maybe you should try a professional stylist."

" Morgan Watson used to be cute and sexy, but she popped out a kid and looks like a hag now."

"You wear frumpy, out dated clothing."

"You aren't modest enough.  You should not wear skirts."

" Morgan Watson is an epic failure."

"You sound stupid and uneducated on television."

"Your arms are huge."

"You look like a cow in a dress."

These are just a few examples of how cruel people can be.  At least in pageants I could chalk it up to competition.  That's not the case now, some people are just plain mean.

  At the end of the day, I have chosen this career.  I put myself before an audience every single day, and that subjects to me to uninvited comments and scrutiny.  It's the nature of the business, and I can either accept it and move on, or I can shut down and get out.

I would love to tell you that I don't let these words effect me, but that simply isn't true.  While I don't cry myself to sleep like I did back in those pageants days, I do sometimes entertain such neagative thoughts leading myself to question whether the viewers are right. "Am I too fat?"  "Do I look like a hag?"  "Do I sound like an idiot?"

 Ultimatley, I'm a different place in my life that I was in those pageant days which means that despite my intitial reaction to such comments from viewers, I am quickly able to dismiss them.  This is in part to the years of maturity I've gained, the security, acceptance, and encouragement I recieve from my husband, the realization that my role as wife and mother are much more immportant than any other title or position I could hold, and so on.

However, I am convienced that this shift in thinking is due mostly to my growth in Christ.  He tells me:


"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." - Colossians 3:23
So you see, I want to urge you to work for an audience of one.
If you're a young woman working for the applause of your peers, stop right now.  The only one who knows how beautiful, how talented, how smart, how witty and how precious you truly are, it your Creator in Heaven, and he tells you that you were fearfully and wonderfully made.  Believe him.
If you're a single woman working for the approval of a man in your life, stop right now.  Let  Jesus be the lover of your soul.  Let him be the author of your romance.  Live for him with your whole heart, and you will be satisified.
If you're a newlywed working for the approval of those perfect blog wives and pinterest homemakers, stop right now.  Fill your walls with the love of Christ.  Let him build your home with the love, peace and joy that can only be found in his presence, and it will far exceed the luxury of that house on the magazine cover. After all he tells us, "unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it."
If you're a struggling momma, stop living for the approval of other women.  Raise your babies for the glory of your own Father in Heaven.  Afterall, he knitted them in your womb and he knows the plans he has for them.  Be apart making those plans unfold, and your children will become the individuals the Lord wants them to be.
No matter what season of life your in right now, my challenge to you is to live your live for the audeince of one...Christ Jesus our Lord. 

In case your wondering, I had yet another blow last night from this wonderful world of news.  Rather than getting upset, losing sleep, or over analyzing it, I turned it over to the Lord and that is where my burden has stayed.  However, he stirred this message in my heart, and I wanted to pass it along to you tonight.  
   


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