Thursday, October 4, 2012

American Idol Culture

I like reality shows, but minimally. My husband and I are half-watching The Voice this season. We catch American Idol every, oh, five seasons or so. I'll watch Dancing with the Stars if there's a celebrity I like. (My husband refuses to watch that one because of the half-naked women. Good man, that one.) We're not super attached to these types of shows, but we find them interesting if they're on.

The one thing I don't like about these shows is the viewer voting element. Suddenly, everything is about what the public thinks. Not just reality shows, either. If you want to win an online contest—everything from grants for charities to cutest baby—you have to have people vote for your entry. It's a popularity contest, but worse. If I can get people to vote because they know me, then they may not even care about my cause or know if it's worthy; they'll just click the button because I asked.

Vote for us! We need to know we're cute, officially,
since Mom is obviously biased.
The problem I see with this is that there are causes that are more worthwhile than others, people who are more talented than others, babies who are cuter than others. Yes, I'm a mom, so clearly my kids are the cutest in the world (even when my daughter's not wearing a hair bow and therefore looks a little like a boy), but I can at least admit that I'm biased.

Back in the day, these things were decided by experts. Or, at least, a panel of qualified people who had the opportunity to look at every entry and were encouraged to be as objective as possible in choosing a winner. Essay contests were judged by English teachers and authors. Dance competitions were judged by dancers and dance teachers. Someone who had experience in the event being judged. It wasn't all chosen by strangers on the Interweb.

I'm so glad God doesn't run things like a reality show. I'm going to be judged one day. What if God said, "OK, everybody call or text 'GO' to 1-800-555-HEVN to send Rachel up, or 1-800-555-HELL to send Rachel down. Voting ends at 10pm, so get your votes in now!"


My friends would get all of their friends to call the first number. People I may have wronged along the way would get all of their friends to choose the latter. And they would still only get the people who had the time on their hands to make the call. It would all be up in the air based on what the world thought of me. It would be terrifying.

Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure—you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. - Psalm 7:9-10

I'm so grateful that my Judge is an expert on the heart. He knows the real Rachel, knows my love for Christ, knows exactly who I am and who I'm trying to be. Everything is settled. I can have peace about it. It doesn't matter what the world thinks as long as I'm trying to live up to God's expectations and do my best.

If only it were that easy.

Even though it doesn't matter what the world thinks in the long run, I still seem to care about it. It's the worst.  It affects how I act and who I am. It affects my confidence. Some days I'm not even sure I would vote for me. It's such a hard thing to overcome.

If this is something you struggle with, too, head over to my friend Carey Scott's blog.Yes, I know I'm redirecting you instead of giving you answers right here, but it's a really good one. It's about taking every thought captive. We need to do that if we're going to stop doubting and fearing and all that rot. We have to remember that we always have God's vote—and his love.

Do you struggle with the American Idol mentality of caring what the world thinks? 


  1. Good post. :) It really encouraged me today. :)

  2. Oh. my. word. I just read this then had to check the date on it. I wrote about my struggle with this the day before you wrote this! :) I definitely rely on what other people think of me and I HATE that about myself!

    You are right, of course. God knows our heart. And He really is the only one that matters. Even that can be hard though. Especially if I feel like I've failed in some way as a Christian. But even on my WORST day, God loves me. He's just so great, isn't He?

    This is so good. :)

    1. After I wrote this, I actually found several other posts within the past few days that dealt with this topic. I guess when God wants something to hit home, he knows how to get the job done!

    2. I agree! :) It seems like when He's teaching me something, it shows up everywhere!


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