What “The Voice” Taught Me About God

I love the television show The Voice. 

The season begins with “blind auditions,” which go like this:

Judges sit with their backs to the contestant,
Contestant walks on stage and sings.

The goal of the contestant is to perform so well that they catch the attention of one of the judges. If a judge(s) likes what he/she hears, they hit their big red button, their big red chair turns around and the contestant chooses a judge to coach them in the competition.

The show’s production is great. It’s not like American Idol, where they let any and every crazy person audition. Only solid singers perform on The Voice.

The production staff interviews a handful of contestants each week, which lets the viewers connect with them. But their performances don’t always connect with a judge.

The song ends, the big red chairs revolve, the judges offer some parting words of encouragement, and the contestant takes “the walk of shame.”

It kinda takes me back to my elementary school playground when I wasn’t chosen for dodgeball.

sad child

As I watched the blind auditions, I had an interesting thought:

Some people go through life like this,
performing in hopes of being chosen or accepted.

That isn’t always bad, especially when you have goals. A good performance will help land a lucrative job or a starting position on a team.

But when you perform to win approval …

performing for the “cool kids” by doing certain things …
performing for a committee by adopting certain attitudes …

Or you perform to win someone’s love …

People who accept or love you based on your performance
will reject you when the performance stops.

(click that to tweet it!)

Some people approach God in a similar fashion. They picture Him on His throne, with His back to them.

young people volunteering with homelessSo they perform. Attending church, donating to charities, helping the less fortunate, etc. Good deeds, good words, good whatever, hoping God will turn around and choose them.

God doesn’t work that way. The good performance is fine, but He’s not impressed with any of it and He certainly wouldn’t turn around for it.

In fact, it’s like filthy rags.

Or singing off-key.

But He does turn around for Someone…

There’s One Who stands with arms outstretched, waiting for you. The minute you trust Jesus as Savior, it’s as if you hand Him your microphone and let Him sing for you.

The minute God hears His Son’s voice, He turns around.
And because of Jesus, He chooses you.

Are you performing for God? Hoping your good deeds will get you to heaven?
Or are you trusting in Jesus? Knowing you’ll never be good enough to get God’s attention?

Jesus said,
“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
~John 14:6

May the truth of the Gospel transform you:

Jesus died so that you might live.

What are you looking forward to in eternity?

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After spending the better part of 2013 searching for relief from my foot pain, I had surgery (Jan 9th). The first week was painful, but thankfully I’m on the mend and off my crutches.

The boot, I’m afraid, is here to stay for a while.

It’s all-good and will be worth it when I’m back to exercising in the spring, hopefully without pain. In the meantime, I’m schlepping this crazy boot. Believe it or not, this thing preaches to me.

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I have a knack of turning something sobering into something silly.

I don’t mean to. Really. I know it’s important to be fully present and feel the weight of the moment, but for some reason my contemplative self passes the baton to my snarky self and off she goes.

One of the most sobering things of late has been my mom’s stroke. Few things upend your family’s world like a stroke does.

For years I recorded prayer requests of stroke victims and their families. And I prayed for them, but I had no idea what they went through.

Now I do.

Now I know some of the struggles and decisions and heartaches. I also know you can find joy where you least expect it. Like in the emergency room.

Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Debbie

    You had with the title of this post Susan! I simply had to click and …read.

    I love to watch The Voice too. And your words are so true. How easy it can be to perform to please. We must remember that He already chose us in Jesus. How thankful I am the when God looks at me He sees Jesus. A beautiful reminder!

    Blessings and love,

    • Susan

      “When He looks at me He sees Jesus” – what an amazing and unfathomable miracle that is! So glad you stopped by today, Debbie. It’s fun to see who else is a fan of The Voice!

  2. Tereasa

    Very well written, Susan. I still struggle with this a tiny bit, but something happened to make performance based love repulsive to me. 😉 Sadly, I have a child who lives to gain acceptance. I see it in everything she does and it breaks my heart. I pray for her and offer unconditional love. Other than that, I’m at a loss. I know God does amazing things in the lives of hurting children. I pray he will work in this area of her heart.

    • Susan

      Wow, Tereasa. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to watch that. I join you in the prayer that she learns to see herself through His eyes of grace and acceptance.

  3. Vonda Skelton

    Wow, beautiful analogy, Susan. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Susan

      Thank YOU for the tweet love, Vonda!

  4. sandi

    Oh my goodness! This might be my favorite blog post!! I love this, “The minute God hears His Son’s voice, He turns around. And because of Jesus, chooses you.”

    What a beautiful picture for me this morning! He CHOOSES ME!! Thank you, Susan! I needed this. ♥

    • Susan

      Yep, Sandi — He chooses you, and so do I! So fun to chat with you this morning. Hope we can do it in person soon!

  5. Jamie Britt

    Susan, what a beautiful analogy! I love to watch “The Voice” as well. I’ve never thought of it in those terms, but you’re absolutely. I know I’ll never be good enough. Love you!

    • Susan

      NONE of us will ever be good enough, Jamie. Isn’t it great that Jesus “sings” for us? So glad to see you here today. Love you too!

  6. Cherry Titus

    I don’t watch this show but your analogy is so well written it is easy to understand. Great read this morning!

    Aunt Cherry

    • Susan

      Ooh, Aunt Cherry – you should watch it. One of the few reality shows that’s worth watching! Glad you liked the devo. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Karen

    That was way more than good–gave me chills. “The Voice” definitely wrote your post today! Thanks for sharing (I’m sharing on my page today!)

    • Susan

      Thank you, Karen! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I’m happy I didn’t mess up “THE Voice” as He spoke to me about this 🙂

  8. Nikki

    Oh mylanta. YES!

    (and thanks for letting me know the show has started up again. I loved this show last year and wanted to watch it again–this is how clueless I am with TV–didn’t know it started already!)

    Jesus died that I might live…not perform…live. He died for the real me. for my story. Yes. I pray that transforms me every day.

    • Susan

      Not perform… Live. The “real” us and our messed up stories, transformed day-by-day. Ooh, He is GOOD

      And so is the show! You’re going to love Usher — SO sweet. And Shakira is a million times better than Xtina. A MILLION, and I’m not even being dramatic 😉

  9. Stacy Warnken

    I enjoy watching “The Voice.” What a great comparison this is! Speaks very loudly to me, as I grew up being a “people-pleaser.” How grateful I am for Jesus, whose love is unconditional.

    • Susan

      I hear you, Stacy. I’m a neurotic, first-born, perfectionistic, people-pleaser myself! That mantle isn’t easy to shake, but it’s worth the effort. Eyes on Him, every day.
      Thank you for taking time to read and comment!

  10. Dawn

    Susan- this is going to click with a lot of people- something so many of us struggle with and you made such an applicable, clear analogy- I am going to keep this picture in my mind- I’m finding imagery-based thoughts really help me these days. Beautiful- thanks for writing this!!

    • Susan

      I’m glad you like the analogy, Dawn. I’m a visual learner too, so the Lord often speaks to me with word pictures. And I have to admit, He did a great job with this one.
      Thank you for taking time to read and comment!

  11. Sheila Rinehart

    Great stuff Susan! I didn’t know they didn’t choose you for dodge ball. Bad call from my point of view.

    • Susan

      Oh yeah, Mom. As little and runty and I was? Last one picked, every time. But it’s all good now 😉

  12. Positively Alene

    Such beautiful imagery of the truth here. Love this as I hang on to the truth. And BTW – I as never chosen for sports either. I learned to just laugh at myself too. LOL

    • Susan

      Yeah, you get over it in a hurry, don’t you, Alene? But it makes you stronger, and we never had to worry about our identity being there!
      Always glad to see your name in the comment list 🙂

  13. Hester Christensen


    Good word sister! . . . I’ve been having similar thoughts with the study I’m working on. I haven’t seen this show, but I’ll have to give it a spin. 😉

    God bless you dear, Hester;)

    • Susan

      Thank you, Hester! I think you’d enjoy the show, and now you’ll have THIS in the back of your mind. Might be something you could share with your boys 😉

  14. Diane W. Bailey

    I love your train of thought. This is beautiful, Susan! ” some people go through their life wanting to be chosen” and He choses us. Beautiful!

    • Susan

      Thanks, Di. Haven’t we all had that feeling of wanting to be chosen by someone? Glad there is One Who does 🙂

  15. Anita Taylor

    Great analogy indeed!! Growing up I always like to be accepted and the only way I coped was to ignore them. In high school, they have clubs & we all go to a boarding school ran by the Dominican Sisters, oh it was a Catholic School too, you would think everyone has a heart right? Wrong! I am just glad we have a God who loves me or us. 🙂

    • Susan

      You’re right, Anita. Churches can be some of the most exclusive places. What a shame. Thanks for being such a faithful reader and commenter. You ROCK 😎

  16. Emily

    YES! So much truth here, Susan. Especially love this: “…it’s as if you hand Him your microphone and let Him sing for you.” I just love that image!

    • Susan

      Thank you, Emily! Glad you liked it. As a singer, I know you’d gladly hand Him your mic!

  17. marcia moston

    Great analogy for something we can’t be reminded of enough. I’ll remember this because, believe me, if I were performing I’d NEED to hand Jesus the microphone!

    • Susan

      Thanks, Marcia. And I’m with you. I wouldn’t even turn the mic on 😉

  18. Dolly@Soulstops

    I get what you mean by your comment at my blog…we are a tag team…love being on a team with you, Susan, and that God picked us both…how are you doing w/ sleep? I have been absolutely terrible but today is a new day and tonight I will be in bed by 10-10:30 pm…thanks, accountability partner 🙂

    • Susan

      I had the biggest smile when I read your post today, Dolly — I wish we lived closer!
      I’m happy to report I’m doing better with my earlier bedtimes! You’re right — today is a new day, so we’ll shoot for 10pm and hopefully make it by 10:30 🙂

  19. Celeste Vaughan

    A M E N Susan! Great post. I love how The Voice started that train of though. We DON”T have to preform for Jesus…just accept Him and the incredible gift he gave. I’ll be thinking about this every time I watch The Voice now! I love things like this…where you put two things together and it automatically makes you think about God, even though you’re just watching TV! Thanks 🙂

    • Susan

      Thank you, Celeste! Yeah, isn’t it amazing that we can find God (or some truth about it) in just about everything? I’m glad a little thought about a popular television show can point people to Him 🙂

      Hope you’re enjoying spring break!

  20. Glenda Mills

    Over the last few years, I have been praying intentionally that what I do will be for an audience of one. When I see Him, there is one thing my heart desires to hear…whatever I did, I did it for Him and for His Glory…and that will be Glory for me.

    • Susan

      Beautiful, Glenda. You’re a wise one, and a great encourager to me.
      Thank you 🙂

  21. Julia Tomiak

    What a great way to turn pop culture into devotion. And you’re so right- we don’t need to perform. A good thing to remember, always. Thanks Susan

    • Susan

      Thank you, Julia! Maybe we should repeat that to ourselves every morning 😉

  22. Jeannette Duwe

    Who hasn’t struggled with this issue at one time or another!? Thanks for the thoughtful and on-target post! May the Lord bless you this week as you minister in your daily routine responsibilities!

    • Susan

      Thank you, Jeannette! May the Lord bless YOU as you tend to your very-full plate and prepare for your move!

      • Jeannette Duwe

        Thank you Susan! I look forward to sharing the whole experience with you some day – maybe even in person!!! It’s been so engineered by the maker it’s wild!

  23. Celeste Vaughan

    Great post Susan…my answer: What am I NOT looking forward to in eternity! I truly can’t imagine living in the world we do without the hope of eternity with Jesus! First thing that comes to mind right this second though is laundry! 😉 I’m still a little miffed at Eve. If it weren’t for her and that stupid apple we wouldn’t have to wear clothes and therefore wouldn’t have to wash!

  24. Denise Hisey

    What a great analogy, Susan!
    Good food for thought on this rainy day in Seattle!

    • Susan

      So glad to have you join me in “the ponder,” Denise 🙂

  25. Chuck Allen

    So true! You captured that so well. The approval treadmill is not a good place to be.

    • Susan

      AMEN, Chuck. And it really is a treadmill. Great visual 🙂

  26. Kay Bird

    Susan, great points and great teaching! Thank you! I REALLY MISS YOU,my friend! I hope you had a ‘good day’ today. I love you and I have been lifting you up. I’m saddened I won’t see you at BRCWC.Hope you’re both still flying high from graduation.