Savoring The Season
Last week we wrapped principal photography on a movie entitled Christmas Grace, produced by Bright Horizon Pictures and Crystal Creek Media.
Doing winter scenes in summertime highlighted for me another application of being "prepared in season and out of season." Aside from accepting the physical discomfort of warm clothing in warm weather, there is a certain mental preparation to embrace the switch-up instead of rebelling against it.
Seasonal confusion is not exclusive to the film industry. I had plenty of practice growing up in adapting to different situations, many times without much advance notice. I was also blessed with a large family going through it all with me, modeling and training flexibility, patience, and joy under stress. And recently, God is leading me to an greater appreciation of seasons, and the importance of living and trusting Today.
God is with us in the storms that roll in and whip the hair in our face until we can't see. God is with us when the fruit that we thought should be ripe is still green with the slightest streaks of color showing. God is with us when the leaves of our dreams start to grow on branches that were bare for months and years.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..." ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
Here is my current version:
There is a time to travel and a time to stay home,
a time to pack and a time to unpack,
a time to junk a car and a time to buy one,
a time to stay awake driving and a time to stop and rest,
a time to cry and a time to laugh,
a time to grieve and a time to twirl around...
A time to memorize and a time to improvise,
a time to submit an audition and a time to wait for a verdict,
a time to wear make-up and a time to wash it off,
a time to be "talent" and a time to help as crew,
a time to dress a set and a time to tear it down,
a time to be outdoors and a time to stay out of the sun...
A time to sleep in and a time to get up early,
a time to plan ahead and a time to be spontaneous,
a time to embrace and a time to step back,
a time to socialize and a time to be alone,
a time to keep and a time to give away,
a time to call and a time to let the other call first...
A time to be stubborn and a time to relent,
a time to be serious and a time to be goofy,
a time to hold up bravely and a time to let down,
a time to be silent and a time to share,
a time to remember and a time to forget,
a time to forgive and a time to be forgiven.
All of these seasons I have roller-coastered through in the last month, and/or I am riding them out now. Opportunities to remember the "secret" have abounded. Every moment presents a choice to live fully, joyfully. In spite of scenes that seem out of order, in spite of emotions that threaten to homestead in the suffocating prairie of Worry, in spite of plans made and unmade, choosing to live THIS day that the Lord has made, and be glad in it!
No matter what the season, there is a purpose for it. And no matter how the seasons may change, or how slowly or quickly according to our minds:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." ~ Hebrews 13:8
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"
~ Romans 8:28, 31-32
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." ~ Matthew 6:33-34
"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning." ~ Daniel 2:20-21
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." ~ 1 Peter 5:6-10
Listening to the director's vision for the scene
Some actors are notorious for injecting their own opinions into a script. Opinions on why the character is the way they are, what they should do, how they should do it, and even changing dialogue to better fit what they think the character would say. But that isn't really the actor's place.
If there is a script, it's there for a reason. The story is told the way it is on purpose! Just because I am chosen to portray a role in the story doesn't mean that I have been given creative license to decide what my character is about. My ideas about my character's arc and development will only be legitimate insofar as I am staying true to the intents of the director.
"Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands'?" ~ Isaiah 45:9
The director has the final word. Any suggestions must pass through the director. The rest of the team unites under his vision.
So must the actors rally to the call to action. The music has been written, the interpretation is being directed. We are simply the instruments assembled to play the notes clearly and with feeling. If my interpretation differs at any point from that of the director, and he directs a change, I must be ready at a moment's notice to make that adjustment.
By personality I am very much a planner. I like to have everything laid out and organized in my head before I make decisions. Through practice born of necessity, I've begun to enjoy some spontaneity (especially if I already suspect that the situation will warrant it :P). I do have to consciously reject rising stress, though, when encountering an unexpected curve ball.
As a Christian, however, I have not only accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, but surrendered to his personal Lordship over my life. He is my life Director. Any ideas I might have about my life's story, or my own character arc, must be subject to his plans for me. Now he has the final word and authority. He IS the final word and authority!
Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. ~ Psalm 119:89
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head...so that in everything he might have the supremacy. ~ Colossians 1:16-18
God recently gave me an apt illustration of how this can play out in my everyday life. Last week I was starting the draft for this very blog post, and pondering the implications of what it could mean, when my older sister approached me about the possibility of doing a short trip on the weekend to visit some friends. While I didn't have specific "plans" that took up my weekend yet, in my mind I was already allotting that time to prepare for some auditions I had coming up. But we took a few minutes to pray over the decision together, and I quickly realized that this was exactly what God was trying to teach me!
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him. ~ Psalm 32:8-10
We did end up going, and not only did we have a wonderful visit, but I was even able to help with teaching about acting at a film workshop on our way there. :-) A great reminder that "a man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" (Proverbs 20:24) Indeed, it is only by seeking his direction for us that our lives can be truly significant. It is only by following his direction that we can rest secure.
I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. ~ Jeremiah 10:23
This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. ~ Isaiah 48:17
My life story is his to write. My time is his to spend. My love is his to give. My feet are his to go. My hands are his to serve. And even the smallest line in his script has more meaning than one of my monologues; the smallest role in his story more satisfying than any saga I could construct for myself.
We've got to stop being divas and let divine authority run the show!
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." ~ Isaiah 55:6-11
Yes, Lord! Amen; so be it.