What a Difference!

Life is not perfect.  It never is. And that is completely okay with me. After all, I appreciate the good things in part because they stand out in contrast to the bad! But I will be brutally honest – life is much eadier to walk through when the good outweighs the bad.

I really like where and how I am spending my time and energy right now. The best part is, it is just going to get better!  The college class I teach in the spring is my favorite one to teach AND the spring semester means the college and Senior High musicals which is always a good time. Thanks to Stage Door’s schedule, I am currently in rehearsal for “Edges”  and will move from that show into “I Love a Piano”. Yeah, life is good.

The lesson during last school year was tough to walk through but trust me, I get it now! Just because something seems like a practical solution does not mean it is the right solution for you. Knowing exactly where my time and energy should be spent is making it much easier to say “no” to things that  are good but not right for me.  The lesson was hard won.  But I appreciate it now. 

Finally There

Wordless Wednesday!When I am a part of a theater production – whether I am directing, onstage, in the pit or whatever – there is the moment when I walk into the theater (ANY theater) and it’s as though the air whispers, “Welcome home.”  It is in that moment that who I am and what I am doing are most perfectly aligned.  But when I try to explain that to others, they think I’m crazy!

The sad fact is, it’s taken me until recently to get to the point where I can say that I love being involved in the world of theater and feel no measure of shame.  In our “results obsessed” society, we tend to devalue those activities that don’t provide the main source of our income or serve to advance us professionally. People have  asked me questions like, “Are you ever going to give up this theater nonsense?”  or “Will you ever outgrow your theater hobby?”  The shortest, simplest answer? No.  My involvement in the theater predates my roles as wife and mother.  Now, I LOVE my man and my kids.  Like, “I-would-take-a-bullet-for-them” kind of love.  But holding on to my theater involvement allows me to hold on to a part of me that has been uniquely mine since before my life was abundantly blessed by marriage and motherhood.

People tell me that theater productions take lots of time.  Yeah.  I know that.  I’ve kind of lived it repeatedly.  But I am most authentically “me” when I am involved in a theatrical production.  My God-given design hums with joy every time I walk into an audition, a rehearsal or a performance.  I get lost for hours on end when I am working on my staging/blocking plans for a new show.  Even the exhaustion of tech week is a happy experience for me.  I know.  I’m weird.

So at the ripe old age of 45, I am putting this out there as a general announcement:  I LOVE every part of being involved in a theatrical production.  Even the frustrating moments.  I will continue to “go and play” as long as I am physically able and I refuse to justify it any longer and I CERTAINLY will not feel guilty anymore!  If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s okay.  It doesn’t have to.

Do You REALLY Mean It?!

“You really should learn to say no occasionally.”

I hear this ALL the time.  

That comment usually comes after a discussion of my current theatrical involvement and the person making the statement almost always means that I should say no to the theater “stuff” I do.

But what if I took them at their word?  What if I learned to say no to those things that really don’t hit my God-given designs and passions?

Would the person offering advice be okay with it if I said no to playing for the kid’s Christmas program at church?  Or what if I declined to plan/run an elementary school program for the holiday’s?

In the church, there is a tendency to have expectations of others based on what we think they should be doing with their skills and their time.  If they don’t live up to our expectations we shake our heads and talk about “wasting God-given talent.”  As a Pastor’s wife, I have had people refuse to speak to me if they feel I am not doing what I should be.  Apparently, the fact that my husband is on the payroll leads them to believe that they should have some say over how I spend my discretionary time.

Time to speak out clearly – if I HAVE to learn to say no to things, I will NOT be choosing to say no to theatrical involvements.  It is when I am in the throes of a theater production – rehearsing, directing, whatever – that I am the most truly myself.  I get that over-committing can be dangerous to one’s sanity and even one’s physical health.

But never saying yes to the things one is truly passionate about is just as dangerous.  Maybe more so.

So if you tell me that I should learn to say no, I will thank you for your concern and take a look at my schedule to reevaluate the allocation of my time.  Just be ready for me to say “yes” to those things that are right for me, even if you don’t understand!

Identify Yourself

Once  you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.  – Col. 1:21-22

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Eph. 2:10

The Spirit himself testifies with our Spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his suffering in order that we may also share in his glory.  – Rom. 8:16-17

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about identity lately. 

I’ve grown  up in the church.  And as a former Pastor’s daughter and a current Pastor’s wife I’m very familiar with every version of expectations that believers can subject one another to.  We’re very good at developing a mental image of what a “good Christian” look like and then imposing that standard on those around us.  Usually it involves a list of “don’t evers” and “you had betters” that we watch others for very carefully.  But if someone else tries to judge us by their standard. . .

We can grow up trying to prove to others that we are good enough.  We spend so much of our energy trying to create our “appropriately spiritual” identity that we never fully grasp the identity that was handed to us the moment we placed our faith in Christ.  And I have spent much of my life trying to figure out exactly how to define my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  Every definition I come up with comes from this skewed perspective of having to earn his love.

My recent studying is far from over and I’m certain I do not have all the answers.  But my understanding of my identity in Christ is being revolutionized.

I am fully reconciled to God.  Total reconciliation – no hoops to jump through or checklists to compIete! I was created – the implication in Ephesians is that of an artisan creating handcrafted artwork – with a specific kingdom-focused purpose.  I am a child of God and a fellow-heir of his firstborn son.

My children did not have to do a thing to earn their place in my family.  Once I placed my faith in Christ, the same was true of my place in God’s family.  What does this mean for me in a “doing life everyday” kind of way? 

I need to embrace my identity and live into it.  My choices need to be based not on a desire to earn God’s love but as a reaction to the fact that his love is already mine.  After all, my Heavenly Father is the King of Kings which makes me, as his daughter, a princess. =)  No earthly princess has to earn her membership in the royal family but she does live a certain way because of her identity as the daughter of the king.

This way of looking at identity is new for me.  It’s doing crazy things to the way I look at my life.  It’s a little unnerving to have my paradigm shifted so violently but I’m excited to see where the journey takes me.