Last night I went to see the premier of my brother’s film at the Little Rock Film Festival (the film was AMAZING by the way). As I was standing around, waiting to get into the theater I met a couple of older men. One was a very suspicious looking character with a long ZZ Top kinda beard, giant glasses and a baseball cap. When I asked him how he was doing he replied “well as good as you can expect an old fat man to be.” He made a living as a SAG member (Screen Actors Guild), as a guitar player and as a director and told me many wild stories about his time here on earth. Very interesting guy. His friend came and joined the conversation and he seemed much more “normal” and official. Apparently he was one the administrators of the Festival and got me in to see my brothers film for free (which, according to MovieMaker Magazine is one of the top 25 festivals in the world). This guy, whom we shall call Duke, was a film producer. I told him about my experiences trying to get into the industry as an actress… what I didn’t tell him is that the Lord pulled me out of the industry twice, just before I got signed with two major acting agencies (I was also in my mid-twenties then and much more in shape than I am now). Both times I had giant opportunities and both times the Lord moved me out of state before I could participate. Duke asked me what I was doing for a living currently and I explained to him that I was writer and did mostly freelance work. His eyes perked up then, and knowing my brother’s reputation (who is a full-time award-winning filmmaker and actor), instantly gave me his card and told me to call him.
At first I was really excited at this possible opportunity. I have been thinking about the possibility of using my gifts in this industry for some time now. But for some reason I was also very restless and had a hard time sleeping last night. I thought about how futile any type of business or creative endeavor is without Jesus in it somehow. Without perfect direction from the Holy Spirit, our hearts can get entwined with something that could potentially damage us. I felt heaviness even. And I wondered if this was really the direction I was suppose to go in. I saw the Lord’s hand offering me all kinds of goodies to choose from but what route was I suppose to take? Where was my heart at in all of this? I thought about how I want people to encounter Jesus. I want broken people to know the love of God. I thought about music and how alive I feel when I sing prophetically over the people of God. I thought about how I love to teach the things of God and to express His heart in unique ways. Would I be able to do all of these things? If I began acting again I would have to be careful of many many things… even about becoming obsessed with my body image again. If I acted or wrote for the film industry– because it is an industry full of darkness (let’s face it), I would have to be clearly led by the Holy Spirit with every endeavor I choose.
Life is such a tricky path. I don’t want to miss anything on the journey.
The sea of black and white intermingled as all of those in the class of 1998 squeezed their way into my high school auditorium. I was a senior in high school and the scene before me was our first “Senior Assembly”. I was the Yankee girl in my first year living in the deep south, surrounded by southern teenagers that pretended they still didn’t have a chip on their shoulder from their defeat during the Civil War. The colorful sea broke and dispersed throughout the auditorium and I quickly scrambled to find my seat next to some familiar faces in my youth group. As the meeting commenced, my attention span quickly waned and I gazed around the room. People watching is one of my favorite activities. What caught my attention at this point was the fact that the seats in the auditorium were split right down the middle–white kids on one side– black kids on the other side. I was shocked and stunned. This was 1998 not 1924. No, the school wasn’t breaking some sort of segregation law. In fact it didn’t have anything to do with the government or even the administration at the school. These kids just didn’t like each other and didn’t care to be around each other at all. How sad.
I recalled this incident to my new boyfriend a year later. He had grown up in the south and went to a more liberal, arts oriented high school than I did but he didn’t seem to find this scenario so perplexing. “One thing I have figured out is that we’re just different. Blacks and whites are just different and we don’t have anything in common so we aren’t friends real easily.”
I don’t know about you but I happen to like people that are different than me. Why the heck would I only want to be friends with people that are EXACTLY like me? That’s so boring!! I find people of other cultures fascinating… in fact not just people of other cultures but people that are… different. I like getting to know different personalities (as long as they aren’t MEAN personalities), from quirky to quiet, and from shy to loud… I can always find something entertaining about them, even if I have to dig a little. The way people dress, how they relate to others, their cute accents, their repetitive words… these are all beautiful to me and I know they are to Jesus as well.
I was thinking about this subject the other day as I was driving in the car and decided to get this documentary I watched awhile back. It’s called Furious Love. If you haven’t seen this movie, I suggest you don’t waste one more minute reading this blog and get it immediately. It will change your life. But if you do insist finishing this blog, I have more to say. After watching this video again tonight I thought (and maybe this isn’t true for all people) about how easy it is to love the broken and the poor. It really is easy to love on someone who is hurting and is searching for love. It’s easy to minister to their hearts and speak the love of the Father over them. They’re hungry for it before you even ask. I think maybe I am good at loving this way. But Jesus says in Matthew 5:46 “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” If you’re roommates are making your life a living hell, they’re not so easy to love. If you’re friends abandoned you, took sides against you, misunderstood you, abused you, believed the worst about you etc… they probably aren’t so easy to love either. I think it’s the hardest thing in the world to not try and preserve myself. To love only if I feel like I’m being loved back. In fact, I am probably the worst at this and it’s simply due to sin– fear and selfishness.
I heard from someone recently that to love and bless someone is the strongest form of spiritual warfare. When the enemy is operating through someone else to destroy your life– love, bless and bless some more. Because our lives are not our own anyway. They have already been purchased and God operates His kingdom on the rule of love. After the New Covenant, the law was rendered useless without the power of God and the only rule that remained was the law of love. So how do I overcome this lack of authentic love in my life? I can only believe that it is the Holy Spirit that will do a deep work in my heart and give me the power to love. It’s the most important request we can ask for from the Holy Spirit… “Jesus, help me to love!”