Today, I would like to share with you a comparison that I stumbled upon recently between theatre and God.
I am a theatre nerd. I was introduced to theatre, or drama club as it were, my sophomore year in high school. My junior year in high school I was treasurer of our drama club and by my senior year I was president. I hold both a B.A. in technical theatre and an M.A. in speech with the focus on theatre. I have worked in professional theatre, equity and non-equity, and community theatre. Overall, I spent more than ten years of my life working in theatre in some form or fashion. And, while I haven’t worked on a play in about eighteen years, I will always love it and it will always hold a dear place in my heart and life.
When most people think of theatre, or plays, the first thing that comes to mind is acting and/or actors. Most people’s acquaintance to theatre is as an audience member, so that makes a lot of sense. However, there is considerably more to theatre than meets the eye. It is made up of markedly more than just the actors and acting.
There is a whole other world that takes place behind the scenes and an abundance of work that goes into every production prior to the “finished” product that you witness. What makes theatre so magical, in my humble opinion, is that, if done correctly, as an audience member, you don’t even realize this part of it. What you get is simply a seamless experience—an escape, if you will, into another universe. You should be so immersed in that play’s particular environment, that you don’t even notice everything that is happening behind the scenes--the practical logistics of it. And, trust me, there are a slew of logistics!
As I noted above, my degrees are in technical theatre. Most people don’t really understand what that term means, so let me enlighten you. Technical theatre encompasses scenery, lighting, costuming, sound, and properties. Basically, it is everything that goes into a production other than the acting. And, it takes an army of people to get all of this work done. You have playwrights, dramaturgs, stage directors, production or stage managers, technical directors, scene designers, lighting designers, costume designers, prop designers, sound designers, carpenters, scenic charge artists (or painters), electricians, audio engineers, prop masters, costumers, stagehands, and board operators. If you are producing a musical you can add in musicians and choreographers. (And, these are just the people that come to mind right now, I am sure I am forgetting some people—my apologies to my fellow theatre peeps.)
So, what does any of this have to do with God and being a Christian? Well, a great deal.
I like to think of God as our playwright. He created us and brought us into being. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. (See Hebrews 12:2). Each of us is a character in this play called “Life.” And, we each play a critical role, weather we realize it or not. As Konstantin Stanislavski, the great Russian theatre practitioner, once remarked, “there are no small parts, only small actors.” We each play the lead role in our own lives. And, while the role we play in our own lives is critical, our roles are just as meaningful and necessary in the grand scheme of things, or the play of “Life” that I referred to earlier.
And while God is our playwright, He is also every theatre technician that I mentioned above, working furiously behind the scenes of our lives. Rarely, if ever, do we get a chance to see “behind the curtain” of heaven, but there are about a bazillion things going on back there. (Much the same as it is in theatre.)
If you went backstage during a show, you would see lots of folks running around and doing stuff that made zero sense to you. Even if you are a bonafide theatre nerd like me, and have a good idea of what is happening, you would never fully understand all the intricacies of it unless you were a part of it from the beginning. And, the only entity who has been around since the beginning is God. Only He knows what He doing. As a Christian, I am learning and growing every day—but I only grasp a very small part of His overall grand design. So, much like being backstage during a play, oftentimes our own lives make very little sense. And, that’s ok. What matters most is how it all comes together in the end.
As an audience member, a good audience member, it is our job to sit back and take it all in. We, as good audience members, must do what is referred to as “the willing suspension of disbelief.” Basically, this means that it is necessary for us to accept the given premises and parameters of the story unfolding in front of us. It is our job to simply believe. It is both a very easy and a very complicated thing to do. Just believe.
I really like what Ed Hooks has to say about this topic:
“A theatrical experience is a unique thing. Think about it, focusing for the moment on the legitimate theatre: Actors, audience members, tech crews all come together at the same time in the same place for a common purpose. Their meeting is not any more random than meetings at church, synagogue or mosque. The purpose of this meeting is to share a theatrical experience, and all parties – including the audience members - have to work together to make it happen.”
In theatre, as with life, we have to work together to make the desired outcome happen.
As audience members at a play, we have no idea what is going on backstage. This is how it is and how it should be. As members of the audience of the play, we have to work together and believe, with the actors and tech crews, to make the theatrical experience happen.
As members of the body of Christ, we have no idea what is going on behind the scenes in heaven. Again, this is how it is and how it should be. We have to work together with God and believe in Him and trust Him and all that He is doing behind the scenes.
If we work successfully with the actors and tech crews at a play, we should walk away with a joyful, fulfilling experience. All we have to do is just believe.
If we work successfully together with God, we should come away with a joyful, fulfilling life. All we have to do is just believe.
We moved into our new home three weeks ago. If you haven’t moved in a while, I must remind you that moving is stressful. And tiring. (And, categorically sweaty in the summertime). Plus, moving with three cats and one dog is even more stressful and tiring! I would really like at least one week on a beach somewhere doing nothing but reading books and sipping pina coladas and allowing my body to recover! Alas, that won’t be happening any time soon. Le sigh…
Anyway, I had to share with you one part of our moving experience that was simple, and if I may say so, amazing. It was literally a God-send.
We hired a local moving company to move our belongings to our new home. We had used them before and remembered them doing a good job for us, so we figured we would use them again. And, I am so thankful we did!
The company we hired is called A Better Way Movers. They are part of A Better Way Ministries, a local nonprofit that helps men find refuge from life controlling issues such as drugs and alcohol. Their program is Christ-centered and Biblically-based. The moving company is used to help fund their ministry. They offer packing services and do both local and out-of-state moves. You can get a free estimate by visiting their website or giving them a call. And, we were blessed to have them help us with our move.
On the morning of our move three guys showed up. Being the natural introvert that I am, I always find it awkward to meet new people, and this was no exception. But, as soon as one of the guys reached his hand out to let our dog smell him in way of greeting and expressed how much he liked animals, I knew we were in good hands.
Broderick, Jordan, and Joshua were our movers and they were top-notch. Not only did they do their jobs quickly and effectively, but they did it with smiles on their faces the whole time. They took extra special care of our items and did not damage anything—not the items, not our old home or our new one.
By the end of the day, I had felt like we had made three new friends. However, I hadn’t seen anything yet. Before these new friends left, they presented us with a printed “House Blessing” and asked if they could pray with us! I was floored! I looked at Paul, my hubby, and, just like me, he had tears in his eyes. Of course, we heartily accepted their invitation.
We all gathered in our living room and Joshua led us in a wonderful, spirit-filled prayer. Afterwards, I asked if I could hug each of them, and they were happy to oblige me. I had realized that not only had we made three new remarkable friends that day, but we met our brothers in Christ. We were truly moved by the whole experience. (Horrible pun intended!)
That evening as we sat exhausted in our living room, I told Paul that I felt like, once we got everything settled into our new home, we should have a cook-out and invite our three new friends over. Who knows? Maybe sometime soon we can actually do that!
Those of you who know me, know that I am enormous animal-lover. There are very few creatures on this earth that I don’t care for. I like most critters that others do not, including spiders, snakes, sharks, and bees. Actually, the only living thing that I don’t like is roaches. (They completely gross me out!)
And, if you know me, you also know that I considerably tender-hearted. So, it should come as no surprise to you that when I come across animals in distress, I do my best to help them. I will stop and help turtles cross the road. I will fish lizards out of water bowls. I will pick up wiggly worms from the sidewalk and put them back in the dirt. I will scoop up spiders inside the house and take them outside. I will guide hummingbirds out of my garage with a rake. I will pick up snakes and relocate them to safer areas. This is just who I am. It is who God made me to be.
This past Sunday, as I was taking Clancey for a walk, we came across a young opossum that was hurt. I could see a big scratch on his head and he was curled up, breathing heavily. I initially panicked, not knowing what to do. But, I knew I could not leave him there like that to die. I quickly headed back home to jump online and search for help. My husband and I tried calling at least six different places, hoping they could take him in. No one could. After those strike-outs, I got back online. It took me a while, but I finally got some help from a wildlife rehabber, Melissa, on a Facebook group I belong to.
Melissa first advised me to be careful in handling this baby, as opossums are wild and they do bite. However, most often they freeze up, or “play possum” and handling them shouldn’t be that hard. She told me to clean up his wound with peroxide and antibiotic ointment. She also told me he would appreciate some water and fruits and veggies.
By-the-time I got back to take care of the little guy, lots of flies were flying around. This really worried me. But, I got to work, cleaning up his head. I also noticed he was hurt under his arm as well. So, I cleaned that up too. Next, I put out some fresh water and peas for him and even tried putting some drops of water in his mouth. Next, I covered him with a cloth to keep the flies away. I then decided to leave him alone for a little while, and give him some time to rest.
Honestly, I needed some rest too. I was so worried over this little guy. I was anxious and fretting about him. I went home and cried and laid down for a quick nap. And, I think, most importantly, I prayed and prayed and prayed for him. I truly didn’t think he would make it.
The next time I went to check on him, well I almost didn’t even go. I didn’t think I could take seeing his little dead body lying there. But, I also had to know how he was doing. So, off I went, holding my breath.
When I got there, he was gone!
The cloth I had covered him up with was still there. The jar lids I put his food and water in were there. (Along with ants who were eating what was left of the food.) But, my little guy was gone.
The only thing I can figure is that God used me and that little bit of work I did on him, to allow him to rest up and leave of his own volition.
And, this is why I am sharing all of this with you today—God is so, so good!
God heard my prayers. He saw my tears. He saw my heart. And, He took care of this sweet little opossum.
To me, it was a miracle.
But, that is what God does, doesn’t He?
That is the business that God is in, isn’t He?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to see this first-hand and be reminded of Your mercy and love. Thank you for allowing me to play a part in it. And, thank you for allowing me to share this with others. I give you all the glory. For, it is nothing that I did, but what You did.
In Your son’s name, I pray, Amen.
P.S. Did you know? Opossums eat ticks and copperheads. They are immune to snake venom and, due to low body temps, they rarely contract rabies. So, please show these critters some love!
A major life change is currently taking place in my family. We are preparing to move into our new home! It is an exciting, albeit, hectic and stressful time. Packing up all our belongings is one of those chores that demands physical strength and endurance. And, unfortunately for me, I don’t really have either one of those anymore. (Shout-out to my mystery illness!)
My husband and I have been anxiously awaiting this move for almost a year now. On the plus side, this time has granted me the freedom to clean up, clean out, purge, and pack things a little bit at the time. There is no way I would be able to handle doing all this the week before we move. (Talk about corporal punishment! I get exhausted just thinking about it.)
On another note, while waiting on our home to be built, I came across an idea that I thought was wonderful—and I want to share it will you. As I am sure you have already surmised, I love God. And, I want to grow in Him and share His love and light every day. With this endeavor, I am a work in progress!
I also want to fill my life with as much goodness as I can. This is especially true for our home. I mean home should be our sanctuary, right? It should be the place we long to be and feel most comfortable in. And, while I know that heaven is my true home, I want to make our earthly home as Godly and humble and inviting as I possibly can.
With that thinking in mind, it occurred to me that it would be lovely to find a blessing/prayer to christen our new home with. As I scouted around online, I stumbled upon an even better idea—write Bible verses in each room of your home. I must thank Laura Tucker for this fabulous idea. I encourage you to read her article A Strong Foundation: Bible Verses For Building A Home.
So, after deciding which Bible verses I wanted to use, I got my trusty Sharpie and went to work. Below are some pictures of the results. All of these are now covered in drywall and paint, but we know that they are there. And, more importantly, God knows they are there. I also wrote out this new home blessing in the middle of our living room floor:
May peace so fill this space
that strife will find no place.
May love so lift each heart
that pain will have no start.
May joy be in such supply
that sorrow’s tears will quickly dry.
And may each room be
filled with laughter, joy,
and song all the day long.
Building our new home on the firm foundation of God is the best investment we can ever make. It will pay dividends in every area of our lives. The same is true for you. It is true for all of us. When we put God first, everything else will fall into place.
Do you know that God loves you just as you are?
Just. As. You. Are.
He does NOT care what color your skin is.
He does NOT care how much money you have or don’t have.
He does NOT care if you are tall or short.
He does NOT care if you are a male or female.
He does NOT care if you are gay or straight or other.
He does NOT care about your sex, race, origin, or job.
He does NOT care how many “bad” things you have done in your life.
Look, we are all different and we all sin.
Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
God loves you.
Just the way you are.
He loves you just as you are, because you are His child.
He made you and He loves you.
Even with all your dirt, bruises, and scars.
He loves you.
Don’t let anyone tell you any differently.
You need God in your life.
I need God in my life.
We all need God in our lives.
Let God in, won’t you?
Don’t think that you can only become a child of God if you fit some mold.
Don’t think that you can only become a child of God if you are “good”.
Don’t think that you can only become a child of God if you are “perfect”.
There is no mold.
God made each of us special and unique.
And the only thing that is perfect in this world is God’s love for us.
There is only one thing you need to do to have God in your life—invite Him in.
Invite God into your life.
Believe in God.
Trust in God.
He is all you need.
The only sin you can commit that God will NOT forgive you for, is the sin of not inviting Him into your life.
So, what are you waiting for?
Invite God in!
Growing up, I would sometimes hear the phrase, “have a come to Jesus meeting”. I never really thought that much about it. I was one of those goody-goody two-shoes little girls. I didn’t get in trouble much. But, I did know enough about that phrase to know it was not a good thing. I never wanted to hear my parents say those words to me.
As an adult, I still don’t want to hear those words. They are words that people dread to hear, especially in the workplace. (This is something you definitely do not want to hear from your boss.) What is funny to me though, is that this phrase started out with a literal meaning and it has now turned into a figurative one.
A “come to Jesus meeting” was originally an American term describing a Christian religious service where it was hoped that many people would dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ. Back in the 1800s and 1900s, preachers would travel around the country holding tent revivals. They wanted to share the good news of Jesus Christ, the gospel, and save as many people as they could. They wanted people to come to Jesus.
Today, the “come to Jesus meeting” has taken on a figurative meaning and is often used in politics, parenting, and business. This type of meeting is had when you need to point out to someone that they have taken a wrong path. It is not a fun meeting, and quite often it is a last-ditch effort made to straighten out someone before more serious actions are taken. Many times, people use this expression when they are dealing with someone who has a drug or alcohol problem.
I think it is high time that we bring the literal meaning back into fashion. Don’t you?
I want everyone I know, and everyone I don’t know, to have a "come to Jesus meeting"--a real, honest-to-goodness, come to Jesus meeting.
You don’t have to go to a tent revival to meet Jesus. You can meet Him at anytime, anywhere, anyplace. That is the beauty of Jesus--He is everywhere!
When you meet Jesus, your life will change forever and for the better.
If you have NOT had a "come to Jesus meeting" yet, I would be honored to help you with it, and introduce you to Him.
The first step in wanting to meet Jesus. You understand that you are a sinner and you need some help with things in your life. We are all sinners and need Jesus! You were never meant to live this life alone, you were meant to live it with Jesus.
Second, you need to be saved. Salvation is simply a process of confessing and believing. You must confess that Jesus is Lord, and truly believe that with all your heart. You must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that Jesus now lives today. You must believe in the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Romans 10:9-11 tells us, “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”
Acts 2:38 tells us, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
That is all there is to it. It is both simple and complex at the same time. But, your decision to have a “come to Jesus meeting” it is the most important decision you will ever make.
Have you ever heard that expression, “Fake it ‘til you make it”? It is an English aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize those qualities in their real life. Some people believe in this strategy, others do not.
Personally, for a long time I thought it was stupid. If your heart isn’t in something, why try and force it? Well, a few years ago, I decided to try this method out anyway. I mean, what did I have to lose, right? My goal was to be a more thankful person. I wanted to pray more and count my blessings.
I came across this quote from Stormie Omartian about four years ago. I printed it out and it has been hanging at my desk at work ever since. I have shared it before, but it is so worth sharing again. This is what prompted me to start faking it until I made it.
“One of the ways we can learn to completely trust that God is a good God is to praise Him for His goodness. Every time we do, it opens up the channels through which that particular aspect of His nature is poured into our heart.
The more you praise God for His goodness, the more you will see it manifested in your life. That’s the hidden power of praise. You will be amazed when you pray this way how God will open your eyes to see things you haven’t seen before.”
After reading this, I really wanted to see if it would work. I began thanking God for everything I could possibly think of as I laid down to sleep each night. I didn’t praise Him, per say, but I thanked Him. Even if I was not in a good place, feeling down and depressed, or just stressed, I thanked God anyway. To tell you the truth, I felt like a phony con artist for a while. Often my heart wasn’t in it. But, that is what faking it until you make it is all about, right?
After a while, I started to see subtle changes in my life. I was looking around me, at my life and the people in it, and the lives of others, and it started dawning on me how much I truly have to be thankful for.
I was raised in a loving home. I have an amazing husband who loves and supports me. I have a nice home and clothes to wear. I have food to eat and clean water to drink. I can get out of bed each morning and clothe myself and feed myself. I have a job that allows me to contribute financially to our family. I have friends who rally around me whenever I need them. And, this is just for starters.
Now I am at a point in my life where not only am I thankful for all these things (and more), but I am grateful for them. And, not only do I pray and thank God for them, I praise Him for all these things as well. The more I open my eyes to the blessings God has given me, the more blessings I find. Stormie was so right. And, I can tell you from personal experience, faking it ‘til you make it, well, it works. (At least it did for me in this case.)
I think the key to all of this is “faking” it the right way. Your motivation has to be in the right place, even if your heart isn’t necessarily in it. You have to make sure that you want to be changed from the inside out. If you truly desire change—significant change, then you can get to work “faking it”.
So, if this is something you would like in your life, just start small. (Like I did.) Thank God for the small things. Your list doesn’t have to be long or extensive. You can be thankful for air to breath, sunshine, and flowers.
You can even make a game out of it. Sometimes I would pick a letter from the alphabet and focus only on things that began with that letter that I was thankful for. (For example, take the letter “A”. I thought about apples, animals, Aaron (my brother), the arts, my appendix, and avocados.) You can also spend time reading your Bible and looking for verses that inspire you. Have fun with it!
Before you know it, you will see your cup overflowing with blessings. You will see blessings that you have never seen before. You will be looking at everything in a different, more positive light. And, your brain and outlook on life will change, for the better.
Before I go, I thought I would share with you ten of my favorite verses about renewing your mind. (Which, is, after all what faking it until you make it, really is, right?)
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.