God is Present Through It All

Success doesn’t equal God’s approval; failure doesn’t denote His absence and most importantly disappointment doesn’t mean He doesn’t care.

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2016 was a rough year for me. Not quite as rough as 2015 had been– the year where I entered the work force; had 0 church community and started to struggle with depression, insecurities and negative over analyzing . 2015 was one of the worst years of my life thus far and 2016 followed quite closely.

In 2016, I became more self aware of my struggles and I gradually started to take steps to come closer to God to change them. It was an arduous process. My mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical state really were at rock bottom. Depression hit me hard at times; I was overwhelmed with insecurities, jealousy and a comparative spirit. Even my physical appearance started to reflect what was going  on inside (weight gain, minimal hair growth/hair breakage and acne breakouts). I’ve provided links to some in depth blogs I’ve written about some of those struggles so I won’t go into greater detail about them, but I will say that they all pointed to the fact that I needed help.

So that’s what I constantly sought from literally anyone that would listen. Any chance I got I would send ranting essay text messages to friends complaining about my insecurities, my jealousy, my heartache, my over analyzing, and etc. One friend eventually called me out for it, rightfully so.

I was spending so much time complaining to humans when I should’ve been intentionally, wholeheartedly running to Jesus to get me through the rough season. Sometimes I would, but sometimes I would wait. I would wallow in my self-pity and allow myself to be consumed by every negative thought, feeling and emotion that was entering my mind. It sounds crazy, but there’s something satisfying about indulging in your sadness and your anger. Maybe it has to do with the sin nature and a God complex; when I analyze a situation and perceive it the way I want to then I am in control of the outcome and it feels dangerously good to be in control. Until you realize that that control is robbing your ability to connect to God and to see the truth in an area of your life that He wants to help you through and take hold of. Moving on….

So what does any of this have to do with success or failure? Well if you’re connected to me on any social media site then you know what else I accomplished in 2016: I wrote, directed, produced and funded two short films that cost me thousands of dollars and that took a lot of time, creativity and energy. And as previously noted in this blog post, I wasn’t in the best place mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, yet I was still able to create two films that I’m incredibly proud of.

I’ll say it again: Success doesn’t equal God’s approval; failure doesn’t denote His absence and most importantly disappointment doesn’t mean, He doesn’t care.

When I look at those films, I think to myself 2016 was a successful year. God blesses us with success, right? Wrong. God blesses us out of His grace and mercy, but that doesn’t always mean we’re doing the right thing. I disobeyed God and chose the world over Him, more times than I’d like to admit (and I’m sure I will still do both of those things). Just like any Father, while I know He loved me through it all, I don’t believe He was pleased with my actions and my thought life. Yet, in His grace and mercy, He provided for me and enabled me to complete those films.

I was reading John 11 yesterday and verses 21 & 22 struck a chord with me:

“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.”

To provide context, Mary & Martha’s brother Lazarus has just died. Jesus had received word that Lazarus was sick a few days prior; rather than running to heal him, Jesus “abode two days still in the same place” (verse 6). (SPOILER ALERT: Jesus raised him from the dead)…

Martha’s words are what got me thinking about success & failure and how we relate the two to God’s presence in our lives. In that moment when Martha goes to Jesus, I picture a woman whose disappointed, yes, but I also see a woman who hasn’t allowed that disappointment to change her faith and love for God. She still believes in Him. She still knows His character and she still knows that even in this dark hour, God can do something incredible.

I know I’m guilty of allowing disappointments and earthly circumstances shape my view of God’s presence in my life and also guilty of then questioning whether or not He will do something in that dark night of the soul. Logically, I know He’s sovereign, but logic goes out the door when a disappointment hits and when you’re at your lowest.

I was able to accomplish solid work in 2016, yet many other areas of my life were a mess. God was still there; I just wasn’t turning to Him enough. If I had failed to make my films, I would’ve been disappointed, but He still would’ve been there. If something “good” happens, it doesn’t mean He’s present (He’s present regardless of that outcome– not because of it) and if something “bad” happens it doesn’t mean He’s absent. It’s foolish to use earthly parameters to define God’s presence in our life. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, He’s still the same.

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That One Time…

Last year in February I went on a retreat with my church that spoke to me about fear. What I never really reflected on was the prophetic word I received after I was prayed for. The woman that spoke the word to me said she felt God was telling her to tell me that I have to stop saying that things are too good to be true (she didn’t know, but this is absolutely something I always do) and that I have to believe that there are certain passions and desires in me because God put them there and I have to trust that He can open and shut any door laid before me. It is that one time that I reflect on fondly as I continue on my present path.


When I graduated from college in December I had a finite idea of what my next step would be. Unlike most college seniors, I didn’t spend my time networking, applying for jobs and going on interviews. I spent my last few weeks desperately trying to put together one final short film project; petitioning administrative staff to allow me to drop a class I didn’t need to graduate; trying to not fail said class when I wasn’t allowed to drop it; and picking up as many extra shifts at my job to milk the benefits of employment as long as I could. Work, future, and the “real world” were the last things on my mind.

When January arrived I was officially a member of the “real world” and I still had no idea what I wanted to do next in life. I’ve always had my abstract goal to make films that effect people in a way that surpasses the natural– a way that gets them to think more earnestly about life, death and the decisions they make everyday. How exactly I would do that has always been a mystery to me. I’ve always loved writing stories and screenwriting has always been a passion of mine. However, I believe the bar for writers should be set very high; they should be well read and have a mastery of words and grammar and I didn’t quite meet these standards. So calling myself a writer always seemed quite daunting. Plus, I’ve always known that writing does not pay the bills because the chances of selling a script are few and far between. So for a good amount of time I strayed away from the path of a writer; I did everything I could while in college to learn about the production side of film.

In spite of my dismal outlook on screenwriting, my love for it still pushed me to take two more screenwriting courses in my last semester at school (screenwriting 2 & writing episode drama)– the latter was a last minute decision that I only got into thanks to COM’s efficient use of Twitter. I took these classes while being the cinematographer in another production course. All of these courses deepened my passion for filmmaking as a whole. They provided me with the skills and experience that made me finally realize what I want to do when I graduate– become a cinematographer!

I sought as much as advice as I could about the steps one should take to become a cinematographer. I did this while commencing my hunt for employment.  In spite of the many places I applied to I received only one call back/interview for an unpaid internship that I didn’t get. Nonetheless, my quest for work and a deeper understanding of cinematography made perfect sense and I didn’t want to give up on either one until after two things happened.

Thing 1: while getting advice about being a cinematographer from a woman I used to intern for she made a good point that I had long since forgotten: She mentioned to me that she assumed I had always wanted to be a storyteller because I like writing. However, she did remind me that I’ll always be the writer and I basically will then just need a day job. Rationally, that made perfect sense, but something in me felt like writing shouldn’t just be what I do on the side– at least not during that time period.

Thing 2 (The MOST random thing): I had just finished watching a new episode of Arrow and the social media addict in me wanted to see what people were saying about the episode on Twitter. Somehow, I stumbled upon the Twitter account of one of the writers for the show. I read the person’s bio and saw that they were a graduate of the Warner Brothers Writer’s Workshop. I recalled my professor for writing episode drama, mentioning the workshops and the fact that she did one of them; though, I’m ashamed to admit that when she mentioned them I never thought twice about them. Now, for some reason I was very intrigued by them. I researched as much information on them as I could. I found out that there are a number of them out there, many of which had deadlines in May and 8 spots for the thousands of eager writers that would apply. I found such odds to be both terrifying and exhilarating. So I made the boldest and quite possibly stupidest decision of my life: I decided I was going to be one of those thousands of applicants and I would do so by foregoing my job search to write two solid scripts to enter while reading more, writing more and watching more TV (prior to this my favorite TV show was Pretty Little Liars and I was only following two other TV shows in other words my television knowledge was wanting).

So while I embarked on this journey of being a writer, I continued to look for part time work at film studios. Yet, as I looked at each job description I realized working in any sort of film company would seriously hinder the time I have to write and I didn’t want to just settle for writing on the side. It hit me that this is quite possibly the one time in my life when I can write without worrying about bills or other responsibilities since I’m still living at home with that lovely loan grace period. So I temporarily shut the door on finding film/tv work of any kind.

But the greed in me wouldn’t subside that easily. I wanted a job– any job. I hated not making money so I started to search for part and full time jobs close to home that wouldn’t be as demanding as film work. I kid you not… I did not receive even ONE response from a business and I was applying for jobs that HS students could do. I understand that the job market is pretty bad, but something in me felt that that wasn’t why I wasn’t getting work. It seemed in my gut like it was happening because this wasn’t a season where God wanted me to work. It felt like this was a season where I was to augment my comprehension of TV and improve my writing. I became more comfortable with this season as the days went by, but that comfort rarely lasted.

Every time I heard that someone I knew accepted a job or got into grad school, doubt, jealousy and fear crept inside of me. I really couldn’t tell if I was delusional or if I was actually doing what God wanted me to do. I took a risk, hoping it was the latter and decided I would not look for work until I finished both scripts for the workshops. It’s funny, the more I began to work on the scripts and study TV shows, the more I realized that this is absolutely like a full time job. Not only that, but it is the BEST job because the more I did it the more I realized how intense my passion for it was. I am so captivated by television shows now and even more enraptured by writing televisions scripts that I now know that THIS is what I long to do for a living. If you flashback to an old blog of mine prior to graduation I did not have a dream job.

My scripts are still under construction and April is more than halfway over, meaning that those deadlines, along with the end of my student loan grace period are coming soon. Today I started to go into panic mode again as I began to fear for my future. I wanted to just apply to every single job and do everything to find one NOW. But I don’t like to do things out of panic because I know that that panic is always the product of me relying on myself, my plans and my merits while ignoring the God that loves me. I prayed to The Lord to direct me and to speak to me. Before I connected with God I was washing dishes and in the process, the song “God of the Impossible” by Everfound came into my head. When I finally had my time with The Lord I made sure to listen to it and I am glad I did.

Here I am, Lord send me | I won’t look back cause I was made | To be a part of the impossible | You’re God of the impossible | Here I am, Lord send me | I won’t back down cause I believe | You are the God of the impossible | You’re God of the impossible | Here I am, send me!

This song’s lyrics overwhelmed me with emotions as the question formed in my head “Do I believe God is The God of the impossible?” That answer absolutely was a YES!!!! So my decision stood; I was and am going to hold off on looking for work until after I have, the best possible, most engaging, marketable drafts of my scripts. No, this decisions doesn’t come with the reassurance that I’ll be one of the eight people in a writer’s workshop nor does it stand with the promise that I’ll find a job immediately when I start searching again. I believe in my heart that it comes with the guarantee that God will be faithful to me because I’ve relinquished control of my life to Him and that that means that He will lead me to an impossible place that I would’ve never foreseen. In all honesty, He has already done that during these past four months; He has birthed in me a hunger to read, an improvement in my writing skills, a forgiveness for those who have hurt me, an independent spirit, a more humble spirit and a trust in Him that I haven’t had in years. These past few months have exceeded my expectations of what I would learn upon graduating from college and I thank God for that because I know this was a part of His plan for my life. So regardless of the rejections that are in store for me when I begin my job hunt once more, I will joyously praise Him because I know He’s the God of the impossible and every door that closes or opens before me is one that is bringing me to where He wants me to be.

Day 8 – Believe

While today was technically day 8 of my fast it was actually my 1st day (during this fasting period) abstaining from food to be with The Lord and what a wonderful time it was. I prayed and worshiped and reflected on Psalm 37:4; “Delight thyself also in The Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” I’m usually tempted to analyze and over explain verses like this because at times I find them to be too good to be true and/or my flesh feels the need to play devil’s advocate to justify the times when I or others may not have gotten things we deeply longed for. This time, I won’t do either of those two things. Instead, I am simply going to believe those words and the fact that The Lord can give understanding, peace and belief to those reading this :).

Daytime Edition

I haven’t blogged in a while so this is an extra-not-so-special daytime edition of my rambles.

It’s Thursday and the new semester for my school starts on Tuesday and I’m expecting to move in on Sunday. The only problem is I don’t know where I’ll be moving into. I feel like the Israelites. God brought me out of the struggle I was in when I was previously unable to settle my past due balances. Now I’m in the desert, but not alone. One obstacle at a time, He has reminded me of His goodness and generosity by opening doors that I didn’t think would be opened. So in spite of the fact that I have very limited time to see how everything will work out, I’m still believing that it will work out. I’m still believing that I will set foot on that campus as a student with a place to live for the 2013/2014 school year. And I believe this because I’m a flawed, doubting, sinful human that is loved so greatly by an over generous God that makes the impossible possible.

What astounds me most about our generous God is the way that He works in everyone’s life in a different way according to His will for each person’s life. He gives us exactly what we need for whatever season of life we are in; and exactly what we need can be bitter or sweet. So, why do I believe that God is going to give me something sweet by allowing me to attend BU again by the start of next week? Well, because I think it’s a part of His plan for my life. I also think so because of reasons that I cannot understand. Sometimes we don’t understand the answers or explanations for why  good or bad things happen in life or for why we think said good or bad things will happen. That’s where faith comes in. Where we believe in what we cannot see and do not know, trusting that something incredible and miraculous will happen.