It's New Year's Eve and like most people, I am in a moment of reflection. In the past few days (since I am off from work), I made some time to go see new movies and re-watch old ones. If you are like me, you come out of the movies either disappointed because it was a waste of time and money, pleased but not necessarily feeling like it was anything to write home about or moved to action or tears due to the message of the movie. Two such movies that moved me where Collateral Beauty and The Greatest Showman (which came out this month).
In Collateral Beauty, we see TIME in the form of a person sharing with Will Smith (who was in extreme grief due to losing his child) how we often complain about time, saying "there isn't enough time," "time is short," "the grey hairs are coming in," see clip below:
TIME in the movie says that it is abundant, it is a gift, even while we waste time complaining we are wasting it. In that is the lesson friends, we keep wasting time. Now in my very early fifties (smile), the thing that keeps being replayed every year's end is the question, "what did we do with our time?"
Every year brings sorrows, many that we didn't expect. You know like death of loved ones, relationships broken because of lies, betrayals, or misunderstandings and unforgiveness. Those are the things that usually take us into a cave that we can't find our way out of. But the thing is, many of us, keep doing the same thing over and over again yet every year we expect different results. The famous quote says that that is the definition of insanity.
So as we enter 2018 in a few hours, how will you determine to use your time? Will you stop having a pity party because life is unfair (and trust me I get THAT) and start using the time YOU have to be productive, to contribute joy, happiness to those around you and make the world a better place? Will you use the things you learned in pain to spur you on to acts of kindness towards others? Will you use the God-given talents and gifts bestowed upon you to finally get that book finished, start that new business or ministry?
I know that some of our dreams didn't come to pass. However, that doesn't mean that others won't. Keep dreaming.
I know that people have let you down talking from both sides of their mouth, voting for Trump, or simply not being who they said they were. However, that doesn't mean that other people can bring you joy, become friends and new mentors and cheerleaders in your life.
In the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time." Gandalf replies, "So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
TIME really is a gift. Don't waste another second crying over the people who don't love you. Angry at the people who walked away. Wallowing in self-pity because this has not turned out to be the life you dreamed of. There is still much beauty to see and bring to this world. You can be a part of creating that beauty for those around you and for yourself. Use. Your. Time.
Another movie that has totally put me in the most pleasant of moods is The Greatest Showman. Predicted to be a flop by critics, people have been giving it thumbs up, cheering in theaters and crying in their seats. (Another example on why critics DON'T MATTER!).
This movie celebrated diversity, it showcased love, faith, risk, the family that we often have with friends we chose when our families haven't turned out to be that ideal picture we had hoped for. But the greatest stand out for me personally was this song, "This is Me." The lyrics go like this:
I'm not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
'Cause we don't want your broken parts
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one will love you as you are
But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruise
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
Who hasn't at one time or another felt like they didn't fit in. I sure have. Most of my life. Mostly because I had questions, spoke up, and never wanted to be fake, which if we are honest, most people feel they have to be just to survive in whatever world (s) they are in. I have been hurt by words, I have been hurt by being overlooked, undervalued. But then one day, I realized that I was giving way too much power to "them" instead of "me." This song is an anthem for all who are ready to walk away from the things and people that no longer serve them to finally be themselves.
At the end of 2017, I sure hope you will give that some thought. Be you. Stop trying to be liked by everyone. Most people already see that you are not authentic when you have that way about you. When you are truly yourself, everyone won't like you. You won't be trying to please everyone. Fit in with everyone. Invite everyone. But you will be free. It's an amazing liberating feeling when you say THIS IS ME. It's not an excuse to be a mean person. Not an excuse not to work on yourself. When I say "This Is Me" I mean I have finally embraced how GOD wired me and I've embraced the things that matter most to me. I am a work in progress (as are you) but we can come to terms with that thought that we are constantly on the potter's wheel and we are not nor will ever be perfection on this side of heaven. Yet the people and the places that celebrate us as we are, are the people and places that we need in that particular season of our life.
So, my friends, as we prepare to go into 2018, let us all reflect on the time we have at the moment (as we do not know when our lives will come to an end) and embrace the person in progress that we are. I wish you nothing but amazing, over the top blessings in the new year and pray that when the moments come of self-doubt and suffering, that God will be an ever present help for you as you call on Him.
Happy New Year!