I’m about to confess something to you. Something that makes my husband say, “Because you’re dead on the inside,” (a la Chandler).
I do not like musicals.
I don’t do awkward. And people randomly bursting into song feels SUPER awkward to me.
Which is kinda odd since I have zero problem embarrassing my kids with a, “What can I say except ‘You’re welcome‘” after an occasional thank you. Maybe the thank you’s would be more often if I didn’t but I doubt it.
Over the holiday break, Heather asked if we could see a movie as part of her birthday celebration. I said SURE because that’s one of the things we do. We see movies. And eat chocolate fondue. (You so want to be our friend right now, don’t you???) Then when she said she wanted to see The Greatest Showman I rolled my eyes and thought BLAH.
As we walked into the theater, I was praying it was good. I needed an emotionally manipulated positive vibe. By the time we walked out, after watching every line of the credits, I was wiping tears from my face and buying the soundtrack on iTunes.
Positive vibe achieved and surpassed by soul-soaring inspiration.
If you haven’t heard about The Greatest Showman, well, you might be living under a rock.
Hugh Jackman has been making the rounds on the talk show circuit, the “making of “videos file through my social media newsfeed, and articles on every entertainment site about why no one should see and why everyone should see this movie.
According to what I’ve read, it took years to get this movie made. Jackman championed the concept and pushed to get it done. Since it’s central character is PT Barnum, I suspect not everyone was interested in a movie glorifying him, his circus, nor his questionable ethics.
But the movie really does none of those things.
What it does do is challenge the audience to dream big, accept people who come from a different background, and especially to love those who don’t look the same as what is considered “normal.”
The Bearded Lady, a little man, the Fattest Man in the World, acrobats (black acrobats), a man covered in tattoos. You know. The weird and unusual and not allowed in accepted social circles for the 1800’s.
Of course, looking at this with 21st-century eyes feels a bit off. Not a single one of those people would get much of a second glance today. We know the medical conditions now that cause giantism or albinism.
(Plus, we have TLC and they seem to be on a mission to give us a peek into every person’s life everywhere.)
What we look like on the outside rarely attracts attention, unless we want to be noticed. Our worlds overflow with pictures and images of ourselves and the other people in our lives. When we show up to work or church or a PTA meeting, for the most part, our outward appearance doesn’t cause much of a ruckus.
But what if people saw what our insides look like?
One of my favorite things is to find God in the secular. (Gratitude will do that to you. You start to see God in everything because God is everywhere.) Secular and religious are titles we give jobs and entertainment and volunteer work when truthfully, as adopted children of God, it is all Him.
When we walk with the Spirit, He teaches and speaks anywhere we go. We don’t get to decide if that’s while we’re worshiping at church or standing in line at the bank.
I adore seeing God everywhere.
And apparently, I’m seeing Him a lot in movies lately.
I sat in that theater, listening to the words of the now Golden Globe winning song, This Is Me.
“I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be. This is me.”
All I could think was, Well, that’s all of us.
The truth is, inside, we are all a mess. Our hearts are a jumbled pile of weird experiences and unusual pain and socially unacceptable thoughts. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud to admit (and likely don’t). Thoughts come out of nowhere and leave us breathless wondering WHAT IN THE ACTUAL WORLD. Our past and often our present circumstances feel off and wonky and unnerving.
We believe we need to keep all of that hidden.
Because in our head, we hear this…
“I am 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’ll love you as you are”
Those words, that shameful loop running through your head, lies. The enemy pulling his favorite (and only) trick. Who you are, what you’ve been through, those thoughts you regret even thinking? That makes you not enough. You are not enough.
And it’s all a lie.
Our Glorious Whole…
My bible study landed smack in Romans 8 this past week.
“And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” ~Romans 8:30 (NIV) (emphasis mine)
I love it when my bible study sinks up with what’s rumbling in my heart. The notes of our study pointed out all of those big verbs, predestined, called, justified, glorified, they are all past tense.
It is finished.
So I sing This is Me louder…
“Won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious”
Won’t let those lies from the enemy break me down. I know God has already prepared a place for us, His children He called by name unto Himself. And in Him, we ARE glorious.
It. Is. Finished.
Speaking God’s truth over our lives when we feel like we are under attack from the enemy is vital. But we are in a battle. A battle he can never win. A battle God has already won.
“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
Gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out”
Know anyone who’s sent a flood? Heard about a time when someone drowned an entire army of enemies?
When those lies, the sharp words of you are not enough, you’ll never measure up, you can never be more than the broken, bruised pieces, SEE GOD.
See God sending a flood and drowning the lies of the enemy. Those words you hear of shame and condemnation and hopelessness, picture them on that ocean floor and then watch God release His flood of your true identity in Him and wash the lies away. Bury them underneath miles and miles of molecules of His grace, mercy, love, sacrifice, and faithfulness.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
God has sent the flood. The lies have no authority here. They cannot separate us from the love of God through Jesus.
We show up to our neighborhoods, our offices, our schools, our churches, our soccer fields with our outsides on display, our insides protected, and we think keeping it that way is the best for everyone.
But authentic relationships develop in the light. Not in the dark. We have to start calling lies LIES and letting the light back into our hearts.
And then letting others walk in that light with us.
What if we shared our insides like others see our outsides?
Started walking and living and loving through the finished work of our God?
Believed we are already glorified?
“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”
Time to stop hiding, friends. Time to quit waiting for the flood to come and wash away your past, your regrets, your circumstances. The flood has already come! The work is already done! We are already glorified through Christ!
If we start to walk in that, building community begins to look a whole lot more like a privilege and honor. Something to look forward to instead of being scared of. Because in Christ, we are exactly who we are meant to be.
This is me, a glorified daughter of the King.
And this is you too, friend.
I included this particular video of the song because I love seeing the emotion from the singers. Makeup free, glasses on, sweatshirts, top knots. Just real people singing a song that touched them deeply. Also, Hugh Jackman dancing with a half-eaten apple in his hands brings me such joy.