Our culture is volatile. Just observe what often happens when a car accident occurs. In our present era of social media, it happens so easily for unintended or accidental incidents to “go viral.” Out come the cell phones. With social media, what might have been a simple local incident fifty years ago, can now incite a passionate global response. We were created by a passionate God to be passionate people. Jesus definitely was. We often refer to His life, death, and resurrection as “the Passion of Christ.”
What happens when our passions are not understood and they incite a wrong response?
I am reminded how often I have almost hit the car in front of me because it suddenly stopped, only for me to eventually realize there was something was in the road I couldn’t originally see. Perhaps it was an animal running across the road or debris that was in the way. The only thing I could see was my coffee cup or purse go flying in my car as I came to an abrupt stop. And I confess… my verbal responses haven’t always been pleasant ones! Similarly, social and political issues most often happen when we aren’t present. And our screens usually only show one perspective and not the whole picture. Yet, because of our human passion, we respond with an instant reaction that can ignite others’ views like a wildfire causing unrest and destruction.
Passionate responses cause disruptions.
In Luke 12:49, Jesus revealed His human nature and the burden of living in our broken world. He was both fully God and fully human and He was passionate to save us. He knew He would be “baptized” in suffering and wished He could just get on with it – be “kindled.” Yet God’s passion for us wouldn’t let Him until all that needed to be fulfilled in prophecy was done. It required Jesus to wait and walk the walk and talk the talk and trust in God’s perfect timing. And, I might add, it wasn’t easy. It required that He bring truth, and the truth is volatile. His passion would bring division. The truth of Jesus brought would pit one against the other – families would be divided because of their inability to see clearly who He was and God’s plan.
Our humanness limits our sight.
Jesus continually spoke clearly but He had to also use stories and ask questions that brought clarity and understanding because the hard truth stopped people. His mission was to enlighten us on God’s plan for our redemption. God saw what had to be done from the inciting incident of sin in the Garden. He knew how to solve the problem because He’s God. Yet, from our blind perspective, we only saw the punishment and not God’s redemptive plan for us. Our “car” (freedom) has been forced to stop and our personal stuff is flying. For those who have allowed themselves to believe in the truth of Jesus and whose eyes have been opened, we see differently.
We don’t have to know “the why” because God sees the why.
Instead of confusion and fear when challenges happen, we’re able to relax in the uncertainty and it’s unnatural. We weren’t at the inciting incident of sin in the Garden of Eden, but we don’t have to be. The Word of God is enough to trust that He’s got us. He sees us when we find ourselves suddenly stopped in our career or in life.
But we must choose.
We can become confused and frustrated when life’s disruptions happen, or choose the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). The difference? Confident rest. There’s a clarity and assurance that permeates our being, knowing that in the unknown and “the wait,” God’s perfect will is ideal, and His vision for us is best when we let Him control our gas petals.
In Luke 12:57-59, Jesus challenged those who were listening to pay attention to the time they were living in. It was the most significant time that had ever happened on Earth. He had come to save us. Today, we even document time as before Christ (BC) and after Christ’s death (AD) because His life, death, and resurrection stopped the clock and then restarted it.
The times we’re living in seem to change at light speed with unintended incidents – stops that we never could have anticipated, but still manage to disrupt our lives. Yet, God never changes. His plans will be accomplished even if they unfortunately divide families and cause disruptive “fires.” Jesus knew He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus was confident in what He had been called to do on Earth by His Father. He willingly and passionately completed His mission, even if it incited division and disruption.
Are you willing to trust God’s plan and perspective for your life even if causes a fire?
Recently at a Museum of The Bible event in Washington, D.C., I was invited to participate in a painting class. When I first saw the class being offered on the schedule, I was a bit hesitant, if not intimidated. I hadn’t painted anything since the 3rd grade. I consider myself a fairly creative person, having worked as an actress in Hollywood and producing media projects for many years with Cooke Media Group; but the thought of being exposed as an inept artistic painter (perhaps equal to being a musically tone-deaf individual) was petrifying. Nevertheless, I forced myself to go knowing, without question, that I’d embarrass myself.
Insecurity and fear keep people from achieving greatness more than anything else.
Fear robs us of God’s joy in allowing Himself to be exposed in new ways through our unique lives. When we step into the fear, we step away from areas that we’ve built around us as safety nets. By staying in those safe places, we rob ourselves of the freedom and purpose that God wants to bring into our lives. New environments and situations that we must depend on Him for to accomplish. (more…)
In this season of Lent (giving something up to remember the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus) and as Easter approaches (the celebration of our salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus), I found myself reflecting on specific people who could help me remember the importance of defending my faith.
God chose and orchestrated people in specific places to teach us about Himself and how much He loves us. Pontius Pilate was an interesting character to study. He was a Roman political leader who desired power and aggressively pursued it. He was a man who wanted to be remembered and achieved it, but not in the way he intended. (more…)
R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Find out what it means to me…. I can hear Aretha Franklin belt it out. But how do you get it in the workplace and on production sets today?
Here are 3 thoughts and lessons I’ve learned.
Know and exert your boundaries.
One of the hardest things to learn is when to stop. I still fail at this sometimes. I’m one who likes to push the boundaries but I’ve learned over the years that sometimes you just need to throw in the towel and give it a rest. It often comes down to our self-worth and wanting to be “enough” but even more than that, wanting to be exceptional in the eyes of others. In our inward-focused social media world of comparing ourselves with others’ endeavors and achievements, this can bite back, overwhelming us with exhaustion.
Not being able to say no can also be an invasion by others of your time and energy that interrupts your ability to achieve all God has called you to do. Wanting to help and encourage others is admirable but can also be a disruption to what God’s called you to accomplish. In both of these cases, it diminishes respect because it robs us of success. Boundaries inspire others to respect your time and expertise and it can also show others how to manage their own time and purpose.
Stop trying to be perfect and impress everyone.
You’ll never reach perfection and you can’t please everyone. It won’t happen. This took me years to learn because of an older brother who died as a child. I always was trying to replace him in the eyes of my parents, who, because of their loss, unknowingly talked about him and idolized him to me. He was their perfect child who did no wrong when he walked the earth. I was an adult before I realized how their constant reminders of him had affected me. Don’t try to be perfect or impressive, be real. Be vulnerable and be willing to accept others’ imperfections. Admit when you have failed and then look for opportunities to turn failures into victories. Take the time to look people in the eye as well. Be confident in what you can do, knowing you will never be good at everything. You will gain respect for being real.
It’s amazing to me that I have to talk about this in today’s world, where we can afford to look better for much less. I know torn jeans and, sweats, and hoodies are the go-to choices today, especially after the pandemic, but looking put together, having a style (and I might add smelling clean) will always gain respect. It may seem superficial, but it makes a difference in what people remember about you.
Research says that we size a person up in less than 8 seconds, deciding instantly how much attention to pay that person. First impressions stick. There is also a reason a fresh haircut or manicure makes you feel good. It affects your attitude, energy, and choices. It reflects what you value and affects how others perceive and value you. Others won’t respect you until you respect yourself.
Respect comes down to knowing who you are and being courageous. Courage isn’t about being fearless. Courage comes with making the right choices, even if you feel afraid. If you want to be a “respected hero,” make the right choices. You’ll become the person who stands out and is looked up to by others. It’s worth more than gold, and it’s what God is cheering you on to become. He wants us to be a reflective image of Himself – mind, spirit, and bodily. When you carry respect, it reflects the One exalted high and lifted up. It’s a reflection of God living in you.
I love writing and producing award-winning programs, or hosting great events that nourish souls. But it is agony for me to get there. I know and see the destination, but it’s the packing and getting there that never stops challenging me. I have a perfectionistic beast inside me that occasionally spews flames in my direction, hissing that I’m not good enough, not worthy, and waking me up in the middle of the night. This can lead to my own procrastination.
Procrastination is a form of anxiety.
Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and the author of “Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind,” said in a WSJ article, “Procrastination is a distraction. Anxiety triggers procrastination, especially for perfectionists, because we worry our solution to the problem won’t be good enough. Procrastination feels better than being anxious or trying to come up with a solution.”
Procrastination is an emotional response to fear.
Procrastination can hold us back, but it’s also a mindset that can be broken. God is a forward-moving God who tells us to “go” and even though we may not be good enough yet, the Bible tells us that we can do “all things through Him who strengthens us.” (Philippians 4:13) The issue is whether we are fully engaged and aligned with Him and His will, or are we just accessing Him when fear sets in. We need a sound and calm mind, otherwise we can become anxious and lose sight of the road in front of us. The Bible tells us that we are to be “anxious for nothing” and to take our requests to God. (Philippians 4:6-7) He will empower us if we stay connected to His will and remain courageous in the arms of Jesus. It’s a message I have had to be reminded of again and again, and why my quiet time with God is essential.
We will be hosting two outstanding women, producer Anna Zielinski and casting director Lisa London at our next Influence Women Hollywood Chapter Brunch on Saturday, February 4th, who have had to lean in and push through uncertainty, fear, and procrastination barriers. They decided to stop being placed in the position to wait and be picked. They stopped waiting for the industry shuts downs to lift during the pandemic, and instead found new ways to turn a disasterous situation into new, positive opportunities.
Want to break through the fear and learn how to gain fortitude?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defined fortitude as “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger and bear pain or adversity with courage.” In the world we live in today, we need fortitude and the strength to face the oncoming cultural winds that often bring pain and suffering.
Will you join me on Saturday, February 4th as we learn from women who have discovered the Source of fortitude and learned to silence the anxiety?
I grew up in the era of televangelists like Rex Humbard and Oral Roberts. They were the pioneers of what was then the only streaming screen – the TV. Today we live in the era of Instavangelists. They are evangelists on Instagram and TikTok. Our screens have changed, but we’re still drawn to a spiritual force and the wonder of God through the lens. Unbelievers watch too. Sometimes with disdain and sarcasm, but sometimes they watch with curious interest.
God ultimately wants us to know Him personally. He wants our heart to know His heart, which sometimes means going through pain and suffering to hear His voice within us. In our mentally cluttered media culture, it’s when we take the time to search, go through suffering, and ultimately are forced to turn off our screens that God’s voice finally cuts through. It’s why Satan – the deceiver keeps our screens and the noise on 24/7.
Christian media leaders and communicators have learned much about communication since the early days of televangelists. I actually believe there is more honesty in today’s Instavangelist culture as they choose to share not just the joy and goodness of God, but also the reality that we live in a broken, difficult world. I’ve seen many Christian leaders publicly share what a life lived fully alongside Jesus looks like; it is a life of service, forgiveness, compassionate love, and joy in the middle of suffering and uncertainty.
Life changed during the pandemic.
Young people who have been raised without knowledge of God or the spiritual world, became curious as they were suddenly confronted with incredible fear and untimely death in the world around them. Many who had been led to deny the existence of God and placed their faith in science or the government to solve their problems instead found them untrustworthy. Many who had never paused long enough to consider praying or reading the Bible stopped as their worldview was shaken and shattered. They began to ask if God was real. Was there a higher power, and possibly a deeper meaning to existence? Was there some truth to what those instavangelists were saying?
Social media is designed to tout a “me culture.”
As we begin a new year, can we, who are confident in our faith through God’s proven provision, become more effective instavangelists? What if we, who “know the truth and how the truth has sets us free” (John 8:32), began to use our social media accounts more strategically to tell others that it’s not about “me,” but about the God who breathes within me? What if we shared with them the reason why our life has purpose and meaning? What if our personal “television studios” proclaimed God’s ability to overcome disruption, suffering, devastation, and death, and that life wasn’t about the “here and now” of our imploding world, but in the world to come when King Jesus returns?
Depression and suicide rates are soaring today, and gender identity dysphoria is rampant. TikTok, culture’s latest life-sucking platform, can only be watched for a short time before what we post is gone. Yet the average global TikTok user spends 3.5 hours daily watching videos that are largely mindless, meaningless, and will vanish. Could this continual use of vanishing videos be a subtle message to users of their life? That it’s a vapor and here and gone before ever being seen and known? Is the constant need to check these vanishing stories keeping us from seeing what is eternal – the everlasting, all-seeing God?
Will God’s voice be heard before it goes away on TikTok or Instagram stories?
The reality is that our life on earth truly is a vapor; we aren’t here long. But it is definitely not meaningless. Our Creator God sees and knows us. Hagar, a woman in the Old Testament, names God El-Roi, the God who sees (Genesis 16:13). What if lovers of God become Instavangelists or TikTokvangelists and began sharing this revelation of an ever-present, eternal God? That He is real and He transformed their life? What if believers posted how God was with them during disasters, health or financial crises, through grieving, and times of endless uncertainties? What if they shared a peace that was unnatural, and a calm beyond their understanding during those times? That they knew the “Who” that held their hand and holds their future? What if the followers of Jesus posted of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and hope? What if they invited their followers to watch an online church service or posted how a scripture verse challenged their thinking? Like this verse, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 23:8)? And… what would happen by chance, if in 2023, their scrolling eye stopped and instead of finding something silly and meaningless, they found freedom, truth, and peace everlasting?
What if… they found the Light of the World behind their screen?