Some of us have a tendency to over analyze, over think, and over apply simple statements or ideas. This came to me in way that put me in a paralyzing place a few years ago when I was in college. I was attempting to figure out what to do with my day. I had 2 specific tasks ahead of me: go to the bookstore for some required supply and go to the mailboxes to check my mail at the Student Union Building.
I don’t remember what parts of my life led to this being a catalyst for a spiritually altering debate in my head, but it did. For some reason, I was walking down the street asking: Ok God, which one should I do first? Needless to say, I didn’t hear an answer. So then I asked again: Do I go to the bookstore first or go get my mail? again there was silence.
At this point, I found myself getting frustrated because this seemed to be a significant decision I needed to make CORRECTLY. I mean after all if I do one first then my life will or could have a certain outcome, but if I chose a different option my life would be drastically different. I mean but OF COURSE it would be. This is a MAJOR, significantly life altering decision right here.
It was then that I heard clear as day: Christina, I made you an intelligent woman with a mind to decide. CHOOSE. Which of course I responded: but God I want to do the right thing, I want to do your will, I want to make the right decision, one of these MUST be RIGHT. But again I heard: Christina, I made you an intelligent woman with a mind to decide. CHOOSE. So I did and I went to the bookstore first.
But it was in that moment that I realized there are times when my ability to look at the little decisions and specific aspects of my life with such detailed analysis; that I wonder if I am doing myself more harm than good.
3. View every action as a scene in your movie
Now while looking at #3 is a good overall approach to making intentional choices about how to live life, make a conscious choice about how one spends the time, and pursuing things that keep life positive, serving giving, healthy, integrity filled type of approach. I personally know, I need to be careful, that I do not find myself back in that place of scrutinizing every little move I make in life. Lest I find myself stranded on a street corner arguing with God in broad daylight about which direction I should go — to work mind you. (I am late enough as it is most days.)
I also need to be careful not to take the position of a professional film editor of the life I have already lived. It is so easy to attempt to take that disconnected, neutral position of just watching the move for the purposes of putting it together in a well crafted, visually amazing, and true to the story method when it seems that while reviewing the reels and reels of film there isn’t anything good to show. Because viewing life in retrospect, it is easy to be critical and detailed and watch things in slow motion and review every nuance of the scene. And as an editor, those are important skills to know how to put all those pieces together in a way that will display a clever, clear, and creative piece of cinema.
But if I am viewing my life in the MOMENT from the editor position-trying to anticipate how this will look in the cutting room-it can paralyze the actor position from trying anything for fear of how it will look. It is at this moment that I realize I need to trust the director to see my performance from the outside and KNOW that he is telling me what looks good and what will make it into the final product.
So without even realizing it, I have stumbled across a question: Whose the Director? Is it suppose to be me? Am I the one who is telling myself (the actor) what to do and how to act and what will look good on-screen? Have I been trying to fill every role in every way which is only resulting in my self-destruction because having those roles in constant competition with each other does not produce positive results? Or is it that each of those roles in my life have different goals and desires-which is why on any given day I can be moving from actor to director to editor-so constant internal conflict is just a by-product of the creative process?
Sometimes having the ability to evaluate and analyze can devolve into an overly oppressive critical attitude toward every action and every situation. So even though I know the intent of #3 is to spark living life on purpose – I need to include this caution flag in my own mind.
Tips for Making the Movie of Your Life Great
1. Decide in advance what the story will be
2. Welcome challenges as “inciting incidents”
3. View every action as a scene in your movie
4. Choose the other acting characters
5. Remember, you are the director of this movie
I know I skipped #2 – I will come back to it, 🙂 for all of you keeping track of details people.