Follower of Christ. My identity is in Jesus.
I'm 23. I was raised in North Carolina. Then hung out in New York City for a few years, doing the college thing. Now I'm finally living in LA, and I love it. I'm a filmmaker, writer, and comedian. Paul McCartney is my favorite. I know that the greatest peace, truest freedom, and most perfect love is only found in Jesus. And I genuinely pray that everyone comes to know that, too.
Despite a solid day yesterday, I was in an awful mood last night (that time of the month…sigh) and thus was kind of wary about what this day would bring. I had a full plate scheduled, between church then a full day of shooting my short film (and self-producing and directing a short film with minimal, unpaid crew and no budget is ridiculously stressful), plus I have been getting such little sleep so I wasn’t sure how it would go.
But the day turned out to be amazing. I could just feel God drawing me so much closer to Him this morning during an incredible church service (if you’re ever in LA, you have to check out Reality LA - absolutely amazing, Spirit-filled church). And it’s so good to just worship Him. To express my heart to Him. My appreciation, dedication and love for Him. I love it so much.
Then man, I just love making movies. The first three days (spread out over a few weeks) of doing this short film have been unnecessarily stressful due to creative conflicts with whom I originally had as my DP as well as last-minute cancellations of actors and such, so with that weighing down on me, it makes filmmaking feel more like a hassle or duty.
But today - wow. It really brought me back to that place of absolute love of this. And just that amazing feeling of “I was really meant to do this.” There were a few things great about it. This time around, my DP and I seem to have the same idea of what we want to visually accomplish, which makes the process so much more enjoyable and natural. I had a few more extra hands on set, too, which sure beats me having to direct, AD, AC and sound mix (yes, I did all of those positions the first two days of shooting on this project).
Also I worked with amazing actors. One of which is my bestest friend, Nina, whom I’ve been casting in my films since we were both students at NYU four years ago. And it made me so grateful that God not only brought us into each other’s lives, but kept us in each other’s lives, from New York to Los Angeles so we’re able to still making movies together. It’s such a pleasure working with her, and it’s always blast on set (because we’re hilarious and entertaining, of course). Plus she’s a fantastic actress, which is bonus.
Also have been working with another friend of mine who is just spectacular, a hilarious joy to have on set, and is going to NYU this Fall, which has Nina and I completely excited, of course! He’s seriously amazing in the role, and it excites me to see what he does in each take. This is going to turn out so well!
We didn’t even get to finish one scene because a woman in the next apartment building over from mine claimed our camera was pointing into her window as she was coming out of the shower (what? First off, why do you have your window open as you’re coming out of the shower anyway? Secondly, that simply wasn’t true, and we have the footage to prove it) so the apartment manager more or less threatened to call the police if we didn’t skidaddle. But in spite of that, I still had a blast doing what i love, and I trust that God uses everything for good, so it’ll work out.
It did suck, though, because we got some seriously amazing footage! But oh well, we’ll just have to duplicate it, and maybe it’ll look even better the second time around!
Also, something that had been on my mine since we filmed on Friday especially was how I really want the sets I’m on (most specifically the ones I’m running) to just be full of God as a way of sharing His love with others. Most of the people I had helping me out today are non-believers, and they either know for sure I’m Christian or surely have to catch on because I talk about going to church and the like and the screenplay is a huge Christian metaphor anyway. And of course, I really just want my whole life in general to bare testament to Christ, and I felt like I failed at that in some ways on Friday (grace, fortunately, is so amazing).
But today, God totally allowed me to bare clear testament to His presence within me! Just the way I reacted when that guy told us we had to stop shooting - my crew members noticed and were even like, “Yeah, you acted a lot better than I would’ve.” And it’s totally Christ in me. And I could just feel Him stirring up His love within me to just serve and be kind to my crew, and I really pray it leaves them affected, because the love of Christ is just the most spectacular, most amazing thing to witness. It truly changes you. So it was cool to see Him working within me and just using me to be a light, which is awesome and humbling and really all I want to d ever.
Lastly, my DP is really cute (oh gosh, please don’t let her ever come across my tumblr haha). Like, I’m not trying to date, but yeah. It just was an added incentive to filmmaking today (albeit a little distracting at times, I admit haha)
Speaking of that. The blessings don’t stop. Then I got on facebook tonight to see I had a reply to a message thread I had kind of going with a friend who I went to college with who had messaged me after I came out (yes, out of the closet, in case you missed that whole thing a month ago). Though straight herself, as a Christian, homosexuality in regards to Scripture is something that has been on her heart, so she had reached out to me with a super encouraging message, asking me to explain more about my beliefs in regards to homosexuality and Christianity. This was a month, and I replied and hadn’t heard back from her, so I forgot about it.
But she replied tonight, and it was just the nicest, most affirming message that really warmed my heart, but also felt so humbled. It wasn’t just the fact that she was on board with the points I made and held to a similar belief as I did (which is doubly awesome because not only is she a serious Christian, but a Republican, so the fact that she supports gay marriage is ridiculously amazing), but she told me a few very nice, complimentary things that were nice to see. But further amazing is the fact that God has used my sexuality - something that is very easy to see as a burden, especially since I’m a serious Christian who’s very involved in my church - to reach people, to encourage people, to touch people. It is seriously so amazing and gosh, so humbling. But confirming, because He told me from the get-go that He wanted me out so He could use this for His glory, and He’s already proving to me that He meant that. So I can’t wait to see how He continues to do such.
But it’s great to see that encouragement and just someone who is willing to open-mindedly consider the alternate side of things as opposed to immediately clinging to the “traditional side” without much thought to it. Especially since my last facebook messages in regards to my sexuality was from a girl that I literally only talked to once for 20 minutes over a year ago, but had read my post and was concerned as my sister in Christ.
And like, I totally am on board with loving rebukes and correction - I think we’re totally called to that within in the body of believers. But this girl literally doesn’t know me at all. She doesn’t know my walk with Christ or anything. And though she was definitely loving in how she went about it and did eventually ask for how I came to my “God affirms same sex relationships in the right context” belief, I felt like she only asked me that with the intent of trying to prove me wrong, not to actually truly understand and fairly consider that my viewpoint could have some legitimately validity. It was confirmed in her response, which implied some things about my spiritual walk that she certainly wouldn’t have implied had she’d actually known me. And like, I’m not in the business of defending my relationship with Christ (I think for better or for worse, the fruits speak for themselves) nor trying to make someone see my way when they’re clearly set in theirs (a.k.a. pointless debating) so after her response, I more or less told her, “I don’t have time to argue with you, though I definitely have rebuttals to your points.” Because I legitimately have more important things to do lol I hope that’s not rude or inconsiderate, but God’s not calling to argue interpretations of doctrine with fellow Christians. He’s calling me to share His love to those who have yet to experience it, so I’m putting my focus on that, you know.
I mean, I love reasonable, humble, open-minded intellectual conversations, so bring up any subject in the Bible or having to do with Christ, and I will gladly talk with you for ages and share my viewpoints as I listen to yours - it’s really one of my favorite things to do. Like, if I could make movies every day and talk about Jesus every night - perfect.
But I’m not going to debate. That’s one thing I just see no need in doing, and I just won’t. It doesn’t bother me any if some person doesn’t see things the way I do about homosexuality. My own father doesn’t, and it doesn’t bother me at all. Because my approval, my affirmation, my worth, my EVERYTHING is found in God. He’s seriously all that ultimately matters, so if He and I are good, then the rest of y’all can think whatever you want about me.
But yeah, that was a weird tangent I went off of lol Point is, that message really punctuated an already amazing, Christ-filled day. God is so good.
And I’m excited for the upcoming weeks. One of my best friends, Beth, is coming to town on Tuesday (shoot, I still have yet to tell my roommates haha I HAVE to remember to do that tomorrow), so that is going to be spectacular. And God’s been revealing some crazy amazing things to me lately, so I’m excited to step out in faith and see where He takes me.
So all glory be to Him! Hallelujah, AMEN!
Philippians 2: 3-8
A fantastic example that we should strive to follow! True selflessness and servitude is the solution to most of the world’s problems.
Excited to write a post soon called “The Lifestyle God Really Calls Us To”, which will touch on what I think proponents both sides of the homosexuality debate are tragically missing in regards to the overall scope of the Gospel. I think both sides tend to just stop when they’ve reached their conclusion on why they believe their viewpoint is correct, but I believe there’s a greater “therefore” or “however” that needs to be addressed afterwards, or else we’re all just missing the point of what God ultimately wants us to see here - something that applies no matter what your view on homosexuality is.
And I will try to write this as objectively and neutrally as I can (though total unbiased writing is probably technically impossible).
I guess what it boils down to right now for me in this season (and well, always, but as far as the lesson I’m being taught right now) is to trust God, period. If He wants me to do it, He’ll see me through it.
Even if He has me standing in front of something that I very honestly do not want to go forth with because the potential consequences seem too much to bear. But I suppose there’s a few things wrong with this viewpoint. First off, I’m trusting myself, not Him, which is why I feel so ill-equipped and insufficient for this. Because I know I can’t do much on my own power.
And then I’m seeing things through my human lenses, which is why I’m only seeing the potential bad as opposed to the overarching good that God sees and will bring in this circumstance. Everything worth is gonna hurt a little (or a lot), but if you’re doing it for the right reasons (God’s reasons), then the good at the end is going to surpass any pain of the trial.
So I’m standing here somewhere in between “I cant handle this” and “I just don’t want to handle this”, which is the biggest injustice I could do to God, whom I claim to put at utmost and trust fully. So I’m surrendering to Him, knowing that He’s honestly going to have to do some significant work within me to bring me to the point of full surrender. I guess at this point, I’m opening myself up to do what He’s called me to, knowing that I’m hindered still by my sense of self to be completely ready to jump into it, but asking Him to change me and rid me of my sense of self so I will be ready to.
Because I want to serve Him, so badly - that’s all I want to do. And He’s calling me to something pretty significant here. I mean, He has been for awhile, and we’ve been taken steps towards it but I guess I thought because I did one big thing towards His purpose, that was it and no, this is continual process in regards to this specific plan of His for my life.
It’s being okay with what I may lose in light of what I may gain. Just like what Paul says in Philippians 3:8 - “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
For me right now in this situation, that amounts ultimately to dying to my self. Completely. Because what I tend to hold in most esteem (aside from God) is my pride - how people perceive me, how they react to me. I like to be affirmed. Furthermore, I find comfort in such affirmation. In a sense, that’s where I find my stability in a lot of times.
I need to find that in Christ. Only in Christ. And when I’ve finally been brought to the point where these petty matters of self amount to no worth, then I know I can be used fully for God’s purposes. Because my self won’t be getting in the way.
Because that’s precisely what’s getting in the way right now. So please, Lord, diminish my self and replace it with You. I know the more I become consumed by Christ, the more I will be able to cast away my selfishness. My treasure has to be the Kingdom of God and its purposes - not my pride.
So I’m in the process of relinquishing that to Christ so that I will boldly step forth and do what He’s called of me with no hesitations. Pray for me!
The more I study the Bible - really and truly study the Bible for myself as opposed to just blindly accepting what’s been told to me - the more true Christ-bred freedom I find, and it’s amazing! To really explore the true purpose of Leviticus and the laws set forth by the Lord to the Israelites then to compare that with the purpose of Christ and what He’s done for us brings incredible enlightenment and drives me so strongly into the arms of Jesus, knowing the weight and significance of His sacrifice for us.
In the Lord, that is. Fully, completely without inhibitions. Living in all out faith. Not ever questioning that He is working things out for my good, and He is continually equipping me to do His will. And that will WILL be done. Amen!
I always find it interesting that Paul spent three years in Arabia before he officially began his ministry (but after his conversion), receiving the revelation of Jesus Christ. Obviously Paul had that initial revelation, but then instead of consulting other men, he retreated into the desert to be taught directly by God through the Holy Spirit. (Galations 1:11-17)
He took three years (at least) of solo preparation, spending time with God, before he went out to preach to the Gentiles. It seems to be that there is a sort of trend of isolation from man to be directly filled by God prior to the start of a ministry (Jesus and His 40 day fast prior to the official start of His ministry).
And I think of my life, back around last September to November where outwardly, nothing seemed to be happening. In fact, there was a period of several weeks in the midst of that when I hadn’t really talked to one of my best friends in awhile, so when it was time to catch up and she asked me to fill her in on my life, my response was akin to “…”
My social life was on the dead side during that period as I wasn’t getting many hours at work, so there was a lot of time alone in my apartment, which is why I had nothing to update her in the realm of “I went out and did this really interesting thing” or “Yeah, totally met this person who I’m totally crushing on”, but as I reflected back on the past couple of months, I realized that so much had actually happened.
Because in that period of aloneness (not to be confused with loneliness), I took the Word. I took to prayer. I took to God. I spent so much time with Him, and He did incredible work in my heart during those few “isolated” months. The things He revealed to me, how He reshaped my thinking and grew a truer, selfless passion for Him within me was simply no less than amazing. And I can’t help but draw comparisons to that time of my life to the period of Paul’s life before his ministry. Not that 3 months is anywhere near his 3 years, but it became apparent to me that God does want a set aside period of time of spiritual preparation between us and Him in our lives before He sets us out on the mission we are to live out for Him.
Because as that concentrated growth time came to an end, I have now been presented with more opportunities to blatantly take what I’ve been given by Him in that time and use it practically in my life. I emerged from that period of time as a completely changed person, seeing things in a new way, being more filled by the Spirit than I could’ve ever imagined. And now I see how that was so necessary as I am embarking in this season of my life.
Of course God continually teaches us things as we go about, but at least in my life, I see how important that time was - those couple of months where it really was just Him and me (I still went to church and attended my weekly Bible study, of course, but like I said, there was just so much time of me alone in my room, communing with Him). I’m grateful for that time, because even though on paper it may seem like a “dead period”, so much life came out of it. And I feel like I was further equipped to live out His purpose.