Conviction: a strong belief or persuasion.
My career allows me to have one foot in the world of entertainment. I am always auditioning and working in productions with people who are from all walks of life. In a short amount of time, I’ve learned that everythang ain’t for everybody. And so it is that I have to make the decision of following my instinct and deciding what’s right for me to engage in as a follower of Christ. Networking in entertainment is not via conferences, but with the after parties during rehearsals or the show’s run. We hang out. We eat and drink with other performers who are in the biz. It’s the best way to find out whose producing a new show, where the next audition is, and who I’m competing against for gigs. It’s probably no different from your workplace environment, but the Christian faith is often attacked for what we believe and how we choose to live it out. Some say it’s too rigid, or no fun, or all fairy tales. Nonetheless, I do my best to live by example in the word of God. I don’t judge others, and I certainly don’t argue or force my faith on anyone, but I lean on the Holy Spirit when deciding what’s best for me.
Sometimes, this requires I turn down jobs because they simply don’t reflect who I am or what I believe. My “type” in the industry is the young mom, or the professional career woman like a nurse or teacher. I’m cool with that and rest easy when I get the scripts because I’m very cautious of my image. And my desire though I fall short is to glorify God in everything I do. My friend always teases me if I have a skirt on as he asks sarcastically, “where you coming from, Bible study or Sunday school?” I laugh because it’s a large part of who I am and I don’t hide it. And while I’m down to hang with friends and support them in their endeavors, they know if I don’t agree with, I’m not doing it. Period. End of story. Further more, I hold myself accountable and try not to do anything I wouldn’t claim or be proud of years from now. I like to have fun, but I also have limits. I’ve chosen to live it out this way because I know I’m someone is always watching.
Every now and then, I’ll meet someone who insist I do things I’m uncomfortable with. To date, I can say I haven’t had to compromise my beliefs in any role. While I don’t stand up and scream “Thank you Jesus!!” in rehearsal, he’s on my mind and I know I need him as my strength to help me be the best I can. So it surprised me when I a cast member asked me to take a picture pretending to snort a drug used by another character during my current show. We’re playing nuns and my character is sassy, fun and bossy, but keeps the crew in line. So since it wasn’t my character on stage or off, I didn’t have a good feeling about joining in the escapade. The rest of the cast all agreed to take the pic for group photos but there were a couple of ideas that just left me with a pit in my stomach. I struggled with it at first because while it wasn’t a real drug, it just wasn’t something I wanted to do. It wasn’t something I’d be proud of even as a joke. I would feel like I was compromising my standards and quietly wondered how to handle it without offending the others? I finally ended up being honest and saying thumbs down to certain pics and letting them know which ones I would. I felt good, they felt good, but I’m sure there were some confused thoughts about it. One cast member even asked her father, who is a minister, were the pics with the drugs okay, and he said they were fine. But what she didn’t understand was they weren’t fine for ME. I talked it over with a friend and he reminded me: don’t ever do anything you are uncomfortable with. So I didn’t. It wasn’t a reflection of me, the God who allows me to sing and glorify him, or the professional counselor (my other job) who helps people with addictions and strongholds like drugs and alcohol. I’m sure I lost cool points with the group, and even came off as “religious or churchy”, but I call it my conviction. And convictions pop up to tell you….nope, that’s not for you. That’s not who you are. And more importantly, stand firm and don’t even think about it. And so I stay back. I’m not a perfect person, and I make mistakes everyday all day. But some things aren’t up for discussion. Honoring how I feel and what I believe is a principle I’m not willing to compromise. Society will tell us we never want to make waves, but sometimes you have to swim alone to keep your integrity. If I learned anything from the situation, it’s that I will always be challenged to fit in and go with the flow. It didn’t feel right, it didn’t look right, and it didn’t fit with my purpose. I’m glad I said no. And I’ll continue to do because I understand that my beliefs will always be reflected in my actions.