How are we supposed to free ourselves from the spiritual emptiness and the degenerate life and find a genuine life? I was so lost and befuddled before, but now I’ve found the answer.
A Christian’s Gain From Being an Actress
By Ren Ping, United States
Xinying wanted to be an actress since she was little. When she saw that her friends around her appeared in movies, she admired them greatly. Thus, she would often imagine when she could be an actress in a movie, and then earn people’s respect.
Later, she finally had a chance to act as a background actress in a movie. Hearing this news, she was especially excited. She thought inside: Though a background actress is a small part, don’t those big stars play a small part at the beginning? As long as I take great care to act, someday I’ll also be famous. By then, everyone will look at me admiringly. So today’s small part is the foundation of my future success! Whenever she thought that people would look up to her later, her body was filled with inexhaustible energy. To realize her dream of being an actress, she began to search online for the material to learn and she constantly pondered, and practiced the role’s expression, motion and mood whether she was at home, on the road or in the locale.
The day of starting shooting at length arrived, and Xinying came to the locale happily. That play was about the protagonist’s lecturing and there were about thirty background actors. After seeing that, she started to worry, thinking: “Now that there are so many background actors, I must find a good position, and thus people who know me can easily find me in the shot after the movie is on release.” Hence, she looked around and walked quickly toward the right corner of the front row and sat down. She felt her position was pretty good, because when the camera shot the protagonist, her face would surely be on the camera. Thinking her relatives and friends would see her in the shot soon, she felt extremely happy within.
Right when she felt joyful, the director saw the staffs placing the camera car before her, then looked around and said to her, “Change your position. They need to place the camera slide. Why don’t you get out of here now and come back in when we call you.” At these words, she felt so embarrassed and the smile immediately fell from her face. She went out of the studio with reluctance, feeling very upset. She thought: So many people can sit in their seats, but why does it seem like I’m not wanted? I intended to let the people who know me see that I appeared honorably in the movie, but now I may even have no chance to be on camera.
After she got out, she stood outside the door. Seeing the director direct others but she was neglected there and had to wait to be arranged, she felt terribly wronged inside. Tears came to her eyes and she tried not to cry. At that time, a staff passed by her and said, “How can you still stand here? We’ll start shooting. Get inside, quickly.” She pretended to be strong and said, “The director told me to wait here. They’ll call me if need be.” The second she said this, she heard the director cried the words “Be ready to shoot” and asked the people outside to keep quiet. Then a staff rapidly closed the door. At that moment, Xinying was shut outside and she felt even more that she was a fifth wheel. Her eyes began to water and she felt an overwhelming pain in her heart. She couldn’t quiet herself and really wanted to leave for home and have a good cry.
At that point, a staff told her to stay in the monitoring room. There she could see what was going on in the locale by looking at the screen. When she saw those actors act to their hearts’ content, she was full of jealousness, thinking: “It’s the first time for me to take part in such a big filming, but why am I the only one who failed to take part in it?” Thinking of this, she felt extremely miserable. In pain, she came before God and prayed: “God! Now I feel sad and distressed. I don’t know what to do. I beg You to lead me to go through this setback….” After prayer, she thought of a song of God’s words: ““If you believe in God’s rule, then you have to believe that the things that happen every day, be they good or bad, are not random occurrences. It is not that someone is intentionally hard on you or targeting you; it is actually all arranged and orchestrated by God. What does God orchestrate these things for? It is not to reveal your shortcomings or to expose you; exposing you is not the end goal. The end goal is to perfect you and save you. How does God do that? Firstly, He makes you aware of your own corrupt disposition, of your nature and essence, your shortcomings, and what you lack. Only by understanding these things in your heart can you pursue the truth and gradually cast off your corrupt disposition.” She was much moved by this song. Though she was neglected outside the door by the director and lost the chance to be on camera, she felt God was comforting her with His words. She believed what had happened was God’s rule and arrangements, that there was a lesson for her to study and that it was the perfect time for her to experience God’s work. Although she couldn’t see this thing clearly, she believed all God did was salvation to her. Then she began to look for what aspect of the truth she should enter into and which aspects of her corrupt dispositions should be resolved.
Then she read these God’s words, “As soon as it involves position, face, or reputation, everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and you always want to stand out, to be famous, to be glorified. You are unwilling to yield, always wanting to contend, although contending is embarrassing. However, you are not content not to contend. When you see someone stand out, you are jealous, feel hatred, complain, and feel it is unfair. ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why is it never me? Why is it always he who gets to stand out and it’s never my turn?’ There is some resentment. … Is not a person’s falling into these conditions a trap? This is the bondage of a satanically corrupted nature.”
This passage reached deep into her heart. She reflected on herself and realized that she came to the locale, not in order to play a part well, but to be on camera and show herself off, so that the people who knew her would see that she acted in the movie and then look up to her. So when she was neglected by the director and her desire was not satisfied, she felt aggrieved and was jealous of other actors. Meanwhile, she complained about the director’s arrangement, and thought he didn’t treat her fairly and made her lose her face. Recalling these behaviors, Xinying felt she had been completely occupied by face and status and lived in the trap of scrambling for fame and status, which caused her to feel pained and tortured.
Then, she continued to seek the truth in God’s words to resolve her problems. And she saw God’s words say, “How are these things cast off? Do you have a solution? First, you must see through them, and then you must learn to give up these things and set them aside. If you are always focusing on these things, always struggling for these things, if your heart is fully occupied and filled by these things, if you never want to put them aside and you always harbor them without putting them aside, then you are being controlled by and bound by these things. You have become a slave, and you cannot give them up. You must learn to give up and set aside these things, to yield, to recommend others, to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle furiously and rush to take advantage as soon as you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain honor. … The more you give up and set aside, the more peaceful your heart will be and the more space will open up within it, and the more your condition will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker will be your condition; try it if you don’t believe it.” God’s words made her find the path to shake off the bondage of face and status and live relaxed, which was when faced with things that involved face and status, she must learn to put them aside and give up her desire and ambition to stand out and obtain honor. If she didn’t put them aside, but instead contended and struggled, she would feel pained because of losing them. This was just as during this shot, since the director didn’t arrange for her to be on camera, though outwardly she didn’t contend with him, she cried, felt miserable inside and lived in pain because she couldn’t normally act like other actors and couldn’t be looked up to by the people around her. When she realized that pursuing face and status indeed wasn’t a positive thing, she made a resolution: During the following shot, if the same thing happened to her again, she would train in practicing the truth, putting her desire for status aside and playing her part well.
Later, the director informed the actors that they needed to reshoot the last play. Before starting shooting, he said to Xinying and another background actor: “Today a background actor didn’t act well. You both try to rehearse these lines. Who plays this role bases on who does it well.” Hearing that, Xinying thought: “I must practice hard. As long as I do it better, I’ll say these lines and the camera will shoot me for a longer time.” However, when she thought of this, she felt remorseful, thinking: “Am I not struggling to distinguish myself? I should think about how to act well, but not contend or struggle as soon as I encounter such a chance. Even if the other actor gets the chance, that’s because she is more suitable for the role than me.”
After she came to understand these things, Xinying prayed to God: “God! Today the director gave one of us two a chance to say the lines. At the beginning, I wanted to contend with her. God, You allowed this environment to befall me to purify and change me. I’m unwilling to fight over my own face and status. I’ll do my best to rehearse the lines. As far as who will say these lines in the shot, it depends on the need of the role.” After prayer, Xinying felt extremely grounded and peaceful.
After the shot, the director said both of them said the lines well, but the role in the movie was fit for an older actor. So the chance was given to the other actor. But at that time, Xinying didn’t feel distressed, but respected the director’s choice and also thought the most important thing was that the movie could obtain good results.
In that period, Xinying said few lines as a background actress in movies and her desire for standing out and being glorified was not fulfilled. But during that time, she gained a little truth, understood how to face being neglected as a background actor with a positive mental attitude, and knew what she should focus on most was to act well instead of standing out from others. Afterward, in the course of her acting, she acted better and better. Gradually, the director let her play the speaking part in movies. Though she still revealed her urge for reputation and status, under the guidance of God’s words, she was not worried about gaining and losing them, and she felt very released and free. She thought whether she was a background actress or leading role, and whether she could say the lines or not, the most important thing for her was to pay attention to acting her part well and being a competent actress.
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