I really enjoy seeing plays. Whether it is a Broadway show or amateur acting, live theatre is one of my guilty pleasures. There is something about a story coming to life on stage that I love! In professional shows, I love the costumes and watching the actors/actresses sing and dance their way through a storyline. It amazes me that they are flawless in their performances.
In Broadway shows, the live orchestras are incredible! Their productions are impeccable. The way the music resonates through the audience is exhilarating. The musicians are in perfect sync, setting the tone for the storyline. The orchestra enhances the mood of the performance and creates excitement, drama, and suspense. Without the music, the plays would be more dull than exhilarating.
As members of the audience, our job is to sit back and enjoy the show. What we don’t see is what’s happening in the background. What we do see is the final product after the cast and crew have undergone weeks, or months, of rehearsals. They spend hours memorizing lines and notes; learning the correct diction, inflection, affect, and all that that is involved to entertain, is nothing short of amazing.
There is a lot of work that takes place prior to the production that does not involve acting or instruments. There are artists who construct the scenes with backdrops and props. Costume designers must use their creative minds to make the perfect costumes that fit the character’s personalities and demeanor. The sound crew has to run sound and mic checks to ensure that everything is the perfect blend and balance.
In order for a performance to go off without a hitch, it takes more than the actors and musicians being there and learning their lines. What happens behind the scenes is as important as what is happening on stage. The wardrobe crew has to wash and press costumes between shows and the costume crew must be prepared to assist performers in quick costume changes between scenes. The tech crew operates the soundboard, fly cords, microphones, and lighting. It is what happens behind the scenes that directly affects whether or not the on-stage performance is successful.
I once saw a quote that Steven Furtick said, “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” It has been my observation that, for years, people have been really good and making their lives appear to be ideal. We suppress our emotions and paint smiles on our faces so people will think we have the perfect lives.
Do you recognize this greeting? “Hi, How are you?” It is usually met with this response, “I’m fine. Thank you.” It is sometimes said out of mere habit, but I know that I have been guilty of making that kind of response to keep unwanted questions away. I am typically a private person. I keep a lot of things to myself. I always felt like if I can keep my own secrets then people would know that I can keep theirs. I also don’t want to be the person that constantly complains. I do not like self-pity or sympathy. I do, however, appreciate empathy. (Yes, there is a difference between the two.) I don’t like for people to see me hurting or to know when there is turmoil going on inside my mind and heart.
Many times we compare our lives to other people because they seem so happy. We don’t want to reveal what is going on behind the scenes in our lives, so we cover it up with a smile. Maybe you suffer from anxiety and depression. Maybe you experience fear. Maybe you have felt emotional pain and feel like you can’t heal. You may not want anyone to know because you are ashamed and you don’t want people to think you are weak or even crazy.
I used to hide my weaknesses and I still do to an extent. Over the past few years, I have learned that talking about things really is ok. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” You just have to find who you can talk to and trust. You do not have to air your dirty laundry to the world, but do find someone to talk to about what is happening behind the scenes in your life; someone like a counselor, a pastor, or a trustworthy friend. I assure you that there are people that are ready and waiting to listen. That, coupled with a relationship with God, makes up the perfect backstage crew.
I have been fortunate to have friends that I can talk to about what is happening in my life. I do not recommend telling everything to the world or shouting it from the rooftops. I also suggest that you do not post it all on social media. Not everyone will understand you. I have learned not to talk to certain people about different areas of my life because they don’t show the empathy that I need. (There is that word, “empathy” again.)
At the beginning of this year, I asked my friends to meet me for prayer to help me pray through a situation. About eight of my friends ended up meeting me. None of them were there to observe my brokenness. I am confident in this because they prayed with me for an hour. While they have been there for me in various ways through this time in my life, when we finished praying I told one of my friends that it felt like they had been waiting on me to ask for this prayer meeting. Her response was, “We were just waiting on you.” Wow! How amazing is that!?!? I held back for two years before I asked for this life-changing prayer meeting because I didn’t want them to see how truly broken I was and they were there just waiting on me to ask them to meet me. These are truly Christ-like friendships.
Without proper management behind the scenes of a play, the stage would be chaotic and the backstage would be a mess. I implore you to invite people in your life to help you manage your stage. You cannot handle it alone. It really is ok to ask for support. I assure that when you get your “behind the scenes” organized, your onstage life will run much more smoothly and you will begin to experience joy in your life.