Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Do Hard Things Story

If you had asked me when I was younger if I ever thought of being a teacher or director, I probably would have adamantly denied it. I have what you call a more laid-back personality - one that doesn't enjoy being in charge! As I grew, I got over my shyness, but still had a hard time speaking up, especially in public. Now, at 17 years old, I've directed two musicals, am preparing for another one this Christmas season, and am in my second year of teaching ballet. What changed?

In the summer of 2005, I directed my first musical, Esther-Ordinary Faith. I had just turned 15, and was shaky, not very confident, and sure no one would want to listen to me! At that time, I hadn't heard about The Rebelution (I don't think it had even started!) so I sometimes wondered what I, a teenager, was doing directing a musical involving teens my age, younger children, and even my father! However, I had so much help from the parents and actors, and with God's help we were able to present the musical with a lot of success! So, maybe I could do things that were a little out of my comfort zone...

In October 2005 I discovered the Rebelution. As I read through the posts on the blog, the topics and challenges really resounded with me. "So this is what I've thought should be done as a teen, but never could put into words," I thought, "This is what I want to do in my teen years, not spending them wasting precious time, but really doing hard things!" As I read more over the next months, I started seeing that with God's help and the help of wise adults, I really could do things that most merely dismiss as something too hard for a teenager.

Instead of putting things off that could be done now, I got busy and followed where I felt God leading. I sought the advice of my wiser parents, and at 16 years old, I began teaching my own praise ballet students. I learned by some trial and error, but all-in-all, God gave me the strength to pull together my 19 students ranging from age 4 to age 16, and open to them the wonderful world of dancing for God's glory. Now, I'm in my second year of teaching, having to expand to 5 classes and a total of 36 students. God is so good and through Him we can do even the hardest things that are way outside of our natural inclinations!

Encouraged by the success of the dance classes, I embarked last summer into another theatrical production, this time writing the musical, finding the songs and music, choreographing, directing and acting to bring together the cast of 30 in a colorful array to bring the Biblical story of Ruth alive. As always, I couldn't have done it alone; the parents were so helpful in giving suggestions, my family especially worked hard in so many ways, and God gave me the strength to continue even in the hard times. Everyone was so excited by the end and begged for more. I thought it would be "too hard" to do a musical in the busy school year, but through the encouragement of others, I've written another one, this time about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and we're working to produce it this Christmas.

Has it been easy? Definitely not! Through it all I've encountered of lot of seemingly unresolved conflicts, disappointing practices, questions of whether or not things would actually work out.... However, through it all God has been more than faithful to bring it all into completion. Hard things can't be done in our own strength; only through Him can we ever begin to even try.

So, what has been the people's response to a teen such as myself doing so much? I've encountered many disbelieving stares and incredulous looks when I tell them what I've been doing. So many have amazedly asked, "And you're how old?" Overall, though, people have been so pleased and blessed through what God's enabled me to do. Yes, I am younger than most teachers and directors, but the parents have been enthused and behind me the whole way. It seems to be an encouragement to them to see what God has helped me do. So many have said they wished their teens were more like me! (by His grace alone...) Even though most in the culture would like to tell us that we're too young, they're really impressed and take note when a teen takes on responsibility. Now, let's go out and change the culture's expectations!


Anna S said...

I think teens today suffer from an awful lack of responsibility, and it seems our cultural expectations extend teenage behavior as acceptable even into mid 20's. Young ladies like you, Anna, help us see what it's truly supposed to be like!

Joanna said...

Was that a typo or did you only just this month find out about the Rebelution?

Ella said...

I quite agree with you. The fact that I am hoping to publish a book is quite daunting when I think about my age. However, I believe teens should be so much more than what we have been dictated to.

I didn't know you did a play on Esther!! I am sure Mary will go splendidly. The script was well done!

I am praying for you as we all seek to do hard things!

Anna Naomi said...

Joanna - that was a typo; thanks for catching it! Sometimes you just don't notice things on read troughs. I actually discovered the Rebelution 2 years ago, which would be October 2005.

Ednella said...

A lovely story, Anna! I've found that if one says "I will never. . ." then God decides that that is the very thing one ends up doing next!

I had to giggle when I read this section of your comment! "Sometimes you just don't notice things on read troughs." I believe you meant "Sometimes you just don't notice things on read throughs." Lol!

Love and hugs,

Anna Naomi said...

Ednella - you caught me again! =) I keep making typos, but then, everyone's human.

Ella, I'm praying for you and your book! Yes, I directed an Esther musical in the summer of 2005. I didn't write it however, and it took some liberties with the Biblical story, which made me want to write ones that went by the Bible!

Miriam Rebekah said...

Anna, you are so talented! I love being with you, working with you, and learning with you. I can't wait to start working on your next play.

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

It is amazing what can be done with the Lord's help, hard work, and dedicated assistants. The Lord is so wonderful to provide this opportunity to you, your students, other cast members, and audience. All for His Glory!