Okay, okay I finally watched La La Land last night. I’m sure I’m the only person on the planet who hadn’t seen it. I loved it! And, a discussion of the main themes of the movie seems a fitting close to my Be Brave series.
For the few of you who haven’t seen it, the story centers around two inspiring artists trying to make it in LA. Emma Stone’s character, Mia, leaves the small town where she grew up to try and make it as an actress in Hollywood. Ryan Gosling’s character, Sebastian, is a jazz musician that dreams of opening his own jazz club. The movie is a progression of their walk together and separately as they navigate the failures and successes of pursuing one’s dreams.
At first glance, it would seem that the bravest act performed by Mia is leaving her home town to pursue her dreams in the big city. But, as the movie progresses, it’s clear that the real bravery and courage is found in pushing through the rejections and the fears. She ebbs and flows between fearing failure and success. In the end, you also see the reality that is realized that sometimes success and the path to achieving one’s dreams doesn’t always look as one expects.
Some people think that pursuing the dreams God has placed on your heart is foolish and only for the young. And on one hand, those thoughts are true. But, I truly believe that God places dreams and desires in our hearts so that He can use each of us in unique ways as we live our lives. Yes, doses of reality are important. We can’t blindly follow our dreams. We have to release expectations and know that following our dreams includes heartache, rejection and it certainly never turns out exactly as we plan it out in our heads. But, that’s true maturity- pursuing our dreams with a healthy dose of reality. It also requires tremendous bravery to pursue our dreams in spite of the loss of expectations and in the face of failure and rejection.
My 7 year old daughter struggles with a lot of fears and anxiety. This weekend we went on our yearly lake trip with dear friends. She really struggles to jump in the lake and enjoy all the water sports that the other kids do readily. But, this weekend she pushed pass a lot of her fears and tried things she’s never tried before. I was very proud of her. But, it’s hard not to feel sadness sometimes as I see all the other children try new things with such willingness and trust. Every time she approaches something new, she has to push through so much fear and it’s so hard to watch. It’s easy to look at the other children and label them as brave while labeling her as fearful.
But, my sweet friend made a very profound point this weekend that I will never forget. Myla is actually the bravest one. The other children are being children and living life as most children live life- with reckless abandon and trust. Myla has to push through so many fears and anxiety in order to do the same activities. And, that’s true bravery- facing your fears head on and conquering them victoriously.
I’m not so different than my daughter. I have dreams that God has placed on my heart and I want so desperately to pursue them. But, I also have so much fear and anxiety. As I pursue my dreams, I have to face head on my fears of failure, success and rejection. The easy route would be to push away those dreams and live complacently day in and day out. But, God is calling you and me to be brave. And, to live bravely means naming our fears and with His help, conquering them so we can be the men and women He wants us to be for His glory.
A look in somebody’s eyes
To light up the skies
To open the world and send it reeling
A voice that says, I’ll be here
And you’ll be alright
I don’t care if I know
Just where I will go
‘Cause all that I need is this crazy feeling
A rat-tat-tat on my heart
Think I want it to stay
City of stars
Are you shining just for me?
City of stars
You never shined so brightly
(City of Stars, La La Land Soundtrack)