Movies & Meditation: When You Realize You’re A Showman…

My daughter and I finally sat down and watched The Greatest Showman a few months ago. It quickly became one of our favorite movies because of its message of hope, love, and possibility.

Why did it take us so long?!

What a beautiful movie! There is not a single song on the soundtrack that my daughter and I don’t enjoy. Each one could easily have become a Music & Musings segment here but I want to focus on the overall movie (though I will surely talk about a song or two as well). The characters made us smile, and a couple upset us. We laughed and cried. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Aren’t We All Showmen?

When we really think about our own lives, aren’t we all showmen of sorts? Don’t we put our best face forward and make it seem like we have it altogether when we really are falling apart inside? Don’t we put on shows daily for social media?

In the movie, PT Barnum dreamed of being wealthy since he was a child. It didn’t matter how but it mattered that he was able to prove himself to the family of his childhood love. Can you imagine spending your life chasing a dream only to prove someone wrong?

Oops. Did I touch a nerve?

Let’s be honest… many of us do this each day as well. We get up hoping today will be the day we prove to our ex that he or she made an awful choice. We wake up hoping today will be the day we finally prove to our father’s and mother’s that we were worthy of their love and attention. We try to make that old boss wish they had promoted us.

Only me?

It took all that was within me to break the desire to prove to people from my past that I would be something. To realize that I already had proven it to myself and that was enough. I don’t have to prove to anyone else who I am because God, who matters, sees me each day. We all put on these masks and filters and try to be more than what we are, when all we really need to do each day is be our best reflection of Christ if we are Christian and our best self if we are not.

I could easily write a Music and Musings post for each of the songs because they all had such meaning to me in my own life, but I think the overall movie and how the music played into the message hit me more than any individual song. When I look at my continual striving to become all that I ever dreamed of being and how up until the time I watched the movie I was trying SO HARD to reach this milestone of “making it”, I see how the movie hit a nerve in a good way because of how Barnum’s wife was always just wanting his love and to live life with him. She really didn’t care about the fame and riches, though it is what she knew all her life.

That led me to think about how when we don’t have something, we want it so badly. But when we have experienced things, we sometimes understand that they aren’t all they are cracked up to be. In his quest for fame and financial wealth, he hurt his family and his own integrity was questioned. He even hurt someone unwittingly by involving them in his quest (I won’t say more in case you haven’t seen the film yet).

What Does It Take to Be Happy Where We Are?

When you think about where you are right now compared to where you wanted to be, how do you feel? Are you disappointed? Satisfied? In this movie, no matter how much success Barnum saw, he still needed more. Nothing was enough. But we can’t live like that and truly be happy. If we are always striving to be on another level or to be another person, we will never appreciate the lessons we are learning in the moment. There are so many things going on right now that are preparing us for future events and activities. They are going in our memory bank and we will pull them up when going through a trial or when someone else is experiencing one. All bad things that are happening truly will allow us to have a story later that will inspire someone else as they see we are still breathing and that we don’t look like what we’ve gone through.

In the Bible, Paul discusses being content in all things (Philippians 4:11-13). We often quote the last part of this scripture forgetting about the contentment piece. Paul wasn’t referring to being able to do all things such as reach goals, overcome pain, etc. Though we can apply this scripture to those elements of our lives, he was speaking about being content whether hungry or well fed. He knew he could do all things in Christ because he’d lived it and learned the lesson. Whether in jail or out, he was able to look to God for his needs and believe He would provide.

Two Songs that Really Stood Out to Me

The song that hit me the most was This is Me.

Because of my insecurity with my weight and it taking me so long to become comfortable in my expanded skin, I loved that this song started off with Lettie singing. Because of her being overweight and having a beard, when Barnum first approached her, she told him that he had to leave. He persisted and won her over. As she sang, her confidence grew. I love some of the lines she shared later in the movie, but again – I don’t want to ruin it for anyone so I won’t share the ones that struck me the most. However, this song, and the elements within it of saying, “This is who I am. Faults and all.” I love it. I love that confidence of knowing that people either take you as you are or can walk away because we are here to please other people.

The next song that hit me, but not for what it was actually saying but for how I interpreted it, is Never Enough.

When I heard this song, I thought of how much God loves me. I thought of how much I love Him and want to hear “Well done” and know that I didn’t leave any cards on the table when I stand in front of Him and answer for my life. As I listened to this song, I thought of how I have worked for so long to become this “successful” person when all along I had daughters who would have considered me successful because of how I loved them and provided for them. In all of my pursuit, I was chasing the wrong things. That makes that lyrics so much more true when you have lived it. Nothing is ever going to be enough without Him. But with Him, I am finally in a place where I am mostly happy with my life. There are a couple of areas in which I’d like some improvement, but I also understand not having them yet means I am still learning the lessons necessary to treat them right when I do receive them.

I highly recommend this movie. I could easily write thousands more words because it impacted me so deeply and allowed me to reflect and change some things about how I was living, but I know we all have lives to attend to. If you haven’t watched it, do so. You won’t regret it. It is time well spent and you should walk about with a good feeling and some great music in your head. If you have seen it, watch it again just because!

What parts of the movie stood out most to you? Did it impact you in a way that caused you to make some changes?

Until next time,

~Shell

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