*Repost: This article first appeared here in October of 2010
My pastor on Sunday used this phrase, "It's not a dress rehearsal", referring to life. Whatever it is we want to do for Christ, we have one life to do it.
I really held onto that. There's no do-overs, there's no practice. This is it. My husband, my children, my ministries, my role in these relationships-- it's all a now or never/ do or die kind of thing. And time is ever slipping away. So I've been pondering this the last few days...
The difference between a dress rehearsal and the real show is that the real show brings a sense of urgency; a sense of intensity, concentration, and focus. THIS IS IT, DON'T BLOW IT. So these words bring with them the call to action-- to not put off those things you talk about wanting to do, like daily devotions, weekly family times, volunteering, studying the Bible more deeply, or having a heart-to-heart talk with your kids/spouse/loved one about Christ. Don't say "some day I'd like to do this". Do it now. The heat is on.
But you know what else is different between the show and the rehearsal? During the live performance, the show must go on! If you flub a line, hit a wrong note, or miss a cue, you don't cry or walk off the stage or even break character- you keep going. You don't have the option of wallowing in self-pity over your mistakes- you're in the middle of a show! Someone is watching! In rehearsals you might stop and examine the mistakes and even berate yourself or others to getting it right next time, but when Opening Night arrives there is no time for that. It's part of the rush of excitement that is experienced by performers. There's urgency, focus, on what is coming, and freedom in forgetting, what is past. It's the only way to make it through a show. It's the only way to live for Christ. What a freeing concept! Yes, I only have one shot to live this life the way I aspire to. But sweating my mistakes along the way will only hinder me. Focus. Then forget. Focus. Then forget. Repeat as necessary!
"Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things wich are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."