Friday, February 5, 2016

A Lesson from Downton Abbey

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourselves with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
Galatians 6:4 MSG

I love Downton Abbey; it’s one of my all-time favorite shows. I started watching it a whim back in October. I was sick and had tried taking a nap to no avail, so I decided to watch TV. I knew quite a few people who loved the show, so as I flipped through Amazon Prime, I decided to start watching. I finished all five seasons before Christmas so that I could catch up with Season 6 in January.

In preparation for this post, I took a little Facebook poll last week and asked which Downton Abbey character people would most like to be. The answers were varied with Lady Mary, Sybil and Anna tied with the most votes.

I recently decided to check out the DVDs from the library to watch the bonus material, most of which isn’t available on Prime. (Can you tell that I am hooked?) I am always so intrigued by the bonus interviews and production footage of any movie or show. Season 4 was the only one available, so I checked it out.

Did you know that for every hour-long episode of Downton Abbey, they film for 13 days? Wow!

Watching the bonus material made me think about the competition of acting. I wonder how much jealousy occurs amongst the cast if you’re not chosen for the part you think you deserve. Perhaps you look over at Lady Mary and are jealous that you’re Daisy or Gwen.

One particular comment from an actor whose character I despise (don’t worry, no spoilers) really made me think. He plays a small part in Season 4 and said something like, “Although it’s a small character, he really affects the story in the seasons to come.”

His comment got me to thinking about each character more deeply and how they all do greatly impact the overall story. Even though one part may seem more important or appealing, they are all unique and significant to the show.

This principle applies to real life too: we are all unique and all important in God’s story. While other people’s lives may appear more important than ours, we all have a vital part to play in living out God’s story here on earth. Sure, someone else may have a (seemingly) more glamorous life, but that doesn’t mean that what we have to offer is any less important.

We so often unknowingly compete with others or feel envious, even of our friends. (Thank you, social media!) But what if we decided to cast off jealousy and instead choose to love who we are and the part we play in this world? Wouldn’t that honor and tell God’s story well?

When you live your life well and focus on what God has assigned you to do, not only will you shine, but it inspires others to do the same. Just like in Downtown Abbey: When the actors are the best versions of their character, it helps the rest of the group to do their very best work. I think we’d all be wise to do that ourselves, don’t you?

I recently contributed to a post about jealousy over at Me Too Moments for Moms. You can check it out here: The Little Green Monster -Jealousy

So the next time that you’re feeling envious of someone else’s part, remember that God designed your role especially for you. You are an important part of His story. Embrace it! 

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