Agents. Managers. Call backs. Coaches. Call backs. Auditions. Cold reads. Call backs.
These words were thrown around this past week. Woven into just about every conversation I had over the last few days. My slow brain struggling to keep up. Trying to make sense of this new language. Determining what was necessary for understanding now and what may be needed later.
Call backs. This new term seemed to linger in the air over all the performers. Their families. Over our lovely daughter.
Call back: an invitation to return for a second audition or interview.
Something caught an agent or managers attention and they want to see you again. They may want to work with you. They may have an idea for a perfect job for you in the entertainment industry. Something about you stood out to them. Maybe they will have a connection which could lead our 11-year-old closer to her dream of making TV shows or movies appropirate for families to watch.
This new world. The entertainment industry. How did we get here? And, how will I keep our focus on pleasing the Lord rather than pleasing man.
Everywhere I turned this week, there were opportunities to pull us off track. And, admittedly there were times when I was pulled off track. Caught up in the busyness of each overloaded day. Comparing my perfectly created daughter against other children. Looking for purpose in the week other than pleasing the Lord.
“I will have your call backs ready to give to you around 10:30 or 11:00 Saturday night,” Scott, the team leader announces.
After talking about the late night announcement, my husband and I agree that the girls and I will go to sleep and he will go pick up Mikayla’s list of call backs.
Going to sleep that night, I cannot help but wonder. What will this night hold? Will I really sleep through this or will I wake up and ask my husband for the news?
As I expected, I woke up. “So? So, did she get any call backs?”
“What? None? Not one?” I ask in total disbelief.
“Nope, not one. I can’t believe it. I am really not looking forward to telling her in the morning.”
Lord, how can this be? She’s been preparing for months. She let her precious personality shine all week in front of the agents and managers. The VIP’s. Lord, she’s 11. She needs some sort of encouragement. Some acknowledgment that she is a good actress. Didn’t anyone notice how she took all of the coaches feedback and improved her performances each time? How Lord? How will we tell her? She will be heartbroken.
We continue to whisper about how we will just let her sleep in the morning, not wake her for the morning meeting. At least she can be rested when we break her heart.
“You guys! We overslept. We need to go to the meeting! Mom, dad, come on!” she startles awake, panicking about the time.
“No, we are going to stay here this morning. We’ll get the notes from the meeting from a friend.”
Sleepy and relieved, she rolls back over. But, only just for a minute. “Wait. Dad, did you make it to pick up the call backs?”
Jeff so hesitantly answers, “Yes.”
“So, how did I do? How many did I receive?” she asks with equal hesitation.
“Well, there’s an envelope over there by the TV. You can look.”
“No, we can’t do this. Don’t have her look,” I interrupt the plan. If she’s going to hear it, she’s going to hear it from someone who loves her. “You didn’t get any call backs, Mikayla,” I literally choke out the words.
“WHAT?!” she yells breathlessly. “None?! How can that be? How does that happen?”
“I really don’t know. It doesn’t make any sense,” I say as I am motioning to her to come over to me so I can hold her. I have to take away this heartbreak.
I hold her while she sobs. I listen to her questions and disbelief. I stroke her hair. Hold her tight. Trying to absorb the pain. Let me have this, Lord. Let me have the disappointment.
“I have to go out here for a while.” She leaves my side and goes out on our balcony.
Jeff and I sit in silence. I’m imagining myself in her place. I’d be hurt. Deeply disappointed. Probably ready to count the whole week as a loss.
Just minutes later, Mikayla emerges from the balcony. Cheeks streaked with tears. But, no longer crying. “You guys. I think I know why God had me come here,” pausing as the words come to her, “It was to encourage other people. I mean, I am disappointed I didn’t get any call backs. I mean, I am actually really disappointed. But, I am okay. I really think I helped other people here. I may not have always been as focused on what I needed to do because I was helping other people. But, I think that’s okay.”
She may be done crying, but I am just getting started. “Oh, Mikayla. That is beautiful. Just beautiful. You can never go wrong when you love. That’s what you did. You loved first. And, we couldn’t be any prouder of you.” I pull her close again. I could stay like this forever. Just holding her. Thinking about her beautiful heart. But, our time here is not quite done.
She has interviews coming up a little later in the morning, so it’s time to get ready.
In our little room, we precede to get dressed and ready for the day. Busy chatter back and forth. I hear her say, “Dad, can I just see what’s in the envelope?”
She rustles through some paper and then I hear it, “Wait a minute you guys! What’s this? You guys? I did get a call back! You guys are so silly. I did get one!”
“What?” Jeff and I both ask at the same time. “What are you seeing?”
“JoAnn Smolen. Mom, it’s the one I wanted to call me back! She wants to see me again!” our girl exclaims.
“I swear that wasn’t there last night,” Jeff shakes his head in bewilderment.
We each take a turn looking at the piece of paper. Yep, there it is. Her call back. Her God-appointed scheduled call back.
“How did you not see that, dad?” she asks her careful, intelligent, thorough dad.
“You know, Mikayla. I think that paper could just be a gift from God. I think maybe it wasn’t there last night. Our God can do anything. He saw your heart this morning. He saw your disappointment. But, He also saw that you looked for Him in your disappointment. He knows you found Him. And, now your reward is this callback. He loves you so much, Mikayla, and He can do anything. Even make a piece of paper appear when hours earlier, it didn’t exist,” I say with goosebumps filling my skin.
After the craziness of the week settled, I was able to hear the Lord whispering in my ear, “My calling is what matters.”
You are right, Lord. You are so right. How quickly I get pulled away. Forgive me for losing focus. For placing too much focus on pleasing man. For placing undue pressure on my daughter to do anything other than pleasing You. Forgive me. Help me to hear your calling. Help me to live out your calling for my life. Help me to encourage my daughters in your calling.
Help me to allow your words in the book of Romans to speak loudly, above all the other voices,
Romans 1:6, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:30, and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Romans 11:29, for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
I am the called of Jesus Christ.
I am predestined, called, justified, glorified.
My gifts and calling are irrevocable.
I sit with these truths, allow them to infiltrate my mind, heal my heart, then I am free to walk in God’s calling. I am free to allow my daughters to walk in God’s calling for their lives. I am no longer bound to the world’s push and pull over our lives. I am no longer held captive by earthly rewards like call backs and man’s approval.
I can bask in God’s approval through the peace He bestows.