Moving Past the Movie Montage Mentality

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The other day, I started watching The Mandalorian, an original Disney+ show that is essentially a spaghetti western set in space. It’s well done and entertaining, especially if you’re a fan of the Star Wars films.

During one episode, the characters had to repair a ship so they could get to the next leg of their adventure. One character tells the Mandalorian that this is going to take him weeks in order to complete, but might be able to go quicker if the Mandalorian helps. Then, as you may have guessed, it cut to a montage of their working on this ship. This laborious exercise that was going to set back their progress significantly is done in less than a minute with some really upbeat music playing behind them.

While these two were working, I started wondering how much these movie (and tv) montages have affected our thinking in the real world.

Rocky needs to get in shape for the big fight, so he works out diligently, but we only see a few moments spliced together.
Mulan needs to learn to be a skilled fighter to defeat the Huns, and months of hard training is condensed into one catchy song.
Baby has to learn how to dance, which is efficiently accomplished with “Hungry Eyes” blaring in the background.

All of these difficult things, and so many more, would’ve taken months, if not years, to accomplish, yet we experience them in just a couple of minutes. No wonder we’re frustrated when we don’t see immediate results—we’re not in a movie or a television episode.

I am often disappointed by how long things take in life. I have dreams and goals and ambitions that I want to see materialized as soon as possible. I don’t want to have to wait and work for years for these good things to happen. I want the movie montage version, not the real-life version of these events.

How often do we pray for something once or twice or even for a whole week and then get disappointed when nothing changes?

The Bible shares stories of men and women who prayed diligently and sought the Lord earnestly for years. Anna was one of these heroes of the faith who persevered in praying and following the Lord even when things were hard and I think there are many lessons we can learn from her and her faithfulness.

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” Acts 2: 36-38 (NIV)

Anna didn’t have movie montage faith, even though there was a lot about her life that was incredibly difficult. Her husband died when she was very young, yet she continued to serve the Lord and wait expectantly for his coming. The trauma she experienced didn’t dissuade her from her faith nor did it cause her to be apathetic. In her old age, she was a pillar in the community and an example to other women.

I think that Anna’s story and verses about faith and perseverance that fill the Bible are so applicable today because we live in a culture that values speed and efficiency over most everything else. If something doesn’t happen quickly enough we can jump to something different, instead of enduring. But we, as children of God, have an incredible opportunity to live differently than the rest of the world. We can choose to persevere and remain faithful even in the midst of difficulties or discomfort because our eyes are fixed on the One who holds it all together.

It’s so easy to fall into the movie montage trap, believing that difficult things should be fast and easy, but we don’t have to live that way. We can diligently pursue the Lord and all he has for us, knowing that there will be seasons of difficulty and seasons of ease, but he is with us through it all.

Are there areas where you’ve fallen into the movie montage mentality?

How do you remind yourself to remain faithful in the midst of difficulty or waiting?

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