The Sound of Music illustrates several life lessons, which we continue to share with readers, such as how to deal with “moonbeams” and “misfits,” and the importance for creators and dreamers to venture beyond their comfort zones. In the 1965 Academy Award-winning musical, these are the issues facing the Mother Superior at an Austrian abbey, after she meets Maria, a rambunctious novice who doesn’t appear to be cut out for service in a convent.
The Mother Superior copes with Maria with love and understanding, first accepting her for who she is, then facilitating Maria’s unique gifts and talents. And, realizing that the novice’s destiny may lie outside of the familiar and secure surroundings of the abbey — serving God in other ways — the Mother Superior patiently prods Maria to get out of her comfort zone. In essence, she gives the young woman a gentle but firm push out the nest.
Leaving one’s comfort zone can be daunting: going new places and seeing new faces. It can be like navigating uncharted waters in the company of “strangers”! The Mother Superior knows this, of course, so before she allows Maria to venture out into — pardon the cliché — the “cold cruel world,” this wise spiritual leader offers some sound advice (in a song, no less): “Climb every mountain, Search high and low; Follow every byway, Every path you know. Ford every stream, Follow every rainbow, ‘Till you find your dream.”
This beautiful song offers some priceless guidance for all dreamers and creators. But in truth, it’s good advice for everyone:
- Don’t let a fear of the unknown keep you from making changes and taking risks. Change promotes physical/spiritual/emotional growth. In fact, the growing process is just another form of changing. Also, “risks” may actually be opportunities in disguise. As the saying goes, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
“For I am about to do something new. …Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19 NLT)
- Leave your comfort zone: “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23 NLT)
- Step out in faith. That’s how we grow — with each step we take. “The just shall live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4 AKJ; Romans 1:17 KJB) “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJB)
- Don’t bank on what seems logical. Just because something makes perfect sense doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right. Recall, for instance, that Maria had a great love and devotion for her Lord; and she wanted to serve Him with her life. So becoming a nun probably seemed like the logical thing for her to do. Furthermore, in a devout Catholic family, having a son enter the Priesthood, or a daughter become a nun, is considered both a privilege and a great honor.
For Maria, staying put in the convent, where she was training to become a nun, was the logical thing to do. Leaving to work as a governess, even for a short time, didn’t make any sense at all. Maria probably viewed the job as a step backwards, or a step in the wrong direction; and the time she spent doing it as a major delay. Fortunately, the novice took the advice “to climb every mountain.” Had she relied on logic, she would have missed her true calling and destiny.
To quote Mister Spock, in an unusually light episode of Star Trek, “Logic is a wreath of pretty flowers which smell BAD!” Or, more to the point, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5 ESV)
- Don’t play it safe by settling for where you are. It might be nice, but is it God’s best for you? Is it the perfect place and future He has planned for you? Well, you’ll never know for sure until you “Follow every byway, Every path you know.” Failing to do this, you just might be settling for second best.
Maria was CONVINCED that her calling in life was to be a nun — albeit an unconventional nun. Her dream was certainly a noble one, and yet, the Lord had other plans for her. But wait, are God’s plans always better than ours?
Somewhere, this very moment, someone is wondering, What if I don’t LIKE God’s plans. They may also be thinking that they’d rather make their own plans. In response to this, please remember a verse we introduced earlier in Boot Camp: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Are you in a place today that’s just OK? Are you in a job, career, or ministry that seems fine, but you feel you’ve got other gifts and talents crying out to be used? Do you believe God has something better awaiting you … out there in the uncharted waters of life? Perhaps you need to “Ford every stream” — or at least a few new ones.
Are you hanging around the wrong circle of friends? People who are pleasant but who have no vision or motivation to reach higher? Who are not exactly encouraging when it comes to your dreams and creative pursuits? Do they help you to be your best, or do they drag you down? Are you growing within your relationships? Remember, change promotes growth. So “Climb every mountain…. Follow every rainbow, ‘Till you find your dream.”
Do you sense that this “season” in your life is over; that NEW and BETTER things lie ahead of you? Then stay with us, as we continue to explore the lessons of The Sound of Music, a modern parable for dreamers and creators.