It feels like a lifetime ago, like a completely different person. But there I was… only 21, with stars in my eyes and big dreams of taking the acting world by storm. I had worked hard and saved hard, and moved all the way across the country from Orlando to Los Angeles with my Husband, Ryan. He was always so supportive and really believed in me. We both craved adventure and were excited to start our new life in California. So off we went in our little Toyota Corolla on our three day journey to SoCal.
I had dreamt of becoming an actress since I was 5 years old. I did plays at summer camp and in school, and loved the art of storytelling. I learned through movies: I learned about life and family and friendship. I’m also a deep feeler: their stories became my story. And I couldn’t wait to tell people’s stories through film & tv.
I had big dreams of movie sets and red carpets and awards shows, like many young actresses before me. I had potential, I had talent, I had drive. I loved the Lord and thought I was “called” to act. And while I do believe God gives us the dreams in our heart, I never actually consulted God on the matter of whether or not I should be an actor. I prayed, sure, but it was mostly just a one-way conversation where I asked God to “bless” my career. I was so committed to achieving this dream, I didn’t really want anyone (especially God) to tell me it wasn’t the right path for me.
So there I was. Desperate to “make it.” Desperate to prove the nay-sayers wrong (YES I KNOW THE ODDS AND I DON’T CARE, I AM MEANT FOR THIS!) I got a manager, and began to audition. And audition. And audition.
As someone who already struggled with a spirit of rejection, the worst thing I could do for my soul was go into a career where you receive rejection every.single.day. I knew theoretically that it wasn’t personal, but it sure felt personal. My heart ached. I grew exhausted and isolated, and struggled with anxiety. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this life. But I had so much pressure (from myself) to succeed at this thing I thought I was meant for.
And after a few years of striving and aching and borderline low-grade depression, my husband and I decided to move an hour south of LA to Orange County to be closer to our church family and community. I knew it was the right next step for us, but I still didn’t want to do it. I can be just a tad bit stubborn, and was clinging on to this dream for dear life, wrestling with God. But God had asked me to trust Him with this. To trust Him with my dream. To trust Him with this move.
So I decided to take a step back from pursuing acting, and we moved to Orange County. We began to build our little life here, and I felt lighter and freer than I had in a long time. Like all the pressure and weight I had been carrying was slowly releasing off of me. God slowly softened my heart to the idea of starting a family. And soon after we were pregnant with my first daughter, Eveleigh, and our whole world shifted. I was a mom! A role I happily embraced, even though it was certainly an adjustment. And I felt something new, something foreign, something I think you might call: contentment. Maybe I would act again some day, maybe not, but I was actually feeling peace about it either way.
[“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21]
I was slowly discovering more of myself, slowly uncovering things that had been dormant for a long time. See, with acting, I had a narrow vision and dream for my life. I was so focused on my desire to act, that I forgot that I had other passions & desires too. Through taking a step back from acting, I learned that I also loved writing and photography and speaking and ministry. I felt like I was actually getting to know myself more clearly, learning who I was and who God designed me to be.
God needed me to trust Him with that dream, so He could reveal HIS dreams for me. It was in the surrendering that I created space for Him to reveal His divine calling and purpose for my life. And it wasn’t always easy, but the best thing I’ve ever done was laying down my dreams & desires and saying “Lord — have your way. Not my will but yours be done.”
It’s amazing what can happen when you are willing to let go of what you thought your life would look like. What passions are revealed and what opportunities come your way when you partner with God on HIS calling for your life. I never want to do it any other way. How much more fulfilling, purposeful, and organic can it be than when you partner with God?!
And now, in this season, I am seeing the fruit of laying that dream down. I am partnering with God on this new God-breathed vision for my life. I am still using my love of storytelling, except now it’s God’s story that I’m telling.
And so, I want to encourage you: if there is something in your life that you feel God gently nudging you to let go of and Trust Him in, I promise He will be faithful in it. He will work it all together for your good and for His glory. It may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but I promise you, it will be worth it.