June 2012. I was trying to fall asleep in an hotel room in St Kilda. I was restless.
I was in Melbourne to film a job, but I felt strange. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue acting. It was beginning to grate against my chest. My trajectory was unpredictable. The opportunity to forfeit integrity was forever present. I didn’t know if I could still serve the work. I didn’t know if God would bless the process or the pursuit. I was finding myself desperate to live for more. To do more, to be more. To make a difference. Acting – that which I had sought to do at the (violent) expense of every other potential path and relationship – now seemed naive, petty and selfish. Though employed and supported, I felt utterly powerless.
Drifting off, I condemned a scholarship application I had submitted a few months before. It was the longest shot I’d ever taken. I didn’t even want to win it anymore. What would I do with it? It was $10,000, study, and flights to go and live in Los Angeles. I didn’t want to go to LA. I didn’t belong in LA. The city had everything it needed, and I did not need that city. If God wanted to send me, He would surely send me somewhere I could receive lessons in trial and wonder – lessons in poverty and miracles and missions and freedom and… that was not LA.
In any case, I wasn’t really in the running. The others on the shortlist were qualified and celebrated. For ego’s sake, I wondered about my chances. It is always nice to be chosen. I did the dates in my head.
The winner would have heard last week.
And that was that. I knew it was over, but something in me stirred in disappointment. I had never prayed about it. I had never even given the concept a chance. Something had always felt selfish and wrong about asking for opportunity, but now I felt foolish.
I had only realised that God existed one month previously. It was an humbling, shattering realisation, and it had changed me. I experienced true power, love and justice for the first time. But I had journeyed from a more eastern philosophy, and was still shaking off the lie that my desires were weeds in my heart that needed to be plucked. God had slowly been showing me that that my dreams and longings were actually flowers, planted with intention. He was more than me. My desires were divine tools that could be used to create peace.
I was convicted, and confused. So lying in that bed, I finally prayed – not to win, but for God’s will. I prayed for contentment. I prayed for my career, and my calling. I prayed with hands ready to work. Whatever He wanted to do, I was okay with it. And if I was given an opportunity I did not deserve – to do more, and be more in the industry that so scared me – I would do it with every bit of my heart. It was His.
I finally fell asleep, filled with unexpected joy. My life was finally out of my clumsy hands, and placed into those of someone who knew exactly what they were doing. Nothing mattered in that moment but love. ‘Success’ and ‘fame’ were simply not part of love’s dialect. They were, and are, irrelevant. My lack of understanding paled against His power. My purpose was not wrapped up in my career. Nor was it wrong to pursue creativity. It was okay to feel tired and challenged in a job that anyone else would be so grateful for. It was okay to crave some kind of torch to light the path. All He asked was that I persevere.
God is everywhere. God uses everyone. No route is lesser, if surrendered.
I was woken up by my phone ringing, 8:30am the next morning. It was my agent.
They are flying you to Los Angeles in a week. We think you might have won it.
And I had, as it turned out.
Two years later, I am at a different place in the journey.
Right now, I am in Los Angeles. It is my fourth trip, and the longest yet. This city has taught me more about love than any place before it.
It has broken me in its lessons in humility, poverty, missions and service. It has gifted me lessons in wonder, freedom, family and miracles.
I have both wandered these streets alone, and side by side with those closest to me. I have seen Him here. I have heard His voice.
I am taking the acting class He gifted to me, humbled by my craft and the imagination of the human mind. I believe in God as an artist, and His children as artists too.
I follow his voice, because He has proven Himself to be faithful.
My work is my offering, my expression is my offering – and it is all still, gloriously, out of my hands.