I’ve been thinking about a couple years ago, maybe not that long, when I was struggling with the concept of hell. The whole idea of eternal torture was so antithesis to the character of Jesus. I was questioning the concept because I had so many new gay friends due to my podcasting on Greetings from Nowhere. Like with my grandfather who died potentially “outside of Christ,” I was questioning not God’s compassion, but the idea of hell in the face of God’s compassion. For some reason, I’ve never doubted God’s love. Everything in my belief system orbits around the love of God for humankind. For me, that’s what the head-learning of 35 years of Sunday school and church have boiled down to.
So hell doesn’t fit. And my battle with the concept was ultimately a battle with fear. If I chose to forge my own beliefs based on the Bible, would I lose my moral and spiritual anchor? Would I be lost?
I knew the truth was that nothing can snatch me out of the Father’s hand. And taking a leap of faith to believe that and walk in honesty to who God had made me and who he was leading me to become, was one of the scariest moments of my life. I should say “series of moments” because it took several conversations and a lot of thought to decide that hell didn’t exist. That in the end, God wins. All hearts and souls safely with him.
There are people who could quote chapter and verse to me as to why what I believe is wrong. But I worship God, not the Bible. They are his words, not himself, designed to be interpreted by each human heart that seeks him through them.
I just encourage my fellow Christians, and those for whom Christianity rings true, to not be afraid to follow God’s word in your heart. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to lead you that way. Be brave. God will not let you fall.
Confidence is a funny thing and hard to come by. I often worry and fear that the things I do or the choices I make are inherently flawed simply because, well, they’re from me. Where that comes from, I’m not sure, but I am working on overcoming it. I was really encouraged today by Greg from the “Inappropriate Conversations” podcast who gave “Greetings from Nowhere” such a great shout out.
It’s good to remember that we are all just stumbling along in our lives, doing our best to be ourselves and live in the moment. So, every day I walk a little taller. And so should you.
The more gay friends God places in my life, the more I have no room for judging them or thinking their attraction to the same sex is some kind of choice. You know what I see when I look at my gay friends? People. People with dreams, hopes, laughter, jobs, dirty diapers, family, dogs, cats, cars, loves, hates, homes…in a word…lives. What do I not see? Sex. That is as important or not important in a committed gay relationship as it is in a committed
straight relationship. It’s not the core. Love is the core.
I didn’t choose to be straight. I have simply always been attracted to men. The cute guy walking down the street today as I drove downtown caught my eye and kept it. Eyes on the road, Nik! They are great to look at. I never chose to be attracted to men. I just am.
It’s the same for every gay person I know. Even the ones who try to be attracted to the opposite sex to satisfy what their religion or their peers are pressuring them to do.
Condemnation will fail. Forcing one’s will on others will fail. Ridiculing others will fail. Judging others will fail. Attempting to correct others through fear will fail.
Love never fails.
Draw, act, write, direct,
Sing; I want to do them all.
Someone defib me.
Wind moves through the leaves;
The tree knows its own cadence.
What is my rhythm?
Don Miller tweeted a few days ago asking if anyone know of a quote where someone wrote about having a sense of destiny. I really didn’t know any, but thought I’d check with my man, Shakespeare. He is quoted as having said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” At first blush, I thought this was just another bit of God-is-in-everyone, we-are-the-universe, type stuff–which has never quite worked for me. But then I thought about it for myself. Jesus calls us to be ourselves. To simply be just like he and the Father and the Spirit are. God’s name is I AM. If that is so and we have a destiny, then our destiny is sewn into the fabric of who we are. Into our very character and existence. The more we discover and live who we are, the more a sense of destiny will rise in is.
What’s really exciting is that it means all of humanity has a destiny together. As we struggle as a people to become what God envisioned at our inception, the more our destiny as a race of beings will become clear.
And what’s even more cool? The character and being of God himself is woven into the fabric of humanity’s destiny through Jesus of Nazareth. How glorious!
A good friend asked me recently why it brings tears to my eyes when I talk about not getting to be a paid actress–not getting to be in movies. I honestly didn’t have an answer. I think I may be grieving the fact that, while I did live in LA for three years and pursue an acting career, it didn’t work out for me. Part of me says, “If you just try again, sell the house and support yourself in LA for a few years, you can do it! You just have to be persistent.”
That may be true. But there are many extremely talented actors out there who are doing just that, have done that for years, and still aren’t paying the bills as an actor. There are no promises, no guarantees. And like with multi-level direct selling, 90% or more of those who try will not have financial success at this endeavor.
I think I can honestly say I’m not afraid to try–rather, I’m jumping at the bit. However, I wonder…is it worth it? Is it worth selling myself like a product (the part of the business that is a real challenge for me). I mean, it’s a business. It’s not an artistic endeavor. So then I have to ask myself, why do I act? Is it for money or for pleasure? Do I want it to be a business? Or do I want it to be my joy? Trying to have both by trying to get movie roles in LA is a lot like trying to get wealthy by playing the lotto.
Do I want to sell everything and pursue an acting career, move away from my family and start all over in a new town? Is it actually worth it? Or is life and the pure “doing” of the art sufficient? I am a professional actress, that’s my formal undergraduate and graduate training. Not making money from it doesn’t make it any less professional or genuine.
I want to live a good, true, whole life. I’d like to find a way to have the business side of acting and the joy side of acting come together. But I don’t think moving to LA is the way to do that.
I did a solo podcast of “Greetings from Nowhere” tonight and talked about Keith Green. I found myself, however, most emotionally touched when I described the cover of the album, “No Compromise.” When I was a child, I would listen to the album and just ruminate on that cover. I couldn’t imagine ever being so brave that I would not bow to someone if it meant my death. The man in the picture, to me, was the most courageous person I had ever seen.
I still ponder the kind of courage it would take to stand for your passion and beliefs to the point that you would be willing to give your life. I don’t know. I don’t think any of us know or will know unless we’re ever in the position to make that choice.
These days I’m still moved by that painting, but oddly, I see it as more akin to when I have to stand up to my Christian brothers and sisters who disagree with me. It doesn’t happen often. But the feeling of being on the outs with those you love, or having to curtail what you say so that you don’t offend…kinda uncomfortable.
I still can’t figure out why that picture affects me so emotionally. I think I just really want to be that brave of a person.
The paperback version of this great book is coming out and Don is giving a way copies to those who will embed his video about it.
I really loved this book. Though I did want to throw it against the wall after reading it (couldn’t…it was on my Kindle). Why? Because it awakened in me the dreams I had set aside as impossible and unreasonable. And now I’m on the track of them again. Life is a journey to be lived to the fullest. It’s scary, but I’m going for it. Here’s Don’s vid:
What story are you telling? from Rhetorik Creative on Vimeo.
You can buy the book from Powell’s, the giantish bookstore!
I sometimes wonder if the things we dream of doing distract us from the lives we could be living. Who could I be if I didn’t constantly think of being a film actress? Life is a fluid thing. More like a river than a path which we can choose.
I’m not sure how to live my own story. I hope I can figure it out. Or maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I should stop trying to figure it out and start learning how to navigate the river.