August 29, 2016

Why am I still here?

"Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take." - Proverbs 3:6 (NLT)

Man, I prayed hard the last several months, begging God to tell us whether to stay in California or move back to Minnesota. Actually, I didn't limit the prayer to familiar geography as I just pleaded for direction to find work anywhere. Atlanta? Alaska? Albequer... Albaquer... Alabama?

And which path did He tell me to take?

Seriously, if anyone heard Him, please tell me, because I missed it.

According to the Proverbs verse above, He should have shown me which path to take. Right?

"Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take."

Am I not living up to my end of that bargain?

I mean, technically, I'm probably not seeking God's will in all I do. That's a tall order, don't you think? Am I naive to think I can wipe my butt according to my own will? I have a method I favor, after all.

Butt wiping aside, of course I fail daily in seeking His will. It's not His will for my I'm-mad-cuz-you-did-something-stupid face to make appearances on the highway. It's not His will for me to pout when I continue to have doors closed on me in this town. And I'm pretty sure it's generally not God's will for me to envy those who've accomplished by age 20 more than I've done at age 30 (plus a decade or so).

But on the whole (not a wiping pun), I am seeking God's will. I truly want to do whatever He wants me to do. Whatever that is. Wherever that is.

The tricky part in my life is this dream I haven't been able to lose or fulfill. Does my seeking of God's will get hijacked by this Hollywood dream? Is the dream God's will for me or is it His will for me to give up the dream? Chasing it this long without receiving the success for which I'd hoped could certainly imply God prefers I focus my attention elsewhere.

The Hollywood dream is huge to me, but it's anything but huge to God.

What's huge to God is that I'm actively living His will no matter what I'm doing, where I'm doing it, or with whom I'm doing it.

My first year in Los Angeles has yielded only five principal acting roles, none of which were of the high-paying ilk. Most of my time on set has been as a background actor. An extra. An out of focus piece of meat there to give the illusion that Meredith Grey works in a real hospital.

But what's cool about background work is that I meet new people on every job. I have had abundant opportunities to share God's love with strangers and new acquaintances and friends. I've earned the reputation on multiple sets of being "the nice guy." I can live with that. To me, being a nice guy is the first step in sharing the Gospel. Sometimes it's the only step God needs me to take.

I don't wear religion on my sleeve. I try to wear love on my sleeve. Maybe that's why God has me here. Not to shove scripture down people's throats, but to live my faith and be an example of what God's love can do. Not to have success as an actor, but to be a servant who relies on charm and good-looks... um... charm and... um... well, not being a douchebag.

It's amazing how many expert extras there are here in Hollywood. I've become an expert nodder-and-smiler. Sometimes that's all you can do while the "expert" in the room explains that this is the first background work he's done in ages because it's the first day he hasn't had a principal audition in six months.

I don't preach the gospel to them. But I try to show them love. By giving them space. And finding a different corner of the holding room to hang out in.

But seriously, aside from the obvious attention seekers, I've met great people that I've hopefully impacted in a positive way. I feel like that's God's will for me right now. Be a nice guy, show love, and don't be a douchebag.

Theologically speaking, I know being a "nice guy" isn't the end-all, be-all of what we are called to do.  I've met plenty of nice atheists, after all. I'm just simplifying here so I don't ramble.

No, I'm not rambling. This isn't rambling. Rambling is when... oh... never mind.

So why am I still here? To be a nice guy on set? To plant seeds in others so they seek God? I can do all that in Minnesota. We should have moved back to Minnesota. It's cheaper. Family is there. It's more familiar. And there are plenty who need to be loved there, too.

God didn't tell me to stay in California. But He didn't tell me to move back to Minnesota. He remained largely silent, which leads me to believe He didn't care so much about where I was, but who I am. More specifically, whose I am.

I am His.

And He is not going to abandon me. We are scheduled to run out of money in a couple months. All our money. Literally. As perpetual planners and safety-net-employers, this is scary for us. Yet, God is bigger than all of this. I trust Him. No matter where we end up after Halloween, I trust God knows what's best for us.

But ya wanna know something exciting? I do believe success is just around the corner. It may seem contradictory to what I mentioned above, but I believe I'm supposed to be right where I am right now. Not because God needs me here more than He needs me elsewhere, but because I've been faithful in seeking His will and He desires to bless me with my heart's desire.

It makes sense. My heart's desire doesn't contradict scripture. It doesn't defame God. The desire isn't a pipe dream that I'm not qualified to achieve. It's my God-given gift.

It's also the right of anyone reading this to disagree with me. Go ahead. But mark my words: My dreams are coming true.

"Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desires." - Psalm 37:4 (NLT)

He's a good God. And that's why I'm still here.