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It started at a very young age . . . My need to be something. The need to have my life count for something.
I found singing and dancing before I can even remember, and once those passions rooted their way into my heart, I was obsessed. It was my daily pursuit. I believed the farther I got, the more fulfilled I would be.
I operated wholeheartedly out of the “some day” mentality. Some day, once I get there, I will be happy, effective, fulfilled, find my purpose . . . you name it.
As a result, I spent the majority of my childhood, high school and young adult years living and breathing the pursuit of success in music. I ditched a social life for rehearsals, performances, writing, and recording. I ditched laughter for serious training regimens.
My goal was to sell out stadiums. I believed I would be happy and fulfilled once I got to that level of success. But until then, being miserably overworked and unfulfilled would have to do.
For years I sought fame and accomplishments that I believed would fulfill me. I worked as a singer and writer in Hollywood studios. My music was airing on major TV networks across the world. I worked as a professional dancer. I recorded my debut album. I was a showcasing artist at SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival. Things began to happen.
My music was taking me places in life and I finally began receiving the acknowledgment that I had deeply desired.
But you know what was missing?
Fulfillment and purpose. The things that matter.
It all started to feel so shallow. I started to feel trapped. I started to dread the fake smiles and the shallow conversation at red carpet events and networking parties.
One of the moments that turned it all around for me was attending the Grammys in Los Angeles. This is what musicians and artists work so hard for. This is the end goal. To be recognized by the Recording Academy and showcased across that national stage is the ultimate honor for anyone in music. Or so I thought . . .
I sat in that stadium and the darkness surrounding that stage was more than I could handle. It wasn’t at all how I had perceived it from TV all those years. When I looked up at that stage, I felt something I didn’t expect . . . sadness and compassion.
I felt sadness for the “stars” that graced the stage. Their eyes were empty and their lives void of Jesus. I realized there was not one part of me that wanted what they had.
I couldn’t imagine a worse existence than being separated from Jesus for money or fame.
An existence where my privacy was being stolen.
An existence where I live my life to keep other people entertained.
An existence under a microscope where other people judged me and criticized me constantly.
I wanted nothing to do with it.
Choose a Pursuit of Jesus.
I decided I wanted what Jesus had for me, not the fake copy the world attempts to give.
This started a journey for me of seeing the world through brand new eyes. I began the pursuit of Jesus first and foremost, which automatically brings more purpose and passion than success and money can any day. I found my purpose in following Jesus and in living my life for him.
When I surrendered to Jesus and acknowledged that God’s plan for my life is always better than my own, I finally found true fulfillment, peace and joy. I found what I never had working in the music industry: I found the real me.
The other day I had the honor of sitting in a hospital room praying beside a dying man and his heartbroken daughter.
I shared my story, prayed for him and learned about his life. No one saw me.
I didn’t win an award.
I made zero dollars.
I hadn’t worked for this moment all my life or even dreamed of moments like this.
But as I sat beside his bed sharing the love of God with him, I realized I had never felt so much fulfillment and joy than I did in that very moment. It was unglamorous.
No one was jealous of what I was doing. No one placed me on a pedestal. I didn’t get an amazing review on iTunes or become a best selling author. But what I had was worth so, so much more. I was content and full of purpose and joy.
For the first time in my life.
I found contentment in following Jesus and doing ministry that I have never gotten from pursuing a Hollywood career. I thank God I was able to see that before I circled in the drain right to the fame prison.
I chose ministry over a career.
I chose a private life over fame.
I chose purpose over entertaining.
I chose happiness over accomplishments.
I chose peace over anxiety.
And life has never been so good. Thanks to Jesus.
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