A couple of years ago I thought that I was going to be a drama teacher. I felt strongly that God was asking me to move in this direction. So I did all things you do: I tried to go back to university, tried to get on a course – and found myself instead looking at the closed doors in front of me.
I’d trained all my life for acting. I am good. I know I’m good, I’ve been told so on several occasions. But for whatever reason, I felt like God was saying that I needed to put acting aside.
Now let’s be clear, He didn’t say “stop”. He said just put it aside. I was puzzled.
So then I began to dream about being a drama teacher. At the time this made sense. I was enjoying my time with my church youth group and I was having a blast being a “next steps” mentor with the Prince’s Trust.
So I was really shocked when the doors started closing. Truth be told I had run out of ideas and fight, and I was tired.
Leaving the dream of becoming a drama teacher behind was one of the hardest decision I have ever had to make. For me it was the worst thing that God could have said, because it felt like I was giving up on my dream, on the life that I wanted.
I had to deal with feelings of failure and lack of success. I spent a lot of time worrying about what others would think. I prayed and the response I received was unexpected and scary… let it go.
We Christians say that this is surrender. Surrender is one of the hardest things to do, when we’re talking about the thing that we want most.
But what I have learned in my new adventure is that surrender can be an act of freedom. When you let go of the outcome, you are free to pursue the thing that is right in front of you. That is the risk that allows the reward to follow.
Now for me that surrender led to me becoming a life coach. When I surrendered my acting career I saw a new adventure right in front of me, and I can tell you, it happened very quickly.
So to cut a long story short, I found myself attending a life-coaching seminar by chance and by the end of the weekend I knew that I had been stirred by the Holy Spirit.
This was the new adventure: a life-coaching business for actors and creative people.
Now, to start a business is very scary! To say that you want to go it alone is even crazier still, but it felt right.
I got the same buzz when I was coaching as I did when I was acting. I was onto something. Now, two years down the line, I’m growing a business that combines my two loves. But what I want to say today is, if you’re in a place of struggle and are wondering if you should let that thing you’ve been holding onto go, here are the few things that I have learned when it comes to risk and faith:
Nothing is wasted
We sometimes feel that the time we spent pursuing other careers and dreams was wasted. I would dispute this vigorously and argue the opposite. In 1 Corinthians 15:58 (MSG) it says: “With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”
This is evidence that if we pursue the dreams that are in front of us at any given time, and we do it in love of the Lord, we cannot fail, because we carry the lessons we learn into the next adventure.
As a life coach, I know that the lessons I have learned as an actor are not wasted. I understand the situations and problems that they face, yet I’m in a position to help them move forward in a positive way. How do I know this? Because when I was starting I would have loved nothing more than some guidance and a person who understood me.
This is an oldie but a goodie. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) says: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.
The Bible is clear that each and every one of us is different. We are brilliant in our own great way. So therefore it’s not helpful to compare yourself to anyone else and their journey in life. I learned that as an actor I loved being in an industry that allowed me to tell lots of great stories, yet somewhere in the mix, I lost myself and purpose.
What I love about being a coach is that I can be myself, 100 per cent. Yet in being myself, there is a risk that not everyone will like you or like the way you work. But ultimately, I know who I am in Christ, and that I will work with the people who want to work with me. When we are not operating in the truth of who we are, we will almost certainly end up hurt and confused when the “real self” shows up. This will often come out when we are under pressure. So throw off the guard!
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) says: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline”.
When I can see that my clients are operating from a place of fear, I often ask them: “What is the one small step you can take to move forward?” When we think that the task in front of us is too big, break it down, bit by bit.
Do you need to send an email? Make a phone call? Write down your dream? I would say, just do something. Because really, what’s the worst thing that can happen?!
More often than not, we forget that Christ lives in us and that He gives us all that we need to go forward. So know this truth. Believe it in your heart and DO SOMETHING!
In my own life, I have no idea what the outcome of my choices will look like. Will I have a successful life-coaching business? I have no idea! But what I do know is that this is a massive adventure. I’m learning a lot about myself and how to start a business one small step at a time. And one step is all it takes.