Never Belonging Became My Strength

I have had a strange life. Everyone has a different definition of what normal is, but I don’t think that my life so far could be defined as anyone’s definition of normal. Several weeks ago, I was sharing about my life with an individual and they laughed at how diverse I am. Here is my life summed up.

My parents were raised in Christian environments. My mom went to Bible College, my dad went to art school. When I was three years old, my family was invited to a Chanukah service at the local Messianic congregation and my mother experienced imitate shalom. Visiting just for Chanukah led into attending the following Friday, and every Friday evening preceding that. My family gave up Christmas, Easter, and Halloween and those festivities were replaced by Chanukah, Passover, and dressing up in costume for Purim. By the time I was 10, I could not tell you the name of a single hymn but I could recite and chant countless Jewish liturgy. Does my family have descendants from Israel? Nope. I am very Swedish actually. Did that make a difference when my parents decided to change their ways and convert? Nope.

From a young age I was forced to learn how to be confident in myself because I didn’t really have a cultural identity. Am I bitter about how I was raised? Not at all in fact, I feel that the believers who are NOT messianic are missing out on great blessings. At the same time, I have always been a misfit. As I grew older, I started to notice how anti-Semitic  thought has entered the minds of many Christians. It did not take long to realize learn how even young Christians were being persuade by these beliefs. The thing about being Messianic is that it’s not exactly accepted by the Christian or the Jewish community. I never felt as if I belonged because I never really did. My personal religious beliefs and convictions were a huge part of my life but I was rarely in environments where I could freely share them. My parents NEVER forced their own believes on me, I personally experienced the complete shalom of God myself and when that happened I knew that God is real.

My parents sent me to a highly academic private Christian school and I am NOT book smart by any means. I am dyslexic and had difficulty finding techniques to help me overcome that. Even though my life has been different, I have learned a variety of life lessons from not ‘belonging’ in the places that God has led me.

  • Know who you are in God
  • EMBRACE who you are
  • Accept and make a point to have diversity in your life
  • Don’t feel pressured to fit a certain mold that society has made, it’s not worth conforming
  • Always always practice the golden rule, epically to other misfits
  • Find a way to learn from anyone regardless of their age or background

After I graduated high school, I had a desire to be a makeup artist but God closed every door for me to pursue that, but when I surrendered that to Him He opened up different opportunities. The same week that I gave up the idea of being a makeup artist, this blog grow more in a short period of time than it did the prior year. Within the same season, God was tugging at my heart to pursue the entertainment industry to be a light for Him. Additionally, God granted me several opportunities to perform. Within eight months after graduating at the age of 18 years old, I was offered to guest write in an online magazine. Shortly after that, I was asked if I would interested in being a regular columnist. What kind Magazine? A Pentecostal magazine! Everyone on staff has been so incredibly encouraging and supportive of me. I am definitely on the young side of the staff but I see that as an honor.

As God has led me to pursue the entertainment industry, I have found that there is power in never feeling that you belong. I am petite and few probably see a model in me because of my height, but am I going to let that hinder me? Nope. I have probably done more photoshoots then some of my friends who are built as fashion model have. I never fit a stereo type so why start now, right? Because I never felt as if I belonged, I don’t feel as if I HAVE to do what my peers from high school are doing. I don’t feel this pressure to go to a state college for four years, find a spouse, get married after graduation, and start a family after that. Is there value in that? Absolutely but I have no desire to follow a path that society has paved for me.

Everyone has something that they want to try but are scared to because they are scared to try. I refuse to live a life of regret because someone persuaded me not to try it. In the beginning of the month, I competed in a talent competition called Shine. At this competition, there was talent ranging from the age of four years old to elderly adults. I greatly admire the older adults who got on the stage and acted, sang, danced, ect. If nothing is stopping them from pursuing their dreams, what is stopping you?

 

“Don’t be so thirsty you will drink anything” – Nate Butler

This past weekend I competed at a faith based talent competition in Chicago. While a variety of things stood out to me, I have been fixating on came from quote Nate Butler that said, “Don’t be so thirsty that you will drink anything”

If you have been following my blog for the past several months, you would be aware that I felt God calling me to pursue the entertainment industry to be a light to the world. When I have shared what I have been doing with other believers I typically get two responses which are, “Good for you to be going where God has called you” OR I am told, “I want you to know that it’s a really dark field that you are going into.” While I understand and appreciate the concern fellow believers have given me, I want to share a few things that I have been keeping private about this journey.

First of all, I have no desire for fame but to make a positive influence upon others in this field. If I began pursuing this for, “fame” I could be closer to my goals by now IF I was willing to compromise. Shortly after I said, “Okay God lets do this” I made a HUGE contact in the industry and they promised me a music tour if I was involved in a scandal with an individual that they represented. I told them that I was not interested and blocked them from every platform that they could try to contact me from. After that, I was offered a role in a film production that compromised my standards. From the very start, I saw how DARK the industry is. At times I don’t understand why I have been giving so many opportunities IF I compromised but then I am reminded that not every opportunity is from God. While I am in this to be light, I have not always kept my testimony. I have associated myself with individuals who represent darkness and within time, their own darkness began to enter my soul and dimmer my flame almost to the point of it being blown out. Within a matter of time of this happening, I became a version of Leah that I did not like.

I got to the point where I absolutely hated myself and when I realized that, I knew that something had to change. One morning when my phone alarm clock went off to the song, “Overcommer” by Mandisa I woke up with a new abundant amount of self-respect. That day with the help of new friends, I made the choice to cut out the dark influences. Yes, we made beautiful art together but when someone influencing you to be a worse version of who you are instead of a better one, they need to LEAVE.

Within the short time that I have been pursing the industry, I have learned a few things.

  1. Within ANYTHING you do, ask for the Holy Spirit to be present
  2. Listen to spirit when it does not make any logical sense. I have given up several opportunities because my gutt feeling told me to flee. At the same time, within the times that I did not listen to that I dealt with individuals crossing lines
  3. Use caution when trying to be a light to someone who desires to live in darkness
  4. Remember that God is keeping you accountable
  5. Don’t be afraid to leave a set if you are being put in a compromising position
  6. remember that you are not even known but you are still a role model to someone

No matter what you are pursing, these six points can be used throughout almost all areas of life. And remember don’t be so thirsty that you will drink anything.