running full force

(photo taken by my lovely friend, Emily Magers. I chose this photo for this entry because it evokes rest and contentment in the Lord, which I noticed is a recurring theme in this post)

I had so many dreams as a little girl. From wishing to be an orange flower when I grew up, to praying for a twin sister, to having the spark to become a "famous" actress, to my 10 year old mind understanding that I was supposed to go to California someday, I certainly was a dreamer. I still am. While others find daydreaming to be a complete waste of time, I find it to be something of importance. Why? Well, because when I have a dream that I am passionate about, I run after it full force. I don't let time slip by and "wish". I do. Often times, I have found myself simply letting a thought - something that in the crevices is extraordinary -  pass by. "Oh, how wonderful that would be!" and I move on with life. That frightens me. I scare myself to death when something sparks my imagination and I simply think how wonderful it could be rather than how wonderful it can be. Obviously, I cannot do anything and everything that comes to mind. Because we are human, there are unfortunately fleshly desires attempting to gloss spiritual desires, and those can repeatedly be difficult to distinguish between. I have to face my own mentality so many times, determining if each idea is of the Holy Spirit or of my own flesh and bones.

Since I was the ripe, old age of 10, I have had a recurring desire. 

That desire is to live in California. When I was 15, I wrote a post giving the background as to how I was led, so read as you wish. For years, I would pray and pray that God would somehow help me to get there. I would get that impatient urge of, "I want to go now.", but God had different plans. I would spend countless hours googling deals on flights, hotels, and car rentals just to be able to breathe West Coast air for a few days. I thought about saving up all of my money from babysitting to buy a ticket for my mom and me to take a small trip. I would immediately perk up when I met someone who lived in California. Just to be able to talk to them and ask them question after question about life out West was refreshing to my daydreaming little soul. I searched and prayed and even begged God to show me a way to get there...and soon. Even though I researched and had quite good ideas as ways to just visit there when I was young, nothing would happen. The sun would rise and the sun would set, and everything was still. In my mind, God didn't show up. God had failed me and God was somehow not hearing me, despite the fact that I felt like I was mentally screaming for him to answer my calling. I knew that I was called, but I didn't know that it wasn't the right timing.

And then I learned patience. I learned that simply because I wasn't there then, didn't mean that the world was coming to an end (hey, that rhymed). Just a few weeks ago, I was privileged to fly into LAX. As the plane descended, I looked out the window and got chills. I had never seen such a large city and it all felt surreal. It was as if God was giving me a glimpse of what was to come. I may have only had an hour layover at the airport, but that layover in Los Angeles was for a reason. Back in December, I connected with a Christian actress out in L.A. for a reason. There is an opportunity at my feet to spend next Summer in CA for a reason. And yet, I am met with the same, degrading reaction almost every time. The question almost makes me cringe to answer,

"So what are your plans after high-school?" [Insert: "You're going to University, right?"]

"I'm going to pursue acting!"

"Oh! Are you...going to school for it?"

"I am not."

I've tried to respond in different ways, because explaining that I prefer acting over going to a 4 year nursing program apparently doesn't make the cut.

"I'm going into entertainment!" And yet still, I get the same replies. Want to know a fun fact? 99% of the time, it is from those of the Christian body. I find it quite ironic that the Christian body constantly preaches that you are to pray and seek clarity on things, yet it often suddenly isn't okay and doesn't count as clarity when you don't follow the expectations of society. Double standard much? I am questioned about how I am going to budget, why it's a smart idea to waste money on college for a back up plan..."just in case", I am informed with word candy that it is an idea of absurdity, that is the worst place possible to live in, why I am taking things too quickly, I am met with cynical encouragement, the occasional eye roll with a "kind" smirk, and if all else fails, a pity smile with nothing said. For so long, I let the words take a stab at me. I not only felt insulted, but I also went away feeling completely discouraged and stupid for simply answering a question. That is, until a few weeks ago. I was sitting in the large but cozy living room in Snowgrass Lodge of WA at a retreat. It was during a morning session at the retreat, and I decided to sit off with one of the mentors as we listened to the worship leader speak about pursuing God's calling in our lives. During the session, the mentor I was sitting beside turned to me and said these simple few words,

"Don't be afraid to step out and be who God has called you to be."

So simple, yet so powerful. That is all there is to it. God has called me to go, so I am therefore going to go. I learned that I had been fearing man, instead of resting in God's presence and who he has called me to be. It doesn't matter if someone brushoffs my future plan or dislikes it or thinks it is silly or thinks I'm an irrational little girl who doesn't know what to do with her life - I know my calling and I'm running after it.

It's becoming real. I'm getting ready to begin my last year of high-school. There is a ministry opportunity that very well may give me my kick start in California next summer. I've been looking at apartment rental fees near L.A. - but this time, it's not just fun, daydream browsing. People are on the lookout for girls needing a roommate. The other day my mom showed me these uber cool sets of furniture for an apartment. It is becoming more and more real every single day.

If I can give you one piece of advice, it is this: Run after your calling full force. Let your heart beat faster, your nails gather dirt, your feet callous, your hair fly messy, your sides ache from gasping for breath - fight for it. Don't let the stabbing words of someone give you mental ache simply because they personally do not understand it. We were all made differently; with different callings and aspirations and goals and ways of ministry. Oh, and don't waste your time and your life's savings on college just because Great Aunt Jo or Best Friend Bertha told you that more school will be an aid in your calling; despite the fact that your calling has nothing to do with college. That is a way of trying to "help" God, and shockingly, God needs 0 help.   Moving on. You know your gifts and who God has called you to be, so just go! I am cheering you on and I believe that you can do it. I may not know you or know your calling, but if you are actively pursuing the calling that God has set before you, I support you and am so proud of you and believe that you can accomplish what you are meant to do.


  1. I'm very proud of you Anna Gray! I so appreciate the battle you've been waging within the Christian ghetto. When you challenge the status quo of our culture, it really knocks people off balance and they immediately think you are making a foolish mistake. I would imagine that most people respond the way they do because they want the best for you, even though their idea of best is often the acceptable cultural norm. Don't let them cause you to waver. Don't give in to the pressures of the world around you. Waddle up to the edge of the nest and take a leap of faith! There is the spirit of a warrior in you (similar to what I see in your mom and dad), and the Spirit of God is in you! Be strong in the faith, following God's call and promptings, not the pattern of the world!! Much love and encouragement to you! I for one am applauding your faith and grit! Dan

  2. Hi Anna, my name is Christine and I found this post through a friend's suggestion. First let me say I loved reading what you had to say and am incredibly encouraged by it. I am moving to L.A. hopefully by the end of this summer to work as an actress and so I found this post extremely relateable. I haven't met/talked to many people who understand the passion I have for this calling, so I'd love to have the chance to talk with someone who does! I have been exactly where you are and am only now starting to figure out how this whole moving and starting a new life thing will work out, thanks to God's blessing and work in my life. I wish you best of luck with reaching California and your dreams!


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