Ambition or Success?

It was 1am and I was just getting home from a 5 hour acting class that started at 8pm. The advanced class started that late at night so that working actors could attend and make it to class after auditioning or working all day in Hollywood. I knew that my mom duties would come calling soon at 5:45 am.  I caught myself wondering if I was spending more time on my career as an actress and focusing on it rather than wanting to spend time with my husband or kids.  It was a scary thought that I tried to push aside fast.  It didn’t work. It always came rushing back and I knew I had to deal with it. When I was in my “acting zone” I couldn’t think of anyone or anything else.  It was my drug of choice. I had loved it since childhood where I spent hours pretending in the backyard with my outdoor trash can full of costumes.

But now the pretending had to end. I was now required to be a  responsible adult.

Competing in Hollywood meant that I had to have focus, dedication, and basically selfish goals in order to break in, stay in the game, and have a career.  I had to drop whatever I was doing when the phone rang from my agent, study and memorize a script, and race across town (well not really race in LA traffic) to sit in a room and hope to get picked. Was I willing to constantly be pushing my husband and kids aside to make it happen?  Did it mean that much to me, or did they mean more?  Was I letting my ambition become a wedge?

The Bible says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one or love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”  Luke 16:13.  Was I after the fame and fortune?  Yes, of course I was,  who wouldn’t be, but it was also my passion – I loved acting!  I also believe that God placed that passion in my heart for a reason as He did for my husband and kids. Why did I have to choose? Which was more important, career or family?  It was a scary, confusing, and  a sobering thought.

Ambition is birthed in our drive to succeed.  It isn’t a bad word, but one that needs to find balance with what is healthy and right for you and the people who are in your life.  How much can those who are most important to you tolerate in order for you to succeed?  How much can you personally tolerate?  How does ambition and that drives us to succeed affect those relationships that matter?  Only you can answer those questions.

I sought and found the answer first in my relationship with God. Then the discussion continued with my husband and kids. I came to realize they were my first priorities because they were eternal priorities. How the secular world looks at success is not how God sees it. I needed to changes my thinking (see it through His eyes) about what defined success for me.  God wants us to be ambitious and successful, but He first wants us to be ambitious about our relationship with Him.  When that happens success follows because ultimately He’s the one that truly brings it – the desires of our heart.  He did that for me.

Romans 12:2 (NLT) “Don’t  copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Did I become a big star with my acting career?  No.  Did I have a terrific time doing some great roles and projects as an actor and continue to use my skills?  Yes.  Do I have a successful marriage and great kids?  You bet I do and I am a contented happy woman knowing that eternity waits and they will be there.

I chose the role of a lifetime here on earth – the role of a believer, follower, and lover of Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

And that’s the ultimate casting call.