The need to excel, and to be great, noble, wise, strong, or a “rock star” is a natural human longing. It’s why we love hero movies.  But our media culture today has brainwashed us into thinking that unless we reach “stardom” we are failures.  We live in a culture that always wants more. More money, power, intelligence, or whatever our heart, mind or passions desire. If we aren’t beautiful enough, wealthy enough, or intelligent enough, we will never be happy or content. This “not enough” cultural virus is a rampant and pervasive disease in our world today. Striving for more can be a healthy and a noble thing, but slavery to it will kill you and can rob you of ever attaining happiness and contentment.

I was 5 when my brother, Robbie, died.  He had been born without a valve in his heart and the doctors did experimental surgery and inserted a pigs valve to replace it. They thought it might last 6 months. He was 6 when it finally fell apart and in an effort to replace it again died on the operating table. Having experience this, I grew up wanting to be the perfect child to my parents that they had lost. I focused on being smarter, faster, stronger, and more cleaver than anyone else. But it became evident to me quickly, as I failed constantly, that I wasn’t enough and never would be enough.

I lived in constant fear and in hiding that I would be found out to be…well…human.

I was being raised in the city of lights, Las Vegas. It is a city centered on gambling, glitz, glamour, fast money, and the ability to be deceptive. That environment taught me how to be pretty, shiny, sparkly and manipulative on the outside while hiding the truth behind a façade.  I saw how people manipulated reality which was usually short lived and disastrous.  My best friends father was a gambler. She would literally show up for school one day with a brand new car and the next day a beat up clunker depending on whether he was winning or loosing at the tables. She lived a life of complete uncertainty and it had an effect on her decisions throughout her life. Las Vegas still holds the record for more suicides than any other city in the world.  It is one of the brightest and most electrically lit cities in the world and yet one of the darkest and loneliness cities on the planet. Vegas gave me my first acting lessons and an introduction on how not to trust people. I saw how people played one role on the outside and one role in their personal lives.

I was also being raised in a (though not perfect) Christian home where I was able to experience the grace of Jesus. At an early age, I came to learn and understand unconditional love and forgiveness and that God was enough. In Him I found true connection that I could trust and contentment and peace from the disease called “not enough.” You will fail, and our world will let you down, but God’s grace allows you to tear down the façade, call your failure by name, and build a solid connection and foundation in life again. Learn to forgive yourself for being human.  Jesus has already.

What experiences in life have you been through that have had an effect  on your life and career?

What façade are you living behind or that you are in denial about that if you would change could effect the outcome in your life?