Sunday, April 3, 2011


1. A natural habitat, sphere of activity, environment, etc.
2. An entity satisfies all the conditions of belonging to a given set.
3. A part that goes into the making of a complete set or compound.

I have become brilliant in living outside my element. I have grown accustomed to existing in a realm which is not my natural atmosphere. I have learned the delicate balance between an element, call, and passion. I have lived in a world outside my prone likings for the past couple of years, and I would be a fool to say it has been all bad; I've actually enjoyed a good portion of my time in this new habitat, and the new surroundings have stretched and grown me beyond what I once thought capable. I am learning to make a current element THE element, which means I am still in the process of adjusting.

Many of you know there was a very large portion of my life (12 years to be relatively exact) where I pursued Broadway. I lived it, I breathed it, I fought for it, I sweat for it, I ached for it...I desired it with a passion beyond words. Most children decide what they want to be when they grow up around the age of five, then they choose a few more times before the age of ten. Not me. I knew what I wanted from the moment I watched the Sound of Music; I wanted to be a star. I wanted to live my life on a stage. I wanted to play the role of someone new each day; I wanted to be on Broadway amidst the streets of New York, singing in the rain, and dancing merrily along. Though the childish fantasy matured, the dream never changed. I vehemently pursued my dream of being on Broadway for years, and never stopped believing I could make it. Long story short, the Lord had different plans for my life, and at 17--having lived my whole life directing my college career and goals on one thing, the door to Broadway was shut. I knew my calling was ministry (which I must confess, I was not exactly excited about at first), I knew my life was not going to be one of glamor, dance, and fame... and I knew I had to surrender my dreams and goals to the King of Kings in exchange for the plans HE had for me. Living your own dream can only be so fulfilling. Jesus has plans beyond my comprehension--and I'm still walking each day with Him figuring it out. It's a journey, and I'm a new traveler.
That is clearly the short version of the story, and if you want the more extended version of my testimony feel free to talk to me :).
All that aside, I've been given the amazing opportunity to help out with a few huge events on campus that are inside my element. One is the Night of Classics event, which is a fundraiser Jessup puts on every year for the music department. This year is a spotlight on broadway! I've gotten to sing some of my favorite pieces and come alongside some wonderful people to help choreograph and stage the event; I have had so much fun. I also am getting the opportunity to student-lead a new ensemble at Jessup that will perform some show tunes, contemporary, and modern pieces (kind of a show-choir type of vibe.) I feel enormously honored to have been asked to help with such an ensemble, and I'm so grateful God has given me the gift of these two things. However, in the past couple weeks I've experienced a few times of deep sadness...
I miss it so much.
To go from breathing something to living completely without it is slightly difficult, and I have to admit I haven't paused often enough to mourn the loss of such a huge part of my life. I also have also undergone a good amount of teasing for it, which is fine and nothing I didn't expect (I did once exist in an all-theater reality, so it was nothing short of shocking....people who are not in theater don't understand people who are in it; It's like jocks and band kids. Ha Ha), but I will be honest and say the teasing has been an area of struggle. I don't think people understand how difficult it still sometimes is to live in this new reality while I'm still new on the journey towards ministry (which I adore and love), and away from the theater. The journey that up to this point has not included any writing, dancing, or acting. The journey that includes me learning a whole new different set of skills, the journey that is new.

I often feel as if I fight against the grain-- I hear it's an artist thing. Probably true. We are a tad emotional :). I just sometimes tire of the continual teasing when I am trying so hard to pursue the Lord while having a whole set of passion's that have gone untouched for far too long.

I'm having some pretty intense conversations with God about this topic, and He has been so faithful to comfort and assure me all my striving is not unnoticed or empty. He's also made it pretty clear my 'element' inside the arts is going to be used for His glory, and it will not be abandoned or lost: That is a huge source of comfort.

I am learning, I am growing, and I am just a young woman who loves the Lord with all her heart is trying her hardest to live a life abandoned to Him.

So, God.... Where to from Here?



drjohnjackson said...

Wow...what a great piece! So...I'm wondering if maybe God can allow you to pursue ministry and still experience Broadway as well? I suspect He is big enough for that.

Holly said...

You are a great writer :)
and I'd LOVE to hear your whole story sometime.

I've actually wanted to get to know more about you since first seeing you at Jessup a year ago. And then again a Breakaway (on stage of course!) lol..

We should go to starbucks or something.
I heard you like coffee... lol

Alejandra said...

Wow, I never realized how much Broadway was a part of your life. You are amazing at it. I know it's hard giving up some of your greatest passions to follow God's path but I'm sure somewhere down the road you will have the opportunity to follow your dream.

Thanks very much for sharing this, it touched me deeply.

Pamela Harvey said...

I love you Rachel! I'm so excited that you have become a mentor to Jess (whether you realize it or not!) She too has always loved Broadway (be sure to let us know when your production is - we are so there!) ...but honestly I have somewhat discouraged it as the secular theater world has not necessarily been a good thing for us. your dad said, maybe you can still pursue ministry and pursue Broadway...and maybe Jessica will be right with you :) I will be praying for you!

Alissa said...

i understand you.
i really REALLY understand you.