As I shared yesterday, Sarah Drew is more than a Hollywood star to me. She’s my former pastor’s daughter and a girl who I stood marveling at while she effortlessly captured my heart on the very stage my own children now perform on.
Sarah’s talent was more than evident as a teenager — we knew God gifted her with a passion for all things theatrical. Her steady faith, even as a teen, was equally palpable. As the years have passed, I’ve wondered what life has really been like for Sarah, as she’s tasted the lures of Hollywood. I’ve heard from her parents that’s she’s managed well, but I really wanted to hear directly from Sarah. I’m so grateful that she was willing to answer my questions especially to share with all of you.
Moms, there is much to learn and be inspired by in Sarah’s perspective.
Girls, may you be equally inspired to set your identity on Christ
and your path on His purposes, as Sarah has done.
1. How did your parents shape your Biblical worldview and set a foundation of faith for you to build upon?
My parents showed up for me. They were living, breathing examples of God’s love. They opted to give me and my brother some freedom and ownership over our own faith journeys by choosing not to shove bible verses down our throat, but instead encourage us to pray on our own.
My dad came with me to my first FOCUS camp which absolutely shaped my understanding of the gospel. They delighted in us, mourned with us, challenged us and disciplined us in a way that assured us that we were absolutely unconditionally loved by them and by God. They led through example.
2. If you could go back to your teen years, what is one thing you wish an adult would have said to you — or not said to you — as you pursued your dreams?
Life is not about your dream being realized, it’s about the person you are and the character you develop during your pursuit.
Also, the dream might look a lot like work once you are doing it for a living. Sometimes living your dream is just showing up and doing your job. I know that was hard for me to navigate. Before I started acting professionally, every rehearsal, every play, every opening night was an ecstatic experience. The thing is, once you are doing it day in and day out, you can’t live in ecstasy all the time. It’s not sustainable.
Sometimes, showing up to set feels like a drudge through the day at the office.
I still have glorious, amazing experiences at work as well, and I’m so grateful for them, but it’s good to be prepared for all of it.
It’s good to walk into your dream with great expectations, but it’s important to realize that the realized dream in and of itself is not going to be the thing that will make you feel whole and satisfied ultimately.
It’s a good thing, but it’s not THE thing…and as soon as you start putting your hope in it as THE thing, you will spend your life disappointed.
With every profession, there is always more to achieve, always a higher rung to climb, always more to get. I’ve struggled a great deal throughout my career with putting hope in things that cannot possibly satisfy me.
[Tweet “”Every time I spin out of control, God brings me back to Himself.” @SarahDrewGreys @MNOmovie”]
He reminds me that HE is the only one who can satisfy, and he reminds me that joy- true joy is learning that you already have everything you could possibly want in Him.
He reminds me to be grateful. He reminds me that there really is no joy outside of Him, no matter how many awards I win, or how many movies I star in or how many twitter followers I have.
I act and live for an audience of One (well, three if you’re thinking about the trinity).
3. For those of who have teens looking to go into theater, television, or movies, what would you recommend to the moms in regards to preparing their sons and daughters for such an environment?
Tell your kids not to pursue acting professionally until after college. Stick to community theater and school plays until you’ve grown up a bit.
College is such an important time of self discovery and independence. It’s a time to be tested and to learn to find and cling to your faith in a way that is deeply personal to you and maybe a little different from your parents’.
It’s a time to learn to work hard and take responsibility for your actions. Basically, it’s a very grounding time in life.
One of the hardest things about this business is how easy it is to be tossed on the wind of people’s opinion of you. Whether you’re rejected at every audition, or winning academy awards; whether you’re slammed on TMZ or praised and adored on twitter.
[Tweet “All of those opinions are ultimately meaningless & never have anything to do w/the real you…your real character.-@SarahDrewGreys”]
Leaping into this career without your feet firmly planted in who you are — without knowing what your real identity is — is dangerous and terrifying and ultimately can be so destructive.
I feel like I have my feet firmly planted in my identity as a child of God first, but I still struggle with “man’s empty praise.” I can’t imagine where I would be without the gospel foundation my parents raised me in, and the love of my husband.
4. What has been the greatest struggle for you — in terms of your faith and balancing career/marriage/motherhood — and what has enabled you to press on?
My value and my identity is a a Child of God first. The only opinion that matters is His, and He already loves me and delights in me.
I have a really hard time living in that truth day in and day out. It’s easy to get caught up in what people are saying about me. I recently had a revelatory moment with the Lord. I was at a restaurant where the Golden Globes were playing, and I kept catching glimpses of it and as I was sitting there with my husband and my son, I felt my spirit sink lower and lower and lower. Jealousy gripped me and anger grabbed me, and ingratitude started spewing out of me.
[Tweet “The next morning, I got down on my knees and asked the Lord to help me.”]
How could something as innocuous as The Golden Globes send me into a spin of sadness? He showed me a very clear image. I was feeling like the girl in the lunch room in middle school. I walked into the lunchroom, and the table with all of the popular, beautiful girls and boys was full, and they weren’t even giving me a second glance.
But There was a table with one solitary friend, who was daily inviting me to sit with Him. No matter how many times I looked over him and chose instead to pursue inclusion with the “cool kids”, He still sat there, day in and day out, inviting me to his table.
He promised to be a faithful, loyal friend. He promised to care about me, see the real me, and love the real me. He promised to never let me down. He promised that I would never have to sit alone at lunch ever again. Because, in middle school, all you really need is one good, solid friend. He promised to invite me to his table no matter how bedraggled I felt, no matter how poorly I behaved, no matter how little I brought.
That friend is Jesus, and He is a really really good friend.
I think most of the issues that arise in my life as navigate marriage, motherhood and acting, stem from forgetting who I am and who loves me and who’s opinion matters.
I’m pretty sure I will be struggling with this identity crisis for the rest of my life. I press on because I have incredible truth tellers in my life reminding me who I am. My husband reminds me of my true identity daily by being my best friend and loving me unconditionally as Christ does. My son reminds me of how loved I am by my Eternal Parent, because honestly, I could spend hours just sitting with my little guy and watching him encounter the world. He forces me to be still and present and I delight in him so fully. And I know my delight in Micah pales in comparison to the way that God delights in me. My community reminds me daily that I belong to a family, and that every member of my family is totally broken, yet totally loved and cherished. That is how I press on. I lean on my people and we do life together.
Will you take a moment to thank Sarah in the comments for sharing her heart with us?
Do you struggle with identity, too?
I’m so encouraged and challenge to remember the truths she has shared, especially her struggle with identity. She’s not alone. We’ve yet to meet a mom, mentor, or teenage girl that doesn’t struggle with identity to some degree or another. That’s why we recently released Journey to Freedom: A Bible Study on Identity for teen girls and young women, along with a companion leader’s guide. We hope you’ll make the most of this new resource, available on Amazon for Kindle, print, and paperback, which you can learn about here.
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