Four months doesn’t really seem like a long time, does it? January, February, March and April. My “inner Iowa” translates that to, “Freezing, just-as-freezing, a tease of a little warm plus more freezing, then beautiful with the occasional blizzard.” But these last four months have been more than filler between Christmas and summer for me – they served as a time for me to become a student of self, my Creator and the world He put me in.
As a list-maker, planner and doer, I thought I had myself figured out. After 20 years of being Faith Vander Voort, the girl with a mess of curls and a passionately opinionated heart, I am only now beginning to learn who I am.
Here at faithvandervoort.com, we talk about periods of transition. Why? BECAUSE I AM THE QUEEN OF TRANSITION.
Iowa, Los Angeles, DC, Iowa, Los Angeles, DC…. (repeat).
You get the picture – I move a lot. It’s hard.
Transition periods have become the norm for me, and each one has shown me devastatingly low valleys. But the thing about these valleys is they do not come without the most breathtakingly beautiful mountaintops on either side.
Now, I’d like to address the elephant in the room for those of you who have been following my journey throughout the years: “I thought this chick wanted to be an actress. What the heck is she doing in politics?”
Great question, I’m glad you asked.
I told you that I thought I had myself figured out, didn’t I? Well, for 18 years I was set on Hollywood and nothing else. Every fiber of my being believed that God’s purpose for my life was to use me as a light in the very dark world of the entertainment business. So when the time came to move out of the house, I packed up my Nissan Murano with everything I thought I would need but never actually did and trekked across the country to Southern California with Mom riding shotgun.
All the necessary steps were taken: I had signed with an agency, had new headshots taken, attended workshops and went to auditions, casting calls and fittings. It didn’t take me long to realize that I hated acting, but it took an excruciatingly long time to admit that I did.
Every time my agent’s name would pop up on my phone, I would cringe and begin to prematurely think of any excuse possible to not attend whatever audition or fitting she had submitted me for. I felt like a fraud continuing to pursue something that I no longer found joy in, and that’s where the downward spiral of unhappiness began.
My mind kept going back to a miniature fork in the road I experienced days after my high school graduation party. I was just getting into House of Cards on Netflix and I became so obsessed with it that I made a rule for myself: anytime Faith Vander Voort sits down to watch House of Cards she will write graduation thank-you notes.
As I sat one evening with pen in hand and eyes on Claire Underwood, my mom, seeing how infatuated I was, asked me, “Faith, would you rather be the people playing the characters in this show or do you want to actually live their lives?”
I didn’t want to play their characters, I wanted to be them (aside from the affairs, murders, drugs, etc…), but I knew that my answer should be that I wanted to play their roles.
“I would rather be them in real life,” I admitted.
The seed was planted.
Back to fraudulent freshman Faith. I had absolutely no idea where to go or what to do with my life. Without acting, who was I and what would I do? What else was I even good at? When I thought about post-graduation, I saw a black wall. For 18 years I had a clear vision of the path my life would take, but now… nothing. My self worth fell beneath my feet and my insecurities reached new heights. My family was worried about me.
In early November, I had told my friends I didn’t feel well so that I could be alone while my roommates were gone for soccer. I sat at my desk in tears trying to muster up the courage to call my parents and ask if I could quit acting and pursue politics. They had invested so much time and money into my acting dream that I felt like a living disappointment to my mom and dad.
I remember trying to articulate my feelings over the phone without sounding like a blubbering, hyperventilating mess, “Would it be okay if I quit acting and apply for a semester at Georgetown?”
“Of course, Bunny.”
My dad’s loving tone instantaneously liberated me from every bit of crippling shame I felt about letting a dying dream go. The next morning I began the application process to Georgetown University and the office of Representative Steve King.
And so began the rest of my life.
Today I sit at my kitchen table in Azusa, California, a different Faith Vander Voort than the one you’ve been reading about. Through placing my identity in something of this world and then losing it all, I found Christ.
Through Him, I learned that every dream and every passion is valid, and I don’t say that to be cliché. The Bible assures me that He gently pieced together all of the delicate, inner parts of my body inside my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) and that He has every wild, curly hair on my head numbered because he CARES for me (Luke 12:7).
So if He took that much care into making you exactly who you are, He did the same thing when choosing the desire of your heart. Your dreams are valid. Your passions are valid. They are just as valid as your name, your birthday and the number of hairs upon your head. No matter how “big-time” or “small-time” they may appear to you or to other people, they were intentionally chosen for you with a purpose.
But listen to me carefully; this is important. Do not let it destroy you if God takes away your dream. He gave it to you, so it is His to take away as He sees fit. Abraham dreamed his whole life for a son, and God gave him Isaac – a beautiful, healthy son to carry on Abraham’s family name. But one day, God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and even though it broke his heart, Abraham climbed the mountain.
We now know that God stayed his hand before he could follow through, but that doesn’t mean He will stop you from burning your dream on a mountaintop.
My acting dreams are scattered like ashes atop the San Gabriel Mountains, but I know that my God creates beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3). He gave me a new dream.
I am excited to announce that the Queen of Transition will be going through yet another, wait for it… transition. I have accepted an offer to work for The Heritage Foundation’s publication The Daily Signal in Washington DC this summer.
He is a good, good Father.