I went to an acting seminar in Asheville, NC shortly after I wrapped filming on a tv show I was an extra for. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It reawakened a creative passion in me that lay dormant for longer than I care to admit. So after the show wrapped I decided I was going to go to this free acting workshop. It was phenomenal and terrifying. I wrote pages and pages of notes fully intending to step into the joy of acting again. I even ended up getting a hotel room so I could stay an extra day and soak up all of the knowledge this guy was handing out. It was incredible. One of the exercises our teacher had us do was to voluntarily come to the front of the class and have the other students describe what their first impression was. Umm are you kidding me?!?! No I’m not getting up there so you can judge me. I don’t think so. This is what my inner voice was saying until my real voice spoke up and betrayed me. I was in a fight with myself now, a knock down drag out full on fight, mentally kicking myself as I feigned confidence walking up to the front of the classroom. Seriously what was I thinking? Thank you false bravado for opening your big fat mouth. Okay guys, bring it on, what do you think?
I have always wanted the starring role, to be the leading lady and I was always the extra. I know there are no small parts, only small actors, blah, blah, blah. I wanted to be my iconic heroine, Julia Roberts. To step into a role of magnificence and captivate an audience and take them on a journey that would someway, somehow impact their life. Make them better than when they stepped into the theatre, get them to think or feel or be inspired, to give them a moment of reprieve from their lives. To give them a chance to have moments of joy or propel them forward. So as I was standing up there with all eyes on me, studying me; I attempted a facade of confidence. Cool, collected. I was hoping to hear, leading lady, strong, vibrant. Then the reality came. It was crushing. “She’s the best friend.” Someone shouted out. Another said, “Mom.” (I wasn’t a mother yet.) “Girl next door.” “Country girl”, another smiled kindly. “Awkward nerd.” Ouch, but accurate. “Nanny.” Was someone in that class prophetic? I mean how did they know that I would be a nanny in the future?! Some of the ones that followed were extremely off base, “Frat girl.” Not even close, haha. My friends from the small Christian college I went too would fall out laughing if they heard that one. “Ex-stripper.” Umm WHAT?!?!? “Home wrecker.” Okay this was getting out of hand. I wanted to disappear. What they didn’t know was in their “first impressions” or “assessments of me” they just stripped me bear. I was exposed and emotionally naked. They didn’t realize the courage I mustered to walk up there was now in a puddle on the floor, next to what little confidence I had dragging me out of my chair in the first place. I was devastated, all those fears I had about myself boiled down to this: Elisha, you’re NOT THE LEADING LADY, you are not enough. I was the sidekick, the country girl, the best friend, the Joan Cusack, not the Julia Roberts. It almost took my breath away. I smiled praying that the exercise would end soon so I could rush back to my seat and try not to cry.
Some of you who know me might be thinking Elisha, you are the best friend, you are the girl next door. Here’s the thing, I grew up in a family where everyone has big, beautiful, strong and vibrant personalities. We all crave the spotlight in some form or fashion. When we get together it’s loud. There’s a lot of laughter and talking over one another and cracking on each other and everyone jumping in for their moment to shine while simultaneously basking in one another’s light. I’ve grown up wanting to do something great, to be something great. To have the confidence that seems like the birthright of being born a Lovejoy. A Lovejoy walks in a room and the atmosphere changes. These are my family members, the strength of my heritage. That strength of character, that “leading lady” quality if you will, is one I so desperately wanted to carry forward but never felt comfortable fully stepping into. I was so crushed by this silent fear; of self doubt and every hateful or negative word ever spoken over me. Those things are what I let dictate who I was and how I carried myself. When I got back to my seat I sat down and wrote they said about how they saw me and then I wrote, “I am insecure and how do I move from that?” That moment for me, when those fears were realized, changed my life. This has been circulating in my mind for quite some time now subconsciously, like a movie reel going round and round in circles. This happened in the Fall of 2016, nearly 4 years ago and it’s taken me this long to realize the full impact of that moment.
One of my favorite rom-com movie scenes is from “The Holiday”. Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz, SO GOOD ya’ll. Anyway, Kate Winslet’s character, Iris, is sitting with this lovely older man, Arthur who is her neighbor, lamenting over her lame ex-boyfriend and Arthur says to her, “Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you’re behaving like the best friend.” Iris exclaims, “You’re so right. You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life…” That line hit me upside the head when I first saw the movie in 2007. Now reflecting on this experience and thinking about this movie scene, whose to say I can’t be the leading lady of my own life? Why does it matter what other people think when they see me? At what point do I step into the woman God made me to be and allow myself to live in that freedom? At what point is knowing that the One who spoke the universe into existence sees me enough? He sees me. And He calls me known and loved and worthy. Letting this truth sink in is going to take a lot of practice. Reminding myself that my value, my worth is not defined by the people around me or the things that have been spoken over me or how many likes or views I get on social media. It has to be a conscious effort on my part to retrain my brain to allow God’s truth to saturate every area of my life. I need to allow my identity to be rooted and firm and secure in Christ. I know this and as I write this I also know, it takes work on my part. I have to have be an active participant in my relationship with Christ.
I can’t sit here and type this and say I can be the leading lady and I can step into all God has for me BUT continue to keep doing the same things that keep me stuck and expecting a different outcome. This requires effort on my part to study and listen to who and what God says I am, so I can live out the identity of being His daughter and stepping into who I am called to be.The image below is something that is hard for me to share, it’s scary to share your innermost thoughts about yourself, your fears, etc. I saw something similar on a Instagram page I follow and I wanted to create my own. The words in black are the lies I’ve believed about myself or the things that have been spoken to me that I’ve allowed to become truths.Just things that I’ve battled essentially. The words in red are the truths God says about me. I know that those are the things I need to be focusing on. When I read over these words in red I am reminded who I am and what I am and God is not human so he can not and won’t speak lies over me about who He says I am. What God says about me I can trust. “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” – Numbers 23:19 In Titus 1:2 it says, “This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.” (NLT version, emphasis mine)
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and allowing me to walk out this process of growth through my writing. I hope as I spill my thoughts out onto this blog, my little piece of therapy, (well it’s just one piece of my therapy, haha) that it will encourage you and remind you that you are not alone in the weight of what you are walking through.God says you are more than a conqueror. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:37-39 Stand boldly and confidently in these truths and know I am walking right beside you championing you along as you stand up and continue fighting for your emotional health and freedom.
Embracing the woman I am, mess and all,
I am in the process of figuring out who I am all over again. For now I know these things about myself and I am sure as I continue on my journey of healing and self awareness I will learn more about who I am growing to be. I am a single mother to the most beautiful little boy I have ever seen. I have a wonderful family of strong determined women who have poured into me and built strength and courage that I didn’t know I possessed. I love to travel and explore and discover new places. Pink is my favorite color, unashamedly, pink and sparkles. I am strong, stronger than I give myself credit for. I am who I am by the grace of God, He has blessed me abundantly and far more than I deserve. I have a heart for people and my goal in writing is to encourage them to seek God not only when they have everything cleaned up and figured out but to know and reassure them that they can come to God in the middle of their mess, the broken and their yuck. He is waiting with arms tenderly wide open willing to embrace whatever mess you are in the middle of.