worthy investments: Ailie's story
Updated: Aug 19, 2018
Hey everyone! My name is Ailie and I hope my story is helpful wherever you may be on your spiritual journey. A few weeks ago, Mandy was in my kitchen and first mentioned the idea for her new series on investing in the right places. I immediately felt a connection and like I had a story to share.
A little background on me – I grew up in Atlanta and from a young age knew I wanted to work in entertainment. However, being from Georgia I didn’t really know what that meant other than what I saw in front of the camera. I had no idea there were agents, managers, producers and more that kept the machine running behind the scenes.
When it came time to decide where to go to college, my heart was set on The University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. When I applied, I had never even been to the state of California, but I knew I wanted to get away, live somewhere different and pursue my dream of working in Hollywood. I was fortunate to be offered a scholarship and suffice to say I was ecstatic! I felt like this was the start of a new chapter in my life.
Through the internships I had while in school, I was able to discover my passion and found my ideal career path in publicity. I loved the thrilling pace of working with talent and found that using media to help get a message across and promote a client’s project was exhilarating. However, it was definitely tough and a lot of hard work. It’s a competitive field, and being goal-oriented, I began to devote my entire life to my job. Basically, I was the media contact for all of the actors and actresses we represented. So, anytime you would see them on a TV talk show, in a magazine or newspaper, I was the one who helped set up the interview, photo shoot, etc.
I was fortunate and grateful to rise the ranks pretty quickly and was promoted within two years. I had no life outside of work. As a result, my friendships, health and overall happiness started to suffer greatly. I was working with negative, toxic people who made me feel insignificant even after investing so much. Not a way to spend 80+ hours a week. I wasn’t sleeping and I was stressed out all the time.
My external bank accounts were filling up, but my internal bank accounts were depleting at a rapid pace.
When I got promoted, it was everything I ever wanted. I thought I had “made it”, but about three months in, those horrible feelings of internal depletion didn’t go away. Something was off. I would come home at night and not recognize the person staring back at me – I was saying and doing things as well as treating people in ways that weren’t aligned with who I am at the core.
By pure divine intervention, one day I had an especially stressful interaction and had an epiphany (or what I call my quarter life crisis 😊) and realized I needed to get out of LA. There was no way I’d be able to keep working in my dream field of publicity while in a town that caters to “what have you done for me” rather than “how can I help you”.
Part of this epiphany made me realize I could move to Nashville to be closer to my family while still doing what I love in publicity for country music, not film and TV. It took about six months to find my current job which I’ve now had for almost four years and I couldn’t be happier. I work with kind, appreciative artists who are grateful for all the hard work.
Often times, we don’t stop to see if we’re getting a worthy return on our investments. Meaning, is the time and energy we put towards things in our lives worthwhile in the grand plan? It is making you happy? Does it leave you feeling fulfilled? Instead, we bulldoze down a path that feels right in the moment and don’t stop to realize that there are signs along the way leading you to a different or better path. This applies to work or any other area you’re investing time in. The Bible is full of examples of God providing signs if we slow down and take time to listen through prayer, meditation or even quiet walks outside.
I’m so grateful for my work experience in LA; it taught me many useful skills not only for dealing with others but also myself. It truly taught me to trust my intuition, and when something feels off, to listen because it’s probably God trying to grab our attention. At the time, I was young and I kept pushing through thinking that being career-driven and successful were worthy values. Don’t get me wrong, they are absolutely important aspects to a satisfying life. However, when you make them your entire existence, that’s when you veer into trouble. I don’t think God ever meant for us to invest all of our time and efforts into one category. I was investing in worldly accolades and lost sight of keeping God first in my life.
Psalm 127 says:
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
I’m still dealing with the consequences of ignoring my health and running my body into the ground, but through God’s grace I’ve come a long way from the person I was before I moved to Nashville. I’ve learned that taking time to rest and invest in myself in addition to my family and friends are just as worthy uses of my time as staying late at the office to send one more email.
I hope this helps give you peace to remember that life isn’t a race. You can gain worthy returns on your investments if you keep God at the center of your life.
Do you feel like you’re trying to fill external accounts at the expense of internal ones?
How can you take steps toward filling your internal accounts today? For example, leave work on time, walk the dog, cook a healthy meal, get enough sleep, go for a walk, go to yoga, reading the Bible, etc.