I’m Noah, a jack-of-all-trades — singer, mover, actor, writer are just the first four names that kick off an impressive resumé, including (but not limited to) barista, babysitter, and uncle. I’m most passionate about telling stories through performance art, whether for my TikTok audience, my friends, or anyone else who might want to hire me. I’m excited to join YOB: let’s give glory to God by celebrating who and how we’ve been made!

This year for Lent, I felt like the Lord told me to give up “selfishness.” But what the heck does that mean? Isn’t that kind of . . . generic? Vague? A little too open-ended?

Perfect, I can open the door for others before opening it for myself. Check.

Well, let’s back up a bit: I’m 27 years old, I’m an actor, and this last year has been a whirlwind, at best.

About this time last year, I made the difficult decision to move out of my apartment in New York City because of how unwanted I felt from my roommates. Though it was shocking and quite frankly traumatic (more on this another time), I had an opportunity to stay on my friend’s couch in LA right after a wedding I’d already planned on attending. The stay was less than ideal, but after booking a small commercial and finding a cheap room with a Christian roommate (not gonna lie, I’m still a little wary of Christian roommates), I decided to get off the couch and commit to a new start in the City of Angels.

What could go wrong?

A few weeks later, along with a couple thousand dollars down the drain, my car’s engine combusted. I was out of money, out of a way to drive around, and definitely not any closer to finding a job. While I had started to make a few friends, even joining a hip hop crew for fun, there was simply no way I, nor anyone, could sustainably live in LA without a car.

What am I doing, Lord? Why did I make life even harder on myself than it already was? I didn’t think that could be possible, but here I am: no community, no transportation, no money. God, where can I go to rest?

And then God answered.

“Go home,” I heard him say. Talk about giving up selfish ways and giving up on my plans.

I grew up in San Diego (a city) and went to college in East LA (also a city), but before I moved to New York (a bigger city) my family decided to change or spice up their life, as an iconic girl group once said, and move us to Holland, Michigan (not a city but a small town small town). Cue me some “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat.

“Going home” wasn’t really going home at all — at this point, I didn’t even know what home was anymore. But I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God was saying, “If you’re seeking rest, you know where to find it. Go home.”

Was choosing to rest, choosing to obey, choosing to leave my hopes of planting seeds in LA worth it if it meant choosing the Lord? Maybe it would be worth tuning him out just a bit longer, to see if I could land anything there.

Maybe God had indeed brought me to LA, but what if God was now bringing me out of LA? Would I say yes to moving, yet again?

I would. And I did.

I’ve now been here in Michigan, near my family, for six months. When this season of Lent started, I thought the Lord might be asking me to give up masturbation. I’d been attending a local Celebrate Recovery group, a nationwide program for addicts of drugs, alcohol, sex, and more, and I had been working hard to move away from porn usage, along with masturbation usage even without porn.

While I had gone 30 days without masturbation within the last few months, I couldn’t keep a clean record for Lent . . . and that was just after two weeks in.

So, tell me, God, what did you mean when you said “give up selfishness”?

I sat without knowing for a week. I didn’t think much of it, didn’t really pray into it either. And so I went back to my weekly rhythm of worrying.

The pain of losing close friends, bouncing between states, and wishing I could have just stayed in New York all made it so easy just to keep planning and planning and planning my own demise. When would it get worse?

Example: I work at a coffee shop now. I make about $300 a week, which isn’t great, but one week of work does pay off my rent. I rent from my parents, which I don’t love because it makes me feel somewhat stunted. And so I feel trapped: away from the city I love, down on my finances, not really saving anything, still figuring out my role in my mom’s cancer journey — still worrying about how I’m gonna save myself. Better myself. Help myself.

Myself. Myself.

Oh wait.

Give up “selfishness” and the pursuit of me? Give up worrying about my future and safety, even amidst some very valid fears?

Oh, now I think I see what God is inviting me into. And it’s not gonna be easy.

And how about this for “relinquishing my plans”: I decided to confront my parents on something I had been storing up for most of my life. I never really bothered to write it out, because it never seemed necessary, and because “my way” would be for the issue just to — maybe eventually — get solved on its own.

But after a small blowout with my parents, I wondered if this was a door God was opening: maybe now was time for me to explain how I felt, along with explaining some of my recent behavior, and not act (or be called) selfish about it.

My parents took my letter surprisingly (not surprisingly?) very well.

And how about this for some further redemption: a week later, I got connected with Tom, and now I’m writing for Your Other Brothers, which has been a silent prayer of mine after following this blog for a while.

As for my upcoming summer plans, I got accepted to an all-boys summer camp working as a counselor with my other friend, who’s also SSA! Additionally, this camp happens to be in the same state where my new acting agency is located! After meeting a scouting rep through a virtual creatives seminar, now, in no time at all, I have an acting agent. Something for which I have prayed . . . for a long time.

You mean to say I don’t have to worry about this stuff? I just have to trust in the Lord???

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope … You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:3, 6 (NIV)

For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.

Psalm 86:13 (NIV)

My God is a God who knows the full timeline, including the trauma that has developed, and he continues to stand as the solution. My God is the God who says, “Despite all this, you can choose not to focus inwardly, but focus on me, because I will still protect you. I love you.”

At just the right time, when I was powerless to so many circumstances outside my control, Christ died for me then. Christ delivered me from sin, from death, and thus, from myself.

I’ll finish with this: last week, I got dinner with a fellow brother from Celebrate Recovery. He happens to be much older than me, about my dad’s age, and ironically he graduated from the same college in California around the same time my dad did (remember, I live in middle-of-nowhere Michigan).

I shared about my convictions with him, this one of pursuing a traditional sexual ethic and not necessarily following my every heartbeat. As we walked to the beach and watched this blazing cotton-candied sunset radiating a familiar bluish-purple-pink, he shared how he has been attending Celebrate Recovery ever since his release from jail as a now registered sex offender.

He told me everything, and as we looked into the sunset he reminded me that life keeps evolving, life keeps going — even for someone like him.

God keeps providing, God keeps blessing, God keeps saving us and making a way for us.

I think our conversation wrapped up this season of Lent for me quite nicely. My own plan? It just sucks. It’s a rough blueprint of something I think I want.

But God’s plan is still unseen. When it starts to unfurl, I’m suddenly having conversations I never thought I’d have, finding not only humanity but God himself amongst us — amongst the rubble of a small town I could have cared less about.

Knowing myself, I would give a lot to have things go my way. But the truth is, I would still give it all to have things go according to Christ’s plan.

This week, in preparation for Easter, let’s all ask God to illuminate what selfishness needs to be put in the tomb. And don’t be afraid to die to yourself; his resurrection is just around the corner. We’ll just have to wait and see how he chooses to redeem.

Are you giving up something or otherwise practicing a fast in these days leading into Easter Sunday? What selfishness do you see in your life, and how can you start to give it up?

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