Jan 11, 2017 by Will Maule

Patricia Heaton: When My Acting Career Fell Apart, God Was There To Pick Me Up

Star of 'Everbody Loves Raymon' and 'The Middle' Patricia Heaton has had a sterling career by anybody's measure. But things have not always been so easy for the mother of four. She talks to Christianity Today about the hard times, and how her faith in God has impacted every area of her life. 

"When I moved to LA, I was 30—no agent, manager, or car, and one commercial to my name. If someone today came to me today and said, “Hey I’m a 30-year-old woman who’s not a model. I don’t have an agent or a manager or a car. Do you think I should move to LA?” I would say absolutely not," she says. "So my example is a little strange. I feel like God really held [back] any success until I was at a breaking point." 

Heaton then went on a mission trip to a Mexican orphanage. When she returned, God spoke to her powerfully. "I woke up the next day and I had this deep sense of peace I’d never felt before, and it made me realize that up until that point, my entire identity was in my success or lack of success as an actor," Heaton says.

"That’s when I realized I needed to give that thing over to God and ask him what he wanted me to do, not what I wanted to do. I said to him literally, pretty much out loud, “I will go back to Mexico or to whatever mission field you want to send me to, but I have a few auditions here in LA so I’m going to keep doing those. If you want me to change course I will do it gladly, but you have to open the door really wide in one direction or another.” That’s when I started getting acting work." 

Heaton asserts that she had to give up all her dreams and aspirations, and simply trust in God. "You’ll be the big thing for a while and then the crowd moves on from you and goes on to the next big thing. If that’s your identity, you’re going to be in for a really hard fall," she says. "It reminds me that God is the one who opens these doors. It’s not that I don’t work hard. You have to be really good at what you do. You have to show up and do your best, but the rest is up to God. Sometimes he opens the door and allows you to go into something that’s dangerous. But if you know that to the best of your knowledge you’re following him, it’s okay; you have confidence."

"As a friend of mine said, it’s kind of like Alcoholics Anonymous. You have to commit to being sober when you wake up every day. Actually, Christianity is like that. Because we’re human beings, we have to keep recommitting ourselves."

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