May 23, 2008

Growing Up

I have been reading a great book by John C. Maxwell called 'Winning With People' and in it I found a really interesting piece about Angelina Jolie.
The following is from pages 60 and 61 of that book:

I recently read an article about actress Angelina Jolie. The catalyst for her change in perspective was a script. Jolie who had won an Oscar in 1999 for her role in 'Girl, Interrupted' could have been the poster girl for a life adrift. The child of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, she had grown up in Hollywood and indulged in many of its excesses. She was called a 'wild child'. And she was well known for drug usage, outrageous behavior, and sometimes self-destructive actions. She was convinced that she would die young.

"There was a time where I never had a sense of purpose, never felt useful as a person," says Jolie. "I think a lot of people have that feeling- wanting to kill yourself or take drugs or numb yourself out because you can't shut it off or just feel bad and you don't know what its from."
Success in movies did little to help her. "I felt so off balance all the time," admits Jolie. "I remember that one of the most upsetting times in my life was after I had attained success, financial stability and I was in love, and I thought, 'I have everything that they say you should have to be happy and I'm not happy.'"

But then she read the script for 'Beyond Borders', the story of a woman living a life of privilege who discovers the plight of refugees and orphans around the world. Jolie recalls, 'Something in me really wanted to understand what the film was about, these people in the world, these displaced people and war and famine and refugees.'
For a year she traveled around the world with UN workers. 'I got my greatest life education and changed drastically,' she observes. She visited camps in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Cote d'Ivoire, Cambodia, Pakistan, Namibia, and Thailand. Her entire perspective changed. She realized that the entire world was made up of other people, many of whom were in dire circumstances, many of whom she could help.

When the United Nations High Commisioner for Refuggees asked her to become a goodwill ambasador in 2001, she was happy to do it. She also began donating money to help refugees and orphans, including $3 million to the UN's refugee program. (She says that she makes a 'stupid amount of money' to act in movies.) And she adopted a a Cambodian orphan, Maddox. Recently Worth magazine listed her as one of the 25 most influential philanthropists in the world. She estimates that she gives almost a third of her income to charity.

Jolie puts it into perspective: 'You could die tomorrow and you've done a few movies, won some awards - that doesn't mean anything. But if you've built schools or raised a child or done something to make things better for other people, then it just feels better. Life is better. Why does she feel that way? Because she finally gets the big picture. She stopped focusing on herself and began putting other people ahead of herself.

I am so proud of our missions involvement as a church. Just last year we saw - in partnership with other organizations - 535 churches planted. Thats one every 16 hours. Thousands of people have come to Christ... and all because as a church we got involved in faith promises... we sacrificed from our abundance... and we let Christ build his church.
I urge you to get involved in the faith promises this year! You may think that your giving is saving lives overseas... but you may just come to discover that your giving is saving you... as it did for Angeline Jolie.

I'll close with some wise words
A person first starts to live when he can live outside himself.
Albert Einstein

Godspeed & Kaizan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd like to give recognition to the 'little guys' who give of themselves for no recognition and who sacrifice of themselves and their limited resources to touch lives in a much less conspicuous but hugely significant way. Those who don't make philanthropist lists and rarely get thanks. Maybe only God sees what they do and what they have to do to do it. They know who they are. :-) To those people - thank you! Thank you for all you do. You make more difference than you'll ever know this side of heaven. Keep going. Heb 6:10 'For God...will not overlook your work and the love you showed for his sake in serving the Saints, as you still do' (NRSV).