The glamour reflected by the silver screen often tricks us into believing everyone dreams of becoming an actress. But Rachel Hendrix hasn’t viewed her lead role in October Baby as a dream fulfilled. Rather, this accidental actress has merely stumbled into a happy diversion in a life already filled with inspired aspirations and an abundance of love.
Hendrix didn’t always dream of being an actress. Instead, she had desires to be on the other side of the camera. At age fourteen, she knew she wanted to be a photographer: “I really was always interested in how the dynamic of photo capture actually worked. And so, photography and cinematography and all of the magic behind making the art was what I was interested in,” explains Hendrix. By tapping into the acting world during the last few years of her life, Rachel has learned that she enjoys both being in front of and behind the camera. “I’m excited to explore [acting] further and I really want to. I’m curious to see what that looks like, of course, but I don’t have any real plans right now. I did not always dream of it, but I certainly am dreaming now.”
While Hendrix has captured the attention of Christian theater-goers in her film debut, October Baby, her husband Gabriel has captured her heart. “Love is definitely a joyful choice that you make every day. It cannot be described, it cannot be written down, it cannot be put in words. It has to be experienced and it has to be moved through you,” says Hendrix with a dreamy tone in her voice. “I fell hard when I was in high school for somebody. He was a great guy, but he was not God’s plan for me.” Like many high schoolers caught up in the infatuation of love, Rachel believed that she didn’t have to marry a Christian because she was set on being an example of Christianity with hopes that would lead her love interest to Christ. But to have a man with “a Christian honor, a Christian integrity, a love and a heart for God — that man looks different, and that man is what you need as a believer,” say Hendrix. “[You need] somebody who prays for you, who forgives you, who doesn’t hold things against you, who loves you unconditionally.” When it comes to “Mr. Right,” this is the desire that Rachel has for all women. “You want to choose your husband,” says Hendrix. “You want to choose the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with because you trust them and they are your best friend. That’s what’s going to get you to 65 years of marriage. That’s where your life is going to be the richest. I say that because that’s the experience that I have with my husband, and I can imagine us 50 years from now doing the same thing. It’s so much bigger than just loving each other or being in love…And if you’re with somebody [and] you can’t say, ‘I want to choose you today,’ I just would tell you to really think and ask God what His man for you looks like.”
Love is definitely a joyful choice that you make every day. It cannot be described, it cannot be written down, it cannot be put in words. It has to be experienced and it has to be moved through you.
Compromise in a relationship is a common theme in the entertainment industry, but Rachel desires to see the exquisite beauty of sex and love in the media. Demonstrating the true and beautiful nature of sex should be captured on film. “There is nothing wrong with sex; what’s wrong is the exploitation of it and how God did not intend for it to be. That has become so common and accepted, and we’ve been desensitized to sexual immorality. I’m certainly guilty of being desensitized to it. You almost always expect [to see] a scene in a movie if there’s a love story, but it can be done well, it can be done tactfully, it can be done in a way that is right. But I don’t think the way it’s been handled the past 60 years in Hollywood is at all admirable.”
We commonly mold our lives around a certain perspective or understanding of Christianity because we’re afraid of being judged or looked down upon, but Hendrix wisely claims, “Your identity in Christ is not limited to being a certain way. It’s not limited to [your] fitting into a box — a box that your friends, your peers or the people you go to school with are trying to put you in,” says Hendrix. Your identity in Christ is about who you are, what your passions and desires are, and what your fire is. “Those are the things that you can allow to be refined by God. Your friends are going to know Christ in you by the way you love them. By the way you love people. Find a way to pursue what you love and have love emanate through your life. I believe that is what God would have for you, because He loves you and He has your best in mind.”
Sometimes what we think is best for our lives isn’t necessarily what God has in store for us. “I want to have a plan and a goal and I want to have it all laid out in front of me. But, when I think about what He wants for my life, it’s like a blank screen in front of me. The future is like one big question mark,” exclaims Rachel. Because of her incredible trust in God, Rachel says that the planner side of her personality just melts away when she looks to the future because she knows that God’s plan for her life is so much bigger than anything she could ever desire. Following God’s plan isn’t always going to be easy, she admits. ”It is going to take hard work and it is going to take perseverance, it is going to take a lot of sleepless nights and lots of rejection from the world, but God’s plan is one of love, and abundance, richness, and exciting things and adventure.” Rachel admits that when she let go, started having a prayerful life, sought out a relationship with God and began striving for righteousness, the scope of God’s plan and the purpose of her life began to unfold. Though she was afraid to give up the life she was striving for, she knows now that God placed strategic opportunities in her life, and that His purpose is so much greater than she ever expected. “I have no doubt in my mind that He has been the one opening these doors.”
It is going to take hard work and it is going to take perseverance, it is going to take a lot of sleepless nights and lots of rejection from the world, but God’s plan is one of love, and abundance, richness, and exciting things and adventure.
It was a long and hard journey for Rachel to come to this realization. “Throughout my youth, and my high school [years], I had a really tough time being obedient and believing that [my parents] knew what was best for me, even though they encouraged me to always be what I wanted to be and strive for things that were hard and challenges that would be difficult. They had rules that I didn’t think were smart, or didn’t really think that were fair. I struggled with lying and feeling like I needed to create my own life, my own destiny, and my own plans,” says Hendrix. “So, of course that created problems with my relationship with the Lord, because you can’t really have fruits in your life if you’re not being honest. Those were years of hard times for me, just struggling, rebelling, struggling, rebelling. I think coming through that and really finding that God met me on the other side, that there were repercussions for my actions and there were a lot of things that I had to deal with afterwards that I wouldn’t have had to dealt with had I been obedient, had I trusted my parents. But I see now that God isn’t a God of pointing His finger. God does not punish [you]; He loves you.”
You can’t really have fruits in your life if you’re not being honest.
“The way that we are going to invoke change, the way we are going to, as a young generation, be of influence, is to love everybody equally, not conditionally. Nobody deserves love more or less.” It’s impossible to love others if we don’t invest in our relationship with God, who is the true definition of love. “Being a Christian isn’t popular, it’s not easy. It’s not the easy way at all – it’s the richest life you’ll ever live, and it’s amazing to have a relationship with your creator.” So we must rely on God’s love and strength so we can be the love that the world needs.