Staying True to Yourself with John Hensley
John Hensley played Matt McNamara, a highly addictive and explosive teenager for seven years on FX’s Nip/Tuck. While McNamara is a spoiled, dependent and self-reliant teenager, Hensley in real life is warm and extremely open about his less than perfect life. Hensley spent three years as a wrangler, leading hikers and hunters deep into the woods of Wyoming. We interviewed Hensley in 2006 and talked about how he stays true to himself and how he overcame his insecurities.
Hensley shares on what helps him stay true to himself.
“I don’t know if I can really break that down. I have moments of endowing things with more honor than they deserve, quite frankly. I’ve run into people that do what I do for a living, that place a certain amount of significance on things that I don’t quite connect with. I’m grateful for this, but I’m a bit of an outsider. I’m not from here. I’ve done other things in my life. I try to allow myself the freedom to acknowledge that life is a process, not a product. It’s not necessarily about arriving anywhere. I don’t think I could have done as well in New York as I did, had I not spent time in Wyoming wrangling horses. It requires a phenomenal amount of discipline. You have to adapt or get out of the way. It was my job to get people into the mountains and out safely. If something goes horribly wrong, the only way you’re going get out is on your feet, on the back of a horse, or by helicopter.”
“I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:1-4
Hensley reflects on his teenage years and how he overcame his insecurities.
“I really attacked substance with a passion, because one thing I didn’t want to be was here, wherever here was, and I did anything I could to inspire indifference in myself. That was my life. More than once I’d be sitting in the back of a police cruiser, saying to myself, ‘I don’t know how this happened. I don’t want to do this ever again.’ Then, literally after getting picked up from jail, I went right back to doing what I had sworn off two hours earlier. I ran a good game for a while; at least I thought I did. I’m extremely thankful it caught up with me at a young age…We’ve all got our bags; we’ve all got our kits. For me, I had to be destroyed, taken back to zero before I could be rebuilt. It was a very painful thing, but I wouldn’t trade a day of that period of my life for anything. Had it not been for that time, I wouldn’t be whatever I happen to be today. I had to get knocked down and rebuilt and cast a lot of my old ideas and deceptions entirely away. I put up a fight [laughs].”
Stay true to yourself. Whether you are in junior high, college, or in your career, it can be difficult to stay true to yourself. The pressure of looking, talking, dressing, performing or being like others shows up in different ways throughout our lives. Remember God created us individually in His image. He designed us to be unique, unlike any other person. While it can be difficult to not compare ourselves to others, a great way to battle comparison is remembering all of our unique qualities. Take time this week to thank God for creating you. Write down all of your unique qualities and attributes. If you need help thinking of things, ask a friend, family member or small group leader, often others can see things that we might have trouble identifying in ourselves.
Reflect. Take time this week to reflect on your journey with God. Sometimes it can be easy to lose perspective. Write down the different trials and challenges you have had and how God has helped you overcome them. Take time to pray and thank Him. Even if you are still in the midst of a difficult season, pray and ask Him to help you through it. Pray and ask God for His perspective on the difficulties you have endured. It can be difficult to understand why we had to endure hardship, but hopefully God will show you the reason. Remember that God doesn’t always reveal to us why we had to go through a difficult time or season.
Help someone overcome. It can be difficult to overcome our insecurities on our own. We can help others by using our words and actions to encourage them. Whether it is writing someone a note telling you how much you appreciate them or sharing with a co-worker or friend that qualities you see in them that are a blessing to you, take time this week to encourage someone in your life. It could be a friend, family member, someone at work, or someone you interact with on a daily basis. Ask God to give you the words and His truth to share with the person. By encouraging others, we can help them overcome their insecurities.
To read our entire interview with John Hensley, click here.
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