Produced By Faith

"time to have a dramatic impact on the world on God's behalf" (4)
I am finding it incredibly difficult to write a compelling enough review of DeVon Franklin's 'Produced by Faith' that does it justice. Quite honestly, it is one of the best books I have ever read. Now I understand why it was so highly acclaimed on bestseller lists, and caught the attention of Oprah, to be included in her book club in 2013. DeVon Franklin eloquently articulates how difficult it is for young Christians to maintain a prospering work|life balance in the 21st century, and doesn't shy away from doling out harsh truths about the media industry (especially Hollywood) in the process. That being said, this isn't a whine while you grind memoir, but rather a meticulous recount of his meteoric (yet steady) rise in Hollywood, while remaining in fine balance with God's goal for his life, and never compromising his faith in the process. Franklin uses and applies industry terminology such as production, development hell, casting, and the green-lighting system, to draw a direct comparison between faith, career, and purpose. In essence, Produced by Faith is a manual on how to navigate any profession while still holding yourself out as a Christian in the process.
"Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is ready cash, use it wisely" (7)

Tweed Jacket : Urban Outfitters | Sleeveless Coat : New Look | Top : ZARA | Pinstripe Tapered Trousers : Thrifted
"believe in your soul that you can be both a successful, ambitious professional and a committed follower of Christ" (3) 
Faith - Franklin commences the book describing how he never compromised on his practice as a Seventh Day Adventist even at the peak of a grand opportunity shooting in a foreign country with a stellar A-List cast and crew watching his every move. Franklin lives his truth by showcasing how trusting God's limitless power fundamentally led to him achieving far more than his heart's content. The challenge is immediately evident: if placed in the same situation, would we do the same? Can we truly believe that our circumstances don't restrict us from accessing God's blessings for our lives and careers? I read the rest of the book hungering to discover how he navigated the movie industry with strong christian values intact, and how these skills, tools and advice were transferrable to my profession. "To get where you want to go, you first have to become the person god wants you to be" (1). What a statement! Franklin knows the reality of feeling trapped on a treadmill of career stagnation, choked by the suppressive glass ceiling and struggling to manoeuvre the necessary steps blindly as a result of no precedence or personal experience. The reader is challenged to "walk by faith not by sight". Franklin frankly (the pun isn't lost on me) states that "the only way to reach a goal is to surrender to God" (3). Let Jesus take the wheel, pay attention and assist with the navigation, but that is as far as your control goes. God yearns to cultivate a working and growing relationship with him, and the further we rise, the stronger we should yearn to maintain an equally powerful relationship with God concurrently. As much as we strive for a work-life balance, Franklin prompts us to equally strive to maintain a "work-spirit balance" (10).
"The greatest testament of your faith is your day-to-day conduct" (3)
Ramblers' Path - Warlingham Churches
"What matters is not where you are today, but what kind of person God is shaping you to become in preparation for the time when he brings his vision of your life to fruition" (4)
Career - Money. Position. Power. These are all transient goals, and en route to career greatness, I am sure we have all stumbled or fallen short of our desires for any of those goals, and found ourselves reassessing our goals; hopefully ending with an alternative 'p' word as our foundation. Purpose. "Purpose is the endgame" (8). Franklin instructs that in order for our professional life and our faith to peacefully coexist, we must first believe God has a plan for your career where that is possible. He expertly takes the reader through the pits and peaks of his career, how God's direction played a big part in the latter, and what we can do as Christians in the former. First and foremost, "place your faith above your professional aspirations" (1). Christians face the unconscious temptation to believe our faith is powerless in comparison to our circumstances. "Success is...living in your purpose" (1)  and "your career is where you develop the character, talents, and influence to achieve God's will" (3). Franklin challenges young Christians to "start looking at faith not as an obstacle to your career progress, but as an asset" (1). Drive and sheer determination to succeed shouldn't be shied away from as worldly goals, but rather as a means of multiplying the seeds or talents bestowed upon us by God. Franklin challenges the age-old view of 'ministry existing in a vacuum within the church we serve in. No, Franklin thinks our "career should be where your dreams, aspirations, talents, and hopes...play out" (1), and rightly so! "We are what we do, we need purpose in our lives" (3). 
"Commit to a career built on sacrifice, not compromise" (7)
Ramblers' Path - Warlingham Churches
"If you simply stop moving forward because you are devastated by your past, then there is no hope" (3)
Balance - "Your career is a three-act script" (5), and although "we live in a world obsessed with instant success" (2), Franklin notes that the "people who finally made it possessed the commitment, dedication, and skill set necessary to have long-lasting, high-quality careers" (2). The myth that is overnight success is overrated. You are sure to have a poor maintenance culture as a result of devaluing what's been acquired so quickly and effortlessly. Time taken to overcome hurdles (personal and professional struggles), in retrospect, is time taken to finely harness the wisdom and discipline necessary to propel you to the apex of success. In the process, you learn key skills you would otherwise never have been exposed to such as mastering the art of networking, managing expectations, or learning how to resolve conflicts soon after they arise. These skills aren't readily available on textbook courses, rather, they are life skills acquired over time, and through experience. God uses difficult circumstances to shape and told our character to become better instruments to fulfil his purpose for our lives. So thank God you are where you are, because odds are, you are being finely tuned to function as the true instrument of God you desire in the process. 
"All great characters face a struggle between their virtues and their vices" (4)
Hat : Forever 21 | Necklace : Abuja, Nigeria | Moccasins : New Look | Watch : Guess
"Remember, when you are in the middle of your story, you can't see the twists and turns and where they will lead you" (4)
Produced by Faith is a stark contrast to #GirlBoss, as they are both written by individuals who rose to the top of the ranks in their respective professions, yet where Amoruso stumbled, Franklin soared in recounting the details in the difficulties faced, how to triumph above adversity, and how to tell yourself apart from your peers in order to attain true success and retain self-respect in the process. Where Amoruso failed to delve deeper, Franklin almost photocopied a blueprint for success in terms of his industry, and its applicability to other professions. Franklin cleverly explains that "God has called us to a higher standard; operating in virtue" (4), and the whole book orbits around that one theme. Biographical accounts of how he climbed up the career ladder, near-transcripts of favourable networking opportunities that landed him stellar career steps, not to mention the advice and tidbits broken down into bullet points every so often. To ice the cake, Franklin also ends each chapter, much like Girl Meets Change, with a set of questions. Answers for which will form the basis of the reader's positive character development, faith assessment, and life realignment to truly prepare and propel the them to be the richest and purest potential.  The challenge is to "be open and honest about your fears" (7), challenges, aspirations, and whatever else you are harbouring today...with "God [who] is the Director of your story" (8).
"Our faith is who we are; it is the compass that guides our career decisions and modulates our actions" (8) DeVon Franklin - Produced by Faith