Making an Important Choice with God

A ballerina shares how she made an important choice with God's guidance.

By Haley Henderson, San Jose, CA

Categories: Guidance, Jesus (Parables)

How did you end up at Ballet San Jose?
That's a whole demonstration in itself.

I was in the Royal Danish Ballet in Denmark for 6 years. I went there having just turned 17, so it was a pretty big move. It was a really tough and amazing experience. I was thrilled that I was there because it's such a well-known company, but it was hard at first to be away from home in a foreign company. People in ballet tend to move around a lot, but this was such a good job with good benefits that I didn't want to move.

There were certain aspects that didn't work for me, though. It was a huge company of dancers -- 90, and there's a hierarchy. I wanted to be where I would dance all the time rather than wait because that's what we had to do for good roles. So I looked into leaving a lot. Every time I thought of leaving, though, I'd get some huge role and would think it was wonderful. But I still knew that I needed a change. I was bored. I'd done everything, and it wasn't going the way I wanted or that felt right to me.

I got to a point where I was really unhappy. I wanted to be somewhere where I was expressing God to the fullest. One time when I was praying about the situation, the words that came to me were, "All that I have is thine." I couldn't remember where this came from; it was like someone said it to me. I finally realized that these words were from Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son, and the father was telling the older brother, "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine" (Luke 15:31).

This spoke directly to me. I felt like the older brother. There were people in the company doing pretty immoral things to get parts, and they tended to work. They were benefiting and getting ahead the wrong way. I wasn't compromising and was stuck. When I realized I couldn't be punished for doing the right thing, and indeed had everything I needed, my whole outlook changed, and so did my experience. My director had kept promising things and not following through. But out of the blue, he picked an exchange for me with the American Ballet Theatre in New York. So I got to dance at The Metropolitan Opera House for 9 weeks. It was great! Things were changing. I felt that my director was appreciating me.

I went back to Denmark, but things there didn't change. I thought, "If God took me this far, I know God will take me all the way." God wouldn't take me half way and leave me to figure things out on my own. I took the next step. I contacted the director at Ballet San Jose (in California). He knew me. He knew my Romanian ballet teacher from when I was a young girl. I'd been to a summer program at his company, and he'd always liked me. I wanted to go somewhere where I wasn't starting out completely from scratch and didn't know where I stood. And the director at Ballet San Jose wanted me to come dance for them.

I kept praying, though, and as a result, things moved smoothly. The Danish director let me out of my contract, which could've been difficult as I only gave 1 month's notice, and I was supposed to give 3 months' notice. He also sent me off with good will, which was nice. I didn't want to have a bad ending at a place I loved so much. In addition, every detail about leaving one company and going to another fell into place very easily -- including working with a lawyer, making the actual move, finding a place to stay in California until I found a place to live, getting used to a new company. The transition was so smooth that I'm really confident that it was a God-impelled decision. I feel that I've just been sitting back and watching it all work out because the solutions are better than I could've planned out myself.