A former male stripper is sharing his story about how Christ freed him from a lucrative money-making career for a life that had the joy he had always sought.
Donovan Dee Donnell, who today is a life coach, author and speaker, reveals in a new episode of his podcast Imagine Faith Talk that his past career as a male exotic dancer and stripper provided fame, money and nice cars but left him empty and pondering life's purpose.
Donnell launched the faith-centric podcast this month with his co-host, Kevin Olusola of Pentatonix.
"God transformed my life and told me, 'I didn't give you those gifts for that,'" Donnell said.
The turning point in his life, Donnell said, took place days after he made a significant amount of money from performing at a birthday party.
"[I had] the fame, the cars, the money and all this attention and stuff – and it just did not equal fulfillment," he said. "I didn't have a joy, a satisfaction. I was just in the club, taking my clothes off for money, very robotic, very mundane. And I was just like, 'There has to be more to this – to life. This can't be it.'"
Donnell said that "no matter how much money I made, no matter how much I was praised, no matter how many opportunities I had to travel," he lacked joy and peace.
A conversation with God changed him.
"I had a quiet day in a hotel by myself, and I prayed to God, and I said, 'What do I have to do?' And He spoke one word to me. And that word was 'quit.'"
"God said, 'You'll never know what's within until you have to live without.' And when He took everything from me, I was able to see what He had prepared for me – what He had already put inside of me. … Jesus said, 'I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.' I want to walk in that abundant life."
Today, Donnell encourages others to embrace God's purpose for their life.
"The life-changing moment for me was when I stopped praying for what I wanted, and prayed for what God had prepared for me," he said. "... You could have been born in the 1600s. Or you could have been born in the year 2237. But He put you [on Earth] here, and He put you [on Earth] now – it was strategic because there's (sic) things that He wants done [on] the Earth."
Donnell noted that Jesus, in the Lord's Prayer, prayed that "Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven."
"How is God's will done on Earth as it is in heaven? [It's] through His vessels," Donnell said. "That's what we are. There's something in particular He wants done right now, and He chose you for it, and He gave you everything you need in order to get that thing done."
Photo courtesy: ©Long Truong/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.