Love is the Point

An Excerpt from “What If Love Is The Point?” by Alexa and Carlos PenaVega by Alexa and Carlos PenaVega
What If Love Is the Point?

Despite the opportunities they gained from their successful acting roles—Carlos on Nickelodeon’s “Big Time Rush,” Alexa in the “Spy Kids” movies—the popular actors also faced many difficult challenges. Carlos was struggling with the influences of Hollywood and was reeling from a broken relationship. Alexa was healing from a divorce and an eating disorder she kept hidden. They felt lost and wondered, what’s the point of it all? Actors Carlos and Alexa PenaVega share their inspiring stories of transformation, from feeling lost and searching for meaning to realizing that living for Jesus and loving others is what life is all about. “What If Love Is the Point?” is their shared testimony about the true joy they’ve experienced and the insights that have changed their lives.

If you were to catch a glimpse of us onscreen-while you’re munching warm buttery popcorn in the theater, or if you see a picture online of us glammed up on the red carpet for a movie premiere-it would be natural to assume that life has been pretty smooth sailing for both of us. And we get it. We’ve both been beyond blessed and had some amazing opportunities. Or if you peek at our fam on the Gram today, we know the PenaVega life can look pretty sweet. So, you’re welcome for us not posting the dirty diaper pies. In so many ways, our life together is exactly what we always wanted it to be. 

But you also know, now, that we’ve faced some obstacles along the way that we wouldn’t have chosen. There are things that we’d change about our earliest years. As adolescents, we both hungered for meaningful friendships. Alexa battled an eating disorder and went through a divorce she wishes could have been avoided. Carlos was getting high and searching for happiness in the stuff he could buy. You’ve seen the ways that we were both searching for peace, meaning, and purpose. We were hungry for life that really is life (1 Timothy 6:19), and we tried to fill the void with that which, ultimately, didn’t satisfy. But together we found that life in the person of Jesus. And we committed to building a life together based on God’s Word. This has given us both a purpose and the daily hope we always longed for. Together we’ve become convinced that following Jesus is what we were made for, and we believe it’s what you were made for. 

About the time in our lives that we were both captivated by Jesus, we also met each other. Some may say that’s coincidence. Some might say it’s fate. All we know is that God’s plan for our lives happened to be the complete opposite of the plans we had in mind. And we are so thankful He intervened when He did. So, we’ve traveled this road of discovering how to live out our faith in Jesus together. We’ve experienced some amazing mountain top moments and we’ve struggled to claw our way out of a few dark valleys. And after each struggle we’ve faced together, we’ve paused to ask ourselves a few questions: “What can we learn from this situation?” “What is God teaching us?” “What is the point?” 

And what we’ve noticed in these challenges is that-whether we’ve screwed up, or maybe we’ve been hurt by someone else, or perhaps we’ve made a bad decision-when we turn our faces toward God—He shows up. 

Every. Single. Time

When we turn toward God, and seek Him, He is reliably present to help us. He’s reliably present to help you. 

And so, we continue to ask that question after a financial disaster, or a broken relationship, or a lost opportunity, “What is the point?” And as we listen for God’s answer, again and again we hear His quiet whisper saying, “Love.” 

Being loved by God is the point. Loving God with our lives is the point. Loving the people He puts in our path is the point. Sharing God’s love with others is the point. 

Love is the point. 

The reason our lives look the way they do today is because of God’s love. Because love is the point, we’re both committed to growing spiritually. When we were first married and Alexa would slip out of bed early in the morning to spend time praying to God, it made me (Carlos) mad! Yes, I was a believer, but I was a baby believer. At that time, I wasn’t yet mature enough to see things from God’s perspective. Instead, I’d see Alexa leaving me and just get grumpy about it, roll over, and go back to sleep. 

During that time, I (Alexa) remember having this sense that God was calling me to push away everything that was distracting me and to just be with Him. It was when we were living in our leaky, broken-down home and I needed to get away from that stress. Get away from work. And, yeah, even from my hubby. So, I’d slip out of bed in the morning and go into the prayer room, close the door, and handle my business. 

Once I was in there, I just had this conviction that I was not coming out of that room until I’d encountered God. I actually set up three chairs: one for the Father, one for Jesus, and one for Holy Spirit. And I talked to each one of them! Had someone planted a hidden camera in that room they would have seen me going from chair to chair, talking to these invisible beings who were so palpable to me. 

And they showed up. It was like I (Alexa) was floating in a dimension other than West Hills, and I felt this tingly sensation throughout my body. I felt so overwhelmed by God’s presence, and by the joy that it generated in my heart, that I didn’t even feel like I was on earth anymore. I had tasted a sliver of Heaven. 

While we can’t dwell in those Heaven-moments every day, we think God gives them to us so that we can see and hear and taste and touch who He is. We’re not saying that’s the only way to experience God, but we do think that it’s important to make room in our lives to encounter the God who is real and wants to know us and be known by us. 

We’re delighted to report that today Carlos helps Alexa to carve out time to be alone with God. Though, let’s be real, with these babies running around, no one’s holing up alone for very long these days! And that’s okay in this season! Carlos not only doesn’t need this kind of quiet time isolation, it actually kills him. He’d much rather be talking to God while he’s fixing something around the house or working in the yard. Our relationships with God look different, but we’re putting ourselves in that space and giving God the opportunity to heal us and restore us. 

If your life is full, we get it. Ours are too. But we keep listening to and responding to God’s voice that’s calling us to be still with Him.