Lena Bjorna is originally from Norway. She moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 1995 to pursue an acting career and graduated from a Southern California University with a B.A. in Theater in 2000. But after several years of going through the hard school of knocks in Hollywood, she knew God was calling her to walk away from her childhood dream of fame and fortune in the movies.
“My career had become an idol to me”, she explains.”It had become more important to me than my walk with Jesus. God made it crystal clear that He didn’t want me to continue down that same path. I had to give it up so that He could take His rightful place in my life.”
Always having been an entrepreneur at heart, Lena then made the transition to marketing. She went on to build a highly successful online business selling info products and coaching services, working with one of the biggest direct sales companies in North America.
She became the top female income earner with this company, spoke on stage at live conferences, won multiple marketing awards, trained thousands of consultants around the world via the Internet, was published in Lifestyle Entrepreneur Magazine, and was even featured as an expert guest on ABC Television’s “The Ripple Effect”, where she was interviewed on how to build a successful online business.
She bought her dream home, vacationed at exotic destinations, and was living the life she’d always dreamed of. She was wealthy, admired and respected. She’d made it… Or so she thought.
Only a couple of years later, Lena found herself in the deepest, darkest valley of her life. In the spring of 2013, after having watched her multiple six-figure business suddenly come crashing down and at the brink of divorce, she stood atop a castle in Northern Italy, “contemplating how easy it would be to just throw myself off.” She was at a point where she was questioning everything in her life, even her very reason for existing. “I had drifted so far away from God”, Lena confesses.
I hadn’t been seeking the Lord’s will for my life or made my relationship with Him a priority for so long. I was overworked and out of balance. Of course I didn’t see it at the time but the same thing had happened as when I was trying to break through as an actress: Marketing had become an idol in my life. It was in my business rather than in God that I was seeking fulfillment.
She had traveled to Europe that spring to spend some time with family and friends overseas but as she herself admits, “It really was just an attempt to escape. I couldn’t deal with things anymore and I was trying to run away from my problems. Of course it didn’t work. While I was in Europe, things only went from bad to worse.”
That April afternoon, all alone atop the castle, where she had gone intending to pray and reflect, Lena was eventually able to find comfort in the Word of God. She pulled her pocket Bible out of her purse and started to read in the Psalms.
“I wish I could say that everything changed there and then,” Lena says. “However, as the wayward child of God I was at the time, I continued to wrestle with Him for the full 90 days I spent overseas, sinking deeper and deeper into the world of pain and darkness I had created for myself. I didn’t know where I belonged anymore or what I wanted to accomplish with my life. Eventually, by the grace of God, I was able to see what I needed to do. I needed to go back to the United States, get plugged back into church, get right with God again, and carefully seek His will and plan for my life.”
After returning to California in the summer of 2013, Lena began to rediscover her passion for God. “I was dealing with a lot of big decisions in my life at the time and was driven to my knees over and over,” she says. “During that time, 2nd Corinthians 12:10 became so incredibly real to me…’when I am weak, then I am strong.’ The strength and peace I continued to receive from God during that period was beyond anything this world could ever have offered me.”
“Over the next several months God did a complete transformation of my heart. He changed all my priorities. Before long I found that my greatest joy and fulfillment came not from working my business but from going to church, praying, studying the Word, serving others, and listening to worship music – just as it did when I was a new Christian back in 1996. To put it simply, I fell back in love with Jesus.”
Lena adds that she not only found emotional and spiritual healing in God’s presence but that she also started to see the world around her with completely new eyes. “I saw how much time I had wasted pursuing success the world’s way,” she explains.
Wealth and recognition suddenly lost their appeal to me. I just wanted to do what God would have me do, whatever that happened to be. All I wanted was to use my experiences, gifts and passions for His glory.
More and more as the months went by, she became convinced that God was calling her to talk to others about how to grow in their relationship with Him. Presenting on stage, training and coaching had always come naturally to her, and it was something she had extensive experience with as a businesswoman. Just as importantly, it was something she was passionate about.
She had been wanting to pursue professional speaking for some time but had always thought it would be on the topic of marketing. Now that her desires had changed so dramatically, Lena realized God had something different He wanted her to talk to others about: He wanted her to speak not about worldly, but spiritual, pursuits.
She points out that the process of discovering your calling starts with drawing close to God. As you do, God’s desires become your desires (Psalm 37:4), and instead of going after selfish, vain pursuits – something many Christians unfortunately are prone to – you find that you adapt His vision for your life. She explains:
This is exactly what happened in my case. It was as if God’s plan started to unfold before my eyes. Everything just suddenly made sense; the pieces started to come together. I even saw how I could use the pain I’d lived through to help others. I knew then that I had discovered my calling – His calling upon my life.
Today, Lena resides in Sherman Oaks, Southern California. Some of her favorite things are reading, stimulating conversations over gourmet coffee, and playing with her young nieces. She loves the outdoors and can often be found on road trips, hiking on nature trails, or watching the sunset from a local beach. Her church home is Calvary Chapel in Van Nuys, where she teaches Sunday School to preschoolers and is actively involved in a prayer ministry and in street evangelism.
A professional speaker, Lena presents at Christian women’s conferences, retreats, and other types of events around the country. She is currently also in the process of writing a book on how to deepen your walk with the Lord.
Please go to Invite Lena To Speak to learn more about the various topics Lena is available to speak on.