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Self-doubt: Exit stage right

From the May 14, 2018 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

It was the week before auditions for my school’s spring musical, and I was feeling nervous and discouraged. I kept comparing myself to everyone around me—and comparing my voice to the voices of more experienced singers. I felt bombarded with thoughts like, “You shouldn’t even try.” “Listen to how much better she sounds than you.” And, “You’re too timid to be able to do this.” 

I was worried mostly about the singing portion of the audition, and had been trying to pray about it, as I’ve always done in challenging situations. One day, when my mom and I were praying together about the fear I was feeling, I read Hymn 216 from the Christian Science Hymnal. The second verse says: 

O wait on Him with veneration, 
   Be silent in humility; 
He leads you after His own counsel, 
   His will is done and still shall be; 
All good for you His wisdom planned; 
O trust in God and understand. 
(Georg Neumark, adapt. © CSBD) 

The part that stood out to me was the command to “be silent in humility.” I realized I needed to let go of any kind of ego that had me caught up in wanting a lead role. The purpose of singing, acting, dancing—anything we do—is to praise God, because He is the source of all that we are. The size of the role wasn’t really important, because no matter what I ended up doing onstage, I’d still be glorifying God and expressing joy. The instruction in First Timothy to “be not highminded” (6:17) was a further confirmation of the need to put aside a desire for personal glory and to recognize that I am the expression of God. 


As I continued to prepare for the audition, a conversation with a teacher in my school also helped me. She could tell that I was really nervous and doubting myself, and she reminded me that everyone hears this “tune”—in other words, that we’ve all felt the pull of self-doubt. But, she explained, we can affirm and claim our birthright: As children of God, who is good, we reflect only His goodness, and we reflect it completely. What, then, is there to doubt? 

I realized that the source of all this self-doubt was simply fear and the belief in lack—fear that I wouldn’t be good enough, and the belief that I didn’t have what I needed to succeed. Once I’d identified the root of these feelings, I could see their unreality clearly. I reasoned very simply this way: Since God is All, there can’t be fear or lack of any sort. Divine Love being All leaves no place for fear. And God, good, being All means that we must always have what we need.

Right before the audition, my mom texted me part of Hymn 207 by Mary Baker Eddy: 

Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing; 
   In that sweet secret of the narrow way, 
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing: 
   “Lo, I am with you alway,”—watch and pray.

It was so comforting to be reminded that God was right there with me. I walked onstage knowing that I was there to glorify God, and that in His presence I couldn’t be afraid.

After the audition, I felt filled with joy. And I ended up getting a part that was perfect for me. Though it wasn’t a lead, the role included singing, acting, and dancing—all things I love and really wanted to do. An unexpected bonus was that the director also offered me the opportunity to be assistant director—a role I had a little experience with and found to be a fun challenge.

Putting aside a sense of myself as an independent actor and letting God work through me has helped me in all aspects of my life. I find I’m capable of doing much more, because I know it isn’t me doing it all by myself. Moment by moment, God is “giving us strength according to our day” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 5), along with courage, joy—anything we could possibly need.

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