“Hey, guess what? You’re Prince Charming.”
Now that sounds like a line any guy would want to hear, right? Nope. That was actually the last thing I wanted to hear on that particular morning.
I’m an actor. I have been one since the seventh grade when I took a Shakespeare class just to try it out. Ever since, I’ve taken every possible opportunity to become better at acting.
I was scared I would mess up.
Two years ago, I spent my third summer at a musical theater program at a camp for Christian Scientists. That year we were performing “Cinderella,” and I was one of the oldest guys in the program. However, I didn’t want the lead role of Prince Charming because I felt my friend, who was a more experienced actor, should get the role. Plus, I wanted the funny role of the father. When the parts were assigned and I heard my counselor say, “Hey, guess what? You’re Prince Charming,” I was terrified. I didn’t know how to play this character. I had never dated a girl before. So I had no idea how to play someone in love.
I didn’t know what to do. It felt like a mistake. I didn’t think I deserved the role, but I knew no one would believe me. Even worse, I was told over and over that this would be one of the hardest roles I would perform in high school. I almost wanted to leave because I was scared I would mess up my lines or the dances.
My mom was one of the Christian Science practitioners at camp that session, and when we talked about how afraid I was, she shared the idea that this role was an opportunity to see what God was doing. In other words, since God is cause and we are God’s effect, then every quality I needed to express in the show came from God. Acknowledging that would help take the burden of a perfect performance off me and instead allow me to experience what God was expressing in me—qualities such as love, art, joy, and freedom.
I started to learn and grow. I became more open to the role and started to overcome my fear. I relied on God to point me in the right direction in each scene and each moment by listening for His guidance. I hung on to the idea of God being the one and only director. This allowed me to go through my days thinking more spiritually about the upcoming show.
My participation changed from being all about fear to being all about love.
My participation in the show changed from being all about fear to being all about love. As it says in the Bible, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18). I completely let go of fear and was able to do the dances and run my lines confidently. The love I felt for God and from God spilled over into my acting, and I was even able to play the part of someone “in love.” At the end of the show, many people came up to me saying how impressed they were by my performance.
To me, this experience was proof of what it says in the Bible: “For he [God] performeth the thing that is appointed for me” (Job 23:14).