I stood backstage with my fellow cast members as we waited for the houselights to go down. The pre-show butterflies fluttered around my stomach causing me to pace. Finally, the announcements began. It was nearly time to take the stage again in front of a new audience.
This particular night, as the announcer prayed, I focused in on the words.
“And may everything we do bring you glory. Amen.”
It was the same recorded prayer that we had all heard every night for the past two weeks. A prayer that we spoke during our rehearsals and at every cast meeting.
I began to wonder just how God gets the glory through what we do. Theatre. Acting. Performing.
Then I felt God question my heart.
“Leah, how would you feel if you didn’t get recognized for the work you’ve put into this show? If no one came up to you to tell you how wonderful your performance was would you be satisfied? Would you be okay if no one applauded you, or praised you in the review, or if you didn’t recieve any awards for your efforts? If you didn’t get any glory for this show, would you still want to do it?”
These were difficult questions to deal with especially right before walking onstage to do what I feel I do best.
But God was right of course.
We say God judges the heart. Well I can honestly say in my heart, even though my prayer is that God would work in every show that I do, I wouldn’t be satisfied with any of the above circumstances.
I’ve realized over the years that there’s a fight between being a Christian and performing. Though we may say “To God be the glory,” we are ultimately the ones that go out and take a bow. We are the ones people are applauding for their entertainment.
Our selfish desires, the attention we seek, and the need for approval tend to manifest as we perform, and all of these things are contrary to what God wants for us. He wants to affirm us and He wants to give us attention all so that His power and love can be recognized through us.
Is performing wrong? No, of course not. After all, God has given many people the skill and talent to command a stage.
It is our purpose, our message, and our love for God that should motivate our performance. And that is something that God has been teaching me while growing up in the theatre world.
So, my friends who love performing as much as I do, test your heart like God tested mine. Our love for the things we do shouldn’t exceed our love for Christ because then it becomes an idol.
Make your prayer one that helps you find the line between our glory and God’s because our glory is only temporary, but His lasts forever.
Colossians 3:17, Exodus 20:3, Romans 12:2