Either I am getting old, becoming wiser, or just plain running out of energy…possibly all three. Let me tell you what brought these thoughts to my mind today.
Adventist Christian Theatre was at the Linthicum Maryland SDA Church today. It was our first performance of the year. The church received us well and the kids had a lot of fun. I was probably the only person there who was not feeling happy and content about the program, quite the opposite as a matter of fact. You see, I’m the director. I’ve been directing the A.C.T. drama ministry for about twenty years now. I know I used to be much more of a perfectionist than I am today, at least when it comes to directing the kids. Twenty years ago, when I first started A.C.T., I would push the kids in rehearsal requiring them to perform a skit to perfection at least three times in a row before I would allow it to go on stage as part of our program. Perfection. No missed lines, no missed cues, no garbled words, it had to be absolutely perfect. This passionate pursuit of theatrical perfection earned me the title: “drama Czar’…It was not given as a term of endearment, believe me.
Twenty years later I find that I have lost that intensity. Whereas before a skit had to reach a level of perfection before being staged, today I actually put two skits into the program that the kids had not yet been able to get completely through even once! When, with worried expressions combined with fear and foreboding, they asked me what to do if they messed up, I told them not to worry, whatever happens happens and God is the one responsible for making the skit powerful and meaningful to the audience. We just do our best and leave the rest to Him. I know that if any of my student actors from twenty years ago would have heard me say that, they would take it as a sign that the end of the world was near and Armageddon was eminent. Like I said, I’ve gotten old, wiser, or just plain tired…I’m thinking a little bit of all three.
You see, when I was just a young and foolish lad, I took it upon myself to try and bring all that I did, be it drama or teaching class, to the highest level of perfection that I could. I had this belief that the better I could make something the better God could use it…I have since learned this is quite the dysfunctional belief. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t always endeavor to give God our best at whatever we do, but it can become exhausting, both physically and spiritually, when you believe that the effectiveness of what you do for God is dependent on your ability. Today was another live example of that truth.
The kids did, in my estimation, OK with their acting and presentation. I saw all the flaws and mistakes they made. I also saw and heard the audience brought into God’s presence and closer to Jesus–despite all the mistakes. I don’t believe we should ever use the term “Christian” drama as an excuse to do poor drama, but I also believe that when we give God our best, at whatever level of skill that is, and honestly leave the results to Him, that He can and will take what we freely give Him and make it into exactly what He wants it to be. God doesn’t use just loaves and fishes to miraculously feed thousands, He also uses you and I, in ways we can never imagine, to bring spiritual nourishment to others.
So don’t let fear ever keep you from doing whatever God has called you to do. It doesn’t matter if your the best or even the worst at speaking, singing, playing, teaching or even acting. Give it your best, give God the rest, and watch Him use you to change the world–or at least the world around you.