If I'm being honest, sometimes the entertainment business scares me. At the same time, I love it a lot! I love the idea of being a part of a story, or being the means for people to escape reality for a few hours to just enjoy. I especially love the projects that make an impact and move people to action. Most of the time I can't believe that acting is my job! I have my moments where I can be pretty emotional, sensitive, and slightly dramatic, so acting also gives me an outlet to explore, dig deeper, and express so many levels of emotion in an alternate world. Fun right? It's a beautiful way to empathize with people when you step in their shoes, so naturally it also makes me more compassionate towards others.
So why does this business scare me, you ask?
As an actress, you are constantly having to "market" yourself-call it what you want, but you're basically a show pony at the circus. To have the cutting edge, or be marketable, or to have a "successful" career, there's a mindset that you need to have followers and fans who will spend money to see whatever project you're doing next, follow you on social media, get something if you endorse it, and you're your latest Instagram post.
Don't get me wrong, I love Instagram and I absolutely love getting messages from people who have seen projects I've been in and how much the story or the character spoke to them. I'm a very "words" kind of girl, so that stuff encourages me a whole lot! But in the midst of all that-messages, comments, praise, criticism, followers, fans, excitement, disappointment, marketing, promotion-I fear the tendency to build my own kingdom. I fear the tendency to get trapped in what people think of me and pleasing others. Whether you're an actress, musician, nurse, or writer, I'm sure you can relate to that.
In the midst of the 21st century Instagram world, my prayer is that we all live for an audience of one. Too often we rely on the opinions of those around us and seek the approval of our fellow humans. We start to compare ourselves to others, wondering if people like us, or if we're as good at a given task as we think we should be.
"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10 NIV
When we truly live for an audience of one, that is where we always experience true freedom, joy, value, and purpose. The Lord has always, always proven to me time and time again, He is my promoter and the great orchestrator of anything that happens. I know He will be faithful to do the same for you. We need not worry about the approval of others, or strive to get ahead. In fact, we're wasting our time if we do.
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." Philippians 2:3 NIV
Another passage that comes to mind is Matthew 6:1-4: "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." NIV (emphasis added)
Let's be about encouraging each other and leading through example. Let's be passionate followers of Christ who look to Him for our confirmation. In our own walk and journey, let us each make sure our motivation is in the right place. We don't want to build our own kingdom for the sake of followers or the approval of man. For that is a wasted life.
In any area of our influence, whether big or small, I think Paul penned it right: "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV
MASEY McLAIN made her first true mark in film when she played the lead role in her first feature film, I'm Not Ashamed. She continues to pursue an acting career while also communicating a message of passion and purpose to today's young people. She is the author of It's Worth It (BroadStreet Publishing Group, Racine, WI).