Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles.
Theatre is one of the great loves of my life. I love the story-telling, the emotion, the way it feels to be a part of a cast. I discovered the love my freshman year of high school and it has been a consistent part of my life ever since. Some tell their history by the seasons or by the years. I remember events in my past by remembering what show I was in at the time. I now welcome those pre-show jitters that I can turn into a performance and I thank God for the chance to do what I love every time I step out onto a stage. My favorite part is meeting people after the show, talking to them about how hopefully the story touched them in some way.
But I wasn’t always like that.
When I was in elementary school, I couldn’t stand in the gym in front of parents and teachers for a ten-minute winter play because I was so scared. I had terrible anxiety growing up and for a long, long year, I battled with the ideas of doing anything outside my home. Going out to dinner was hard; school was unbearable. I wouldn’t eat anything so my weight and health fell quickly. My family was worried they would never get their daughter back—the girl that told stories, the girl that laughed.
Most days I felt like I was drowning in a stormy sea of my own making and I was trying to stay afloat all by myself. But I know God was there, holding my head above water. And He was still there when I finally reached out for His mighty hand and latched on to it.
I was young, and we had tried doctors, medicine, and counseling. After many months, nothing in this world was going to help, but the work of Jesus.
I can tell you the only reason I can write these words today is because I chose God. I chose to move forward and start living again. The next morning I didn’t wake up all better and happy, but slowly, I began to heal.
I still get anxiety, but the Lord is faithful and helps me through it.
Because He promises His people that and I believe Him.
The verses I depend on for this are found in Isaiah. Chapter 41: 9-14:
I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
“All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.
Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, “Do not fear;
I will help you.
Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
When it comes to theatre, I still get nervous about auditioning. My anxiety hasn’t gone away or magically disappeared.
There was a boy I went to high school with who told me I was too quiet and shy as a freshman to ever be casted. I used to believe he was right, but now I think about him and know how wrong he was about me.
With more than ten productions under my belt, God is still beside me, helping me and cheering me on. He’s on stage with me, in the seats watching, beside the director’s chair.
Whether you feel him or not, He is there.
We may feel like we are crying out to nothing, but He hears every word.
Psalm 22:2-3: My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.
Let go of the fear and anxiety that has you chained to what is comfortable. Let go of what is keeping you from trusting God completely.
About the Author:
Ellie Zumbach is currently a student at Malone University studying Creative Writing and Theatre. From a very young age, she has loved stories and their power to encourage, teach, and inspire. She is a proud member of a drama ministry team known as the Chancel Players and a co-director of the Writers Guild on campus. Welcome Ellie as she shares her words with “Memoirs of a Virtuous Woman” readers as an intern for Fall 2017.
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