Embracing the Spotlight
by Candee Fick
What is it about being the center of attention that both attracts and repels us?
While it hurts to be ignored, intense scrutiny isn’t very fun either. We want people to notice us and pay attention to what we do, but hate it when people stare like we’re a specimen under the microscope. We want to be admired but don’t want our competition to get jealous and put a target on our back.
The main character in my just-released book, Dance Over Me, faces this dilemma. The story opens with a nerve-wracking audition while a snickering diva watches from the peanut gallery. Danielle, a.k.a. Dani, loves to dance and sing and longs to be a part of the cast at this dinner theater. She wants to bring a smile to the faces of the audience and inspire young girls to pursue their dreams. But Dani does not want to be in the spotlight, because the last time she got a starring role it cost her a family. So while it should be obvious (for the sake of the rest of the book) that she gets hired, what will happen if an understudy role ever turns into the real thing or a jealous cast mate starts grinding Dani through the rumor mill? Can she learn to embrace the spotlight?
As a writer, I’ve faced a similar love-hate relationship with the spotlight. In 2014, I was a Double Finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest. On the one hand, I was thrilled with the confirmation that I could write and so appreciative of how that information opened conversational doors with editors and agents. On the other hand, I still remember sitting at the conference awards Gala both hopeful and petrified that my name would be called. While I wanted to win for the credibility factor, I would have to walk up there onto the stage in front of hundreds of people and deliver a speech, knowing the entire event was being live-streamed across the world.
I won. I did not trip going up the stairs. I spoke. I survived. But that was not the end. I got my first book contract and suddenly I was thrust into a different spotlight called marketing. As an author, I need the publicity to get my name and books in front of new potential readers so I can boost sales, make my publisher happy, and get new contracts for even more books. But I daily battle my insecurities, alternating between fear that others might reject me and an insidious pride that whispers I am more important than I ever dreamed.
Since I’ve chosen the spotlight of being an author, how can I best embrace the necessary attention? By walking confidently in my God-given abilities while remembering both the source of those talents and their purpose. I don’t write stories for my own glory, but rather to encourage and entertain others while pointing them toward the true hope found in God. By keeping the focus on the reader’s experience and God’s blessings, I start to care less about my own reputation and more about being obedient to His plan.
Or as the book’s hero Alex tells Dani, “It would be an offense to God not to use the gifts He gave you.” Even if that means embracing the spotlight.
What about you? What spotlight are you avoiding or embracing? Why do insecurities choose to surface the closer we get to our dreams? Chime in (in the comments below) and be entered to win a free copy (winner’s choice of print or e-book) of Dance Over Me.
Candee Fick is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, and Special Olympics games. In what little free time remains, she enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.
Danielle Lefontaine, a fledgling actress raised to the lullaby of Broadway, searches for her long-lost brother and her place on the stage, but a jealous cast member and numerous fruitless leads threaten to drop the curtain on her dreams and shine a spotlight on her longing for a place to belong. Meanwhile, Alex Sheridan is living his dream except for someone to share it with. When Dani dances into his life, he hopes he’s found the missing piece to his heart but fears the bright lights of a bigger stage could steal her away.
Will the rhythm of dancing feet usher in their deepest desires or leave them stranded in the wings?
Don't forget to enter Candee's giveaway by answering her questions in the comments below!