Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world

When I was in high school, I hated school. Shocker right? How could anyone hate school?! I just wasn’t interested. I was working part time, hanging out with friends, and really into artistic things. Not school. Senior year rolled around and I had an elective, a drama class. We read plays, did improv exercises, went to see live shows, and even produced our own works. We got a chance to be creative, and I loved it. All of a sudden, I was looking forward to going to school! Mr. Clinton was my teacher. He didn’t know much about drama, but I hung on to every word he said. I thought to myself, “I could do this everyday.”

Spring was quickly approaching, I was a senior in high school, and I still had no plans for college. That was until one day I got information in the mail about an acting school in New York City. The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. I thought, “This could be my chance to do what I love to do everyday!” I don’t know what possessed me but I scheduled an audition and was going through with this! I got to school the next day and ran to Mr. Clinton’s classroom. I showed him the booklet I got in the mail and told him, “I’m going to audition in a few weeks! I want to do this with my life.”

Mr. Clinton flipped through the booklet, read a few lines, observed a few pictures with a stern look on his face, and he says, ”You know, this seems like a really tough school to get into. Only serious actors get into schools like these. You sure you want to go through with this?”

I don’t remember what I said exactly. I can’t seem to recall. All I seem to remember thinking was, “I’m going to show him. I’m going to get in.”

Audition day is here. My mom and I drive up to New York. Chuki, my brother, was with us. We walked into that school and I could barely breathe. What did I get myself into? But, I had to suck it up and go through with this because I made a promise to myself that I was going prove Mr. Clinton wrong. “I’m going to show him. I’m going to get in.” We sat in this studio with other kids waiting to audition and everyone went around the room gabbing about all the shows they’d done and which lead roles they had. Kids from all over the world. One girl was from Australia and I thought, “Why is she all the way over here?!”

Now it’s my turn. I stand up.

“My name is Dante Sheppard and I’m from Baltimore, Maryland. I haven’t done any shows. I have no training at all. I just love to act. It’s my passion and I want to do this for the rest of my life.”

I sat down and I looked over at my mom and Chuki who shared the same thoughts that I had. “What did you get yourself into?”

I auditioned and then was interviewed. I performed to the best of my 18 year old ability. As we walked out, none of us said anything but I could tell that my mom and Chuki shared the same thoughts that I had. “Well that was fun.”

All I could hear in my head was Mr. Clinton and his negative, discouraging remarks. All I could hear were all the voices of doubt. The insecurities of who I was felt to be displayed for the world to see as I walked those city streets. What happened to that promise I made to myself? I was going show him. I was going to get in. But did I get in? No, I didn’t get in…I STORMED IN. I started that next fall, away from my home in a big city. I grew, learned, and matured. I flourished. I flew! I finished among the top of my class and earned the respect of everyone around me. And like I said, I didn’t have training. I just had the passion. And all of this happened in spite of who I am. I believed then and I still do now, that I didn’t get myself into that school.

But get this

Greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world

I’ve since learned, if I stay in alignment with the passions and gifts that God has planted inside of me, I can never go wrong. That’s sort of my motto. Words I live by. Understanding that apart from Him, I can do nothing. But if I remain in him, I will bear much fruit. (John 15:5)

Greater is He that is in me, and greater is he that is in you. It is because of that greatness that I am here. And it is that same greatness inside of you that will cause you to change the world and be a difference maker.

The same God that did miraculous things back then is the same God willing and able to do abundantly more right now.

-Dante Sheppard

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

-1 John 4:4