Teen actor Atticus Shaffer, best known for his role in the hit ABC comedy "The Middle," has credited God for giving him a successful Hollywood career despite his physical limitations.
Shaffer, who in addition to his role as Brick Heck on "The Middle" is also known for voicing Edgar in the film "Frankenweenie" and Ono on the Disney Junior series "The Lion Guard," lives with osteogenesis imperfecta, a congenital condition affecting about one in 15,000 people that causes fragile bones.
"I am definitely limited in term to physicality. I could never be a football player, a wrestler, a boxer ... but what God has given me in terms of being able to be creative, whether it be in my voice or being able to act or directing, I'm very blessed that I have those abilities," the 19-year-old actor told Lucas Miles, host of "The Lucas Miles Show," during a live taping at Biola University in La Mirada, California. "I could not have gotten here on my own."
Shaffer, who was baptized in 2015, said that while living out his Christian walk in Hollywood hasn't always been easy, he's not afraid to publicly discuss his faith, much like his "The Middle" co-star Patricia Heaton.
"There are always going to be people who are not as open to the Christian faith, and there are people that are," he continued. "Always be respectful, but there's a difference between [being] tolerant and being respectful. I think maintaining respect and maintaining who you are and knowing what you believe. It doesn't necessarily mean Bible thumping."
Despite finding success at an early age — he began starring in "The Middle" at just 8 years old — Shaffer says he stays humble by continually seeking advice and guidance from older, more seasoned actors.
"I have always professed to be a lifelong learner, especially in this industry," Shaffer said. "You should be open to learning what you can ... hands-on experience is the best if you have an opportunity to shadow a director, or if you're an actor and shadow actors ... that's a great thing to do."
In a previous interview with The Gospel Herald, the actor said that despite living with an incurable condition, he firmly believes it's "exactly the way God intended me to be."
"Having this disease is a minimal part of me — it doesn't define me," he said. "Absolutely nothing is impossible when you have God right there beside you. And He's beside you all the time. Honestly, I'm just a shorter, regular teenage boy. Yes, I do have a condition, and I need to be more careful in some situations, but besides that, I'm just Atticus."
When asked how he shares his faith with others in Hollywood, Shaffer said he employs subtle methods like wearing a cross necklace or a Christian T-shirt on set.
"Even if it's just showing up to a set wearing that, and letting people know that I am a Christian, that alone is a little victory for me," he said.
"I want to be able to share what the Lord does in a way that's not forcing it down someone's throat, but being able to say, 'Listen, it's not just by sheer luck or coincidence that I'm here. I am very blessed by God and praise Him for the fact that I am able to do something I enjoy doing."