Have you ever been so nervous you feel like you might have a panic attack right there on the spot? Maybe you have been so nervous you felt like you might be sick. I have been there on all accounts. Sometimes, the feeling of nervousness is expected. Perhaps I will be giving a presentation or playing a new song. Sometimes, a wave of fear washes over me before I make an important phone call or come face-to-face with a challenging situation. To be nervous before events such as these is warranted or even expected, but what if the nervousness, panic, and stress hits out of nowhere for no apparent reason?
I contemplated this idea recently as I was reading about someone else’s encounter with nerves. It brought me back to a time when I battled a sudden onset of nervousness, and it didn’t make any sense at all. It was late in 2007, and I was getting ready to participate in a church Christmas cantata. I would be opening the concert with a solo, and the orchestration behind me required a great deal of attention and concentration since the time signature wasn’t typical. I really had to count to make sure I had my entrance right on the beat. If I started to sing a moment too early or a moment too late, I would throw off the rest of the choir and the pre-recorded track would be out of sync. Naturally, I was nervous about the song and a little anxious about the concert itself, but what didn’t make sense was the near-panic I was experiencing.
I had been singing for years; being on the stage was nothing new to me. Why did this concert make me want to hide in my bedroom and forget about the whole thing? I wanted to avoid the upcoming evening more than anything. I wondered if I could call in sick, but that thought was quickly abolished. I couldn’t do that to the choir and director. Everyone had worked so hard. I knew I had to come through for the group and put forward my contribution. So I took a deep breath, prayed for confidence and that my nerves would be calmed, and I left for the concert.
A similar attack of nervousness occurred as I was preparing to direct YLF last summer. I was packing and organizing when I encountered an unpleasant surprise in my bathroom. I won’t get into all of the details, but needless to say, the unfortunate incident caused me to doubt my competency as a director. I stared to wonder if I would ever succeed in that capacity. If I couldn’t handle certain domestic tasks around the house, how could I possibly be responsible for 25 other people at a camp. I started to panic; my nerves were out of control.
And then there was the time I planned to travel home from a conference. I tried to arrange a ride from the airport, and it didn’t seem like anyone would be free to come and pick me up. Someone suggested to me that I call the airport shuttle service. I immediately balked at the idea. There was no way I was going to take on the task of navigating the gigantic MSP airport, somehow find ground transportation, and then get on the airport shuttle. That was just too much for a visually impaired girl to handle! There was no way I could ever accomplish something like that! I held out for a ride, and in the end, my parents traveled out of their way to come and pick me up from the airport.
So what do these three instances have in common? Well, in each case, I gave in to panic instead of reaching out to the One who could help me. I let fear of the unknown and perhaps an attack from the Enemy slip in and derail my confidence. I have always believed that there is no such thing as self-confidence. In fact, in my work at YLF, I even try to shy away from that term. I have always considered my independence and success a direct correlation to where God has brought me and how He is working in my life. With the knowledge of His presence in my life comes a sense of confidence in His protection and provision. But in the times mentioned above, my confidence in His divine presence was largely diminished.
It pains me to recount my lack of trust toward Him as I endured the above circumstances. As I look back though, I have seen how He came through for me even in the face of my doubt. I sang the best I could the night of the concert, and I managed to stay on beat. People were blessed that night through our performance. As for YLF, our week went pretty well. Yes, we had some minor issues and concerns, but overall, God protected us and gave us great success in our endeavors. And as for the airport shuttle, I can now report that I have managed to take the shuttle twice now in different trips back and forth from MSP. The first time was definitely overwhelming, but God paved the path in front of me through a wonderful airport employee named Roosevelt.
In the end, I have learned that fear and anxiety are not from God; both are a result of the world’s negative view of success and the manipulation of the Enemy. I need to remember to seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him for the strength I need to endure each challenge on the horizon. Only then can I truly leave irrational fears behind and relinquish the nerves that are holding me captive. Forget about self-confidence; I have God-confidence!

One thought on “Nerve-wracking

  1. Good morning! I know your nerves were wracked yesterday but we were all Blessed by the words to your newest song and I love it!! Could you please send me the words, I’d like to keep them in my prayer Journal for reference! Or is that against a song writers policies? Hope you have a great week Dear One!!

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