I was ready. I had practised the song many times. And as my name was called out, I confidently walked up to the microphone in a room full of high school students, to belt out my first solo for a competition.
And then, I froze. I couldn’t even remember the first line of the song. I blanked out. After a few awkward seconds that felt like an eternity, I stumbled out of the room. I just wanted to disappear from the face of the earth, never having to see my classmates ever again. Of course, that didn’t happen and for the rest of the week, I pretended that no one recognised me or that they forgot what had happened. Thankfully, my friends were kind enough not to mention that ‘incident’ ever again.
I never attempted another solo in school after that…
That is, until I joined college and was asked by my seniors to sing during the many ‘Introduction’ sessions. First, it was usually in one of the senior girls’ hostel rooms with many seniors packed inside and the fresher girls lined up against a wall. Then, we were asked to ‘volunteer’ to sing at social gatherings, chapel gatherings, and so on. By the end of the first couple of months, I was prepared to sing my way out of any sticky situation.
Over the next couple of years, we even formed a small band. Yes, imagine that! All this happened so quickly and naturally that I had no time to remember how scared I had been just a few years ago and how God had changed that for me through a series of ‘under-pressure' encounters in college. Nobody in college would have believed me if I’d told them about the school competition incident.
The fact is, I still tremble if I have to stand up in front of people, and I'll still do anything to avoid having to be there. Somehow, it's easier to sing than to talk in front of an audience. Maybe it's because songs are easier to memorise, or because you don’t necessarily need to make eye contact while singing? I don't know. One thing I have realised is that whenever I sang in college, it was usually a worship song and the One I was singing to and for gave me the strength, confidence and talent to sing.
I have friends who are mesmerising on stage and amazing at connecting with audiences. They are so at-home in front of people or on stage. I admire them and praise God for their talent and their confidence. Perhaps they should be the ones writing this article instead of me. But I write because I am still in the process of overcoming this fear. And it’s okay even if I never fully overcome it.
We all have different fears and different gifts. Not everyone is made for the stage or the limelight. Some work wonders behind the scenes making the ones on stage look and sound good. And it’s beautiful when those offered the limelight are able to reflect the glory of the One who bestowed them with their talents and give Him back all the glory. You realise then that it’s not just a performance but a lifestyle of worship; not just talk but a lifestyle of walking the talk.
Here are five things I have learned about my own fears:
So the next time you face your fear, remember that only you can overcome it. No one else can do it for you. And God is the best coach to take you over to the other side of fear.
When and how did you overcome your fear? Or are you like me, still in the process? We’d love to hear about it.
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