Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to lead worship at a Women’s conference, the first time in several years since I had. Being seven or so years rusty wrecked my nerves. I did all I could to prepare. I practiced. I drank tons of water. I practiced some more and gave myself a couple of days of vocal rest.
Being prepared, however, didn’t ease my nerves as much as I liked. Once I’d done all the prep I could, my mind came up with other, and I must admit, outrageously ridiculous things to worry about. Most of them were out of my control. I worried that the trac would skip or that I would be struck with a surprise case of laryngitis. I was worried that I would sound like a dying seal when I sang.
Interestingly enough, I wasn’t too nervous on the day of before I had to sing. However, once I checked into my hotel room and had a chance to settle down, the nervousness returned. I could almost hear the sounds of mortally wounded orca coming from my mouth.
But, in a flash of genius, I did something that turned the tide. I stood in the full-length mirror in my hotel room and gave myself a pep talk. I don’t remember exactly what I said but it was something to the effect that I was going to go to the conference, sing to the glory of God and stop worrying. I was quite stern with myself. My roommate, who had to perform a dance number that night, was so inspired that she gave herself a pep talk, too, just as stern as mine (well exactly like mine because she started with her own first line and then said, “What Terri said.”)
Recently, I had to lead worship again and I got in the mirror and gave myself another pep talk. This one wasn’t as stern as the first because I guess my reflection knew that I wasn’t playing. I suppose it is the principal of voicing my ridiculous fears out loud that brings perspective. I didn’t, however, realize that I would need that pep talk again, but in another area of my life.
I had been feeling some kind of way (as a friend of mine and I some times say) about my writing. Some kind of way because I know God has gifted me to write but at the same time I feel like I’m failing. I’m sure many people who step out on a limb of faith feel this way, too.
As I sat questioning if I lost my sanity to be self-publishing and writing solely for that, the image of my refection during that pep talk flashed in my mind. I had on my momma scowl. You know that look. The one your mother gave you that let you know she wasn’t playing with you. The one you probably give your children now. I remember seeing my own finger pointed at myself with intensity. The person in the reflection, me, wasn’t playing around.
I guess I need to keep that image in my mind. I need to look myself in the eye and say, “Stop worrying!” I guess I need another pep talk.