There I stood, stomach doing fearful somersaults. Where did that come from? I remembered those fits of nervousness from previous experiences. But it was all the way back in high school!
This time, I wasn't standing up as inexperienced speaker. Goodness, I spoke several times a week in front of crowds at church.
But this was different. This audience was, like me, pastors and professionals. We were there to learn something about how to use the Bible to counsel others. And we were being grilled ourselves. Our teacher was so knowledgeable, so authoritative.
I was so intimidated.
Why? Were they going to arrest me? Beat me. Kick me out of the group? Of course not! I was afraid of failing.
Worse. I was afraid of being a failure. There. It's out now.
I have sent some of you on a journey over the past couple of days. I have asked you to think about things that usually don't occupy your time. Now I'd like to share a few things I have learned about fear.
1. Some fear is normal. Someone said, "When I get really afraid I come to you in trust." (Psalm 56:3 The Message) The interesting thing is who said it: the guy that killed Goliath!
2. Many fears make no sense. I heard a pastor say one time that he was afraid of flying. "Don't you know that the Bible says that the Lord will send His angels to protect you?" asked his friend. The pastor retorted, "Yeah, and it also says, 'Lo, I am with you always!'"
3. Facing our fears helps us overcome them. Granted, there's nothing like some support and encouragement to help us with this.
4. Facing our fears and insecurities can, over time, diminish their power over us. Some of the situations that intimidated me the most when I was young are little or no problem now. Facing them (sometimes with hands shaking and voice quaking) has gradually given me confidence that I will be okay. Lots of years, lots of encouragement, and lots of prayers later, I'm better.
So, my reader friend, how can we within this little community encourage you?