Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)
TITLE: Replacing Fear With Confidence
By Susan David
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When I was eight years old I came home from school one day and my dad announced to me that I would learn how to play the piano and introduced me to my piano teacher. He didn’t ask me if I wanted to play the piano, he just said, “You will do it.”
Over the next ten years, along with three piano teachers, and one to two hours of practice every day after school, I took lessons and played the piano. One day when I was eleven years old and in Middle School, a school notice was sent home that a talent contest would begin with each individual home room. Students could participate as they chose. When my dad read the note he said to me, “Susan, you will participate.” I obeyed and played a piece of music for the class. The class voted and I won.
Next, my dad received a note that the winners of all the classes would participate in a contest among themselves. My dad said to me “Susan, you will do it.” I participated in the contest and was voted first place, once again. Next, another note was sent home stating I was invited to participate against all the schools in my home town. I heard again, “You will do it.” After winning that competition, my dad received a notice I was invited to participate and compete against all the schools winners in California. Again, I heard, “You will do it.”
The night that I was to compete with the California winners, I remember standing behind the curtain of an auditorium which held around 2,000 people. I was waiting for my turn to play, peeking out from the curtain, at the large crowd. I saw a man coming toward me on stage, with a tender smile and friendly countenance. He was the Master of Ceremonies. As he looked at me he must have determined the look on my face. I remember fear hit me, but this tender man with the smile, leaned down, took my hand and very sweetly said, “You can do this,” not, “You will do this,” but “You can do this.” I remembered after I played and I heard the applause, the man once again came up, took my hand, leaned down and said, ‘You did it, take a bow.” I won, once again.
You see, I learned something from a very small age. With “Can do” there’s an option there, it’s my choice. With “Will do” there’s no option. Will do, there’s control, its authority. You see, I knew I could play the piano, but the man with the smile and tender words gave me the confidence that assured me that I could play in front of 2,000 people. He coached me across that fear barrier. I no longer felt like an object, but a person of worth who had an opinion and a choice. From that time forward I began to play the piano for my own personal joy and to the glory of God.
Up until that day, playing the piano was my dad’s agenda, my dad’s dream; he was living his vision through me. But when I heard the words, “You can do this”, and when I heard the words, “You did it,” I felt someone had dropped a warm blanket of love across my shoulders. I became focused on the goal, not the fear. I received boldness and love and was able to acknowledge my own accomplishment through the vision of success by choice, not dictatorship.
My dad concentrated on his vision for me and reinforced his thoughts of pushing me to a desired end by his authority. He used words like, ‘You will do it.” But the man with the smile simply gave me unconditional acceptance and once I heard, “You can do this, rather than, you will, the passion in my performance gave credence and took precedence over my ability.
Yes, God gives us abilities and talents, but it’s our passion, it’s the love that raises it to a place of joy and in the process brings glory to God. A passion ignites the soul and allows a personal light to shine forth. When passion is moved forward the Christ in us is moved up. With one smile and four sweet words I was able to listen for who God truly made me to be and step forward with confidence.
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