Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)
TITLE: Atrocities and Antacids
By Sherry Hoffcastle
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It was the most embarrassing moment of my life thus far. Mark had asked me the week before if I could do a special. Apparently I had the goods, so it was time to capitalize on them. I spent the next few days practicing a song from an old CD which just happened to have an accompaniment. At the time I worked as a secretary for a larger church than the one I had been attending. The acoustics were great and I was very excited to practice in such a cozy environment. I tried to ignore the butterflies as the occasional wanderer passed through the open doors. After all, if I was going to sing in revival, I had better get used to having an audience.
What I hadn’t counted on was that detestable stage-fright. I was sure that after months of singing with the worship team, I was ready for a solo performance. Why not? There is a first time for everything and this may as well be it. After the revival disaster, I went back to basics. I decided then and there that the secret to being a good soloist was lots of practice. One week in an empty auditorium did not make me ready to sing in front of the bathroom mirror.
I also decided that I was going to have to mess up a whole lot. I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be embarrassed on a regular basis until I was comfortable enough with people watching me. Wrong notes and lots of antacids became a way of life as I stumbled my way through Sunday after mortifying Sunday. In spite of all the mangled Susan Ashton hits, it gave me comfort knowing that I had already slammed into my bottom. Nothing could be as bad as that first attempt. At least now sound was coming out. Then one day it happened. I received a compliment.
“Most people would have given up if they’d had a start like yours. When you began to sing, you couldn’t squeeze out a single word. But you never gave up and you never quit. You get better all the time. You sing for God and it shows because you continue to improve. You are anointed and I’m so amazed by you.”
I suppose it would have helped if I had practiced in front of a small audience before I debuted in front of a large one. But knowing myself the way I do, I’ve never taken the easy road. For some reason I’m drawn to the more challenging, rockier ones. It’s these painful, obnoxious paths that have led me straight toward shame and into the loving arms of grace and mercy. I wish I had taken a few baby steps before trying to fly, but I’m not sorry for the fall. I’ve landed on a beautiful pillow of humility.
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