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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 Castelluccio


It was standing room only in that packed little church. I looked around at the sea of faces waiting expectantly. The music started and suddenly the walls were closing in on me. Why couldn’t my lips move? Why wasn’t sound coming out? The palms of hands were clammy and I couldn’t stop shaking if my life depended on it. A wave of nausea settled over me and I wondered for a split second if I was going to have to excuse myself and run to the bathroom. The music started again for the third time. After this, there were still no words. Tears streamed down my flushed face as I hobbled my way back to the comfort of the worship team. The first night of revival would have to do without special music.

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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Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw01/24/08
This was a great story. I've been there. Done that. Got the tshirt. I love your ending sentence about landing on a pillow of humility. That is a beautiful idea.
Patty Wysong01/24/08
Stage fright is such a powerful thing! I loved the last lines. :-)
Dee Yoder 01/27/08
Yes, stage fright is the enemy and companion of the soloist! Good job bringing me into the MC's moment of eating humble pie. ( ;
Debbie Wistrom01/28/08
Thanks for sharing the heartaching testimony, keep it up...for God.
Jan Ackerson 01/28/08
Thanks for sharing this! Love your last line.
Lynda Schultz 01/28/08
Ditto on the last line.