I was petrified; I was trembling; I wanted out of here! How did I get me into this mess anyway?
How dumb. How egotistical! It’s all about me – again!
Ok, so I attempted to overcome – for the umpteenth time. Tried to conquer my inhibitions; social phobia; inferiority complex; tried to master this paranoid, twitchy, worry-warty anxiety queen - ME!
I shambled tentatively onto the platform. My knees promised to give way, my cheeks burned scarlet and I was appreciative that I’d had the foresight to wear ultra-dry deodorant!
So what bright spark wrote the book entitled ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’?
From behind the microphone I scrutinised the enemy. A moments grace – late-comers playing musical chairs and whispering “’scuse me” as they stumbled along the rows.
Sucking in one mega long, slow and deep anxiety laden breath; I held … 1…2…3…4…5 … And let go. Phewwww! A hush descended and I experienced a super urgent need for the loo!
But this deed had to be topped and laid to rest with all the other adrenaline fuelled challenges in my life.
I stretched a plastic smile across my hot face in the hope that my pearly white, vigorously scrubbed teeth would somehow detract the focus of attention from those pesky beads of perspiration splashing onto my non-waterproof mascara.
“Well hi there everyone.” I purred with excessive smoothness. “My name is Patricia Price and I’m here to share my expertise in the subject of Stress and Anxiety Management.”
A round of applause unsettled me. Just what were these young students expecting? Would they be clapping by the end of the session? I gulped noisily. The show must go on!
“Now take it from me,” I continued. “You’re looking at someone who has not simply gained a degree in the subject, but has also personally endured this debilitating malady.”
I sounded good. Approving nods spurred me on. I was on a roll.
“Now I know that most of you are starting out in your chosen profession and have a lot to learn; so I would like to share with you - the SECRET of MY success.” I almost heard a drum roll!
“BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR ABILITIES! YOU - I pointed a finger - CAN DO ANYTHING YOU CHOOSE TO DO; BE ANYONE YOU WANT TO BE!”
WHAM! From no-where came the uninvited yet predictable, horrible churning in my guts. Someone pulled the plug on my adrenaline tank adding momentum to a wildly racing heart in a heaving chest. My endeavour to overcome was thwarted by the sheer magnitude of the effort involved.
As my voice escaped in short rasps I struggled on pathetically; until the final humiliation. My jittery bladder, which is normally well behaved, allowed a tea-cupful of its contents to escape and splash into a cute little puddle between my unsuspecting and beautifully manicured toes.
I abandoned the fight and promptly settled for flight. Breathless and giddy I skidded off the platform and declared a truly mortifying death to all hope of becoming a fully functional human being –ever again!
Two weeks later I was invited back; to repeat the scenario for a second group of people: “Are you serious?” I asked the administrator.
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Remember the last one?” I queried hesitantly.
“Certainly do. You did an outstanding performance of a full blown panic attack. The students learned far more by witnessing your act than listening to a dry lecture.”
“That was no act.” I squeaked pathetically. Apologising profusely, I scurried back inside my hidey hole, deep inside myself where dark imaginings multiply.
And there I remained for a very long time.
Some years later I returned to the College. Same hall, similar course requirements and another intake of fresh faced students.
“Hi there.” I began confidently. “Today I want to introduce you to a substitute approach to dealing with stress/anxiety related issues. Unlike contemporary therapies, this remedy has been around for centuries and has an exemplary track record in effectiveness.
When practised in humility and expectancy with diligence and commitment - it boasts a life-changing 100% success rate.”
“Wow!” Someone exclaimed. “Let’s go for it. Where’s the starting line?”
“Right inside here.” I gestured toward my grey matter. “Forget YOU; get out of your thoughts; GET OVER YOURSELF!” A short silence followed, until: “Then what Patricia?”
“Then get onto your knees and invite Almighty God to fill up those swept out spaces - with Himself!”
Only HE is infallible!
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