Counting Down The Moments

My knees were knocking. I nervously rehearsed my lines over and over. My brain was obsessing over the uncontrollable. “What if I freeze?” I asked my friends, looking for validation. They all shrugged me off with a “you’ll-do-fine” kind of attitude. They must have been tired of hearing me rehearse.

Then a voice rang out, “It’s time to go!” I thought I had already worried about everything, but then another fear occurred to me—“Where do I look?!” Do I look at each person in the audience? Do I look past them? My mind raced. Then a wise voice said, “Just look at the clock on the back wall—look past the audience.” A wave of comfort washed over me.

“All these physical, emotional, and mental signs direct my attention to the fact that, on the stage or off, I need a Savior.”

I walked out across the deep red carpet, took my spot, and quickly found the clock on the back wall. The words flowed from my lips just as I rehearsed, and within seconds it was over. The words must have not only flowed but also flown, because my Sunday school teacher said I did a good job, but to “just slow it down a little next time.” I took that mental note as a sigh of relief leaked out of my chest like a balloon losing its air.

Setting The Stage

I was five years old the first time I spoke in front of an audience. It was in my small neighborhood church. Thank God they were a grace-filled people who encouraged me with their “amens” and fortified me with their applause. I was one of maybe three angels in a play about baby Jesus. You’ve probably seen a few of those plays yourself. It was that frightful/inspiring moment that set the stage, if you will, for the rest of my speaking career.

I’m thankful for the trepidation in performing. The knocking knees, pounding heart and desire to do great points to something—or better yet, Someone—greater than me. All these physical, emotional, and mental signs direct my attention to the fact that, on the stage or off, I need a Savior. I need Someone to come on that stage with me, help me with words, color my perceptions, and carry me when I lack confidence.

“I believe our gifts are a daily creative display of God’s outpouring love. God who called us into being also nurtures His creation.”

When I hear of people’s nerves running wild before a performance, I think it’s God’s way of saying, “Don’t forget, you need me. And I’m with you.” The success of every performance hinges on my current relationship with God. I may doubt if I’ll remember my lines, but I cannot doubt that to be whole, I wholly need Jesus.

Drawn By God

Why would I participate in something so frightening? Simple. I am drawn to speaking like an uncontrollable magnetic force. I love words. I love to communicate well. I love people. I love all of them, not because I decided to, but because God placed a passion in me for these things. A dancer is drawn to movement, a painter is drawn to colors, and a filmmaker is drawn to story. I, a, spoken word artist, am drawn to words and speaking. But God gives the gift. He provides both the candle and the match.

Like a child is most comfortable in the orbit of its parents, we belong in the gravitational field
of our heavenly Father. I believe our gifts are a daily creative display of God’s outpouring love. God who called us into being also nurtures His creation.

I’m curious. What was your first performance like? Do you feel more drawn to God or farther away when you perform, and why?

Author: Ranika