As we continue our conversation about God-sized dreams, I asked my dear friend and fellow lover of words Keri to share some thoughts with us. I’m encouraged when I hear Keri’s wonderful words out loud on the award-winning radion station KLRC. So I’m thrilled to have them here in black-and-white for all of you to enjoy too!
It was the end of our 8th grade year and the counselors were explaining to us that in High School we were required to take one semester of either Speech or Drama. Both options made me want to lose my lunch.
I was the quiet, shy, awkward kid that did everything in my power to avoid the spotlight. Simply being called on in class to answer a question made me break into an instant cold sweat. And now, sitting in the cafeteria, I was just informed that I would have to spend an entire semester taking a class that would require me to stand up and speak out. Yikes!
I decided to take speech. Not because I wanted to, but because it was the lesser of two evils. But my best friend had other plans for us. She had heard a rumor that there was only 1 freshman drama class and she concluded that it was the only way to guarantee we would have one class together. So… I caved to peer pressure.
The following September I found myself standing on a stage with 20 teenagers and 1 teacher watching me. I was supposed to perform. I don’t remember what I was to perform. All I remember was the absolute terror that gripped my heart.
I remember telling my teacher I was afraid. His response? “Do it afraid!” He told me fear was good, it would heighten my senses and give me a rush of adrenalin that would help my performance.
I promise you it didn’t help. It was awful!!! The only consolation was that I made it to the ladies room before losing my lunch.
But over the weeks something strange began to happen. I started looking forward to my drama class. I even started feeling excited when it was my turn to perform. Don’t get me wrong, I was still scared every time I faced the stairs leading to the stage, but I was learning to manage my fears.
I wound up taking four full years of drama. I joined the competitive drama squad and traveled all over the state competing and winning awards, thank you very much. I loved it!
I still love the stage. In fact, I get paid to be on stage, well… it’s actually a studio, not a stage. But there is a microphone, and there are people watching (listening). Friends ask me how I can do it. They ask if it’s scary to be on the radio every day. Our friend Holley hyperventilates every time I ask her to join me on air! But for me, honestly, it’s not scary. Not now. Because I pushed past the fear. I learned to overcome my anxiety.
Here’s the problem with following Jesus. Every time I find myself relaxing… I find myself stirred. Every time I think I’ve arrived… I realize that I have further to go. You see, God won’t let me quit dreaming. And the dreams just get bigger and scarier. To tell you the truth, it makes me want to run for the hills!
But I can’t. The pull to be with Him is just too strong. And over and over I hear Him whispering… Do it afraid! Push past the fear! Overcome the anxiety! I’m here. I’ll hold your hand. I will catch you if you fall.
I want to settle in and rest here, in this place of comfort. I want to be content. But God isn’t calling us to settle, He’s calling us to follow.
Follow Him into unchartered territory.
Follow Him into new relationships.
Follow Him in taking risks and chasing dreams.
And He’s calling us to Do It Afraid!
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