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Overcome fear—act in the living now
“Scary.” “Dangerous.” “Terrifying.” “Horrific.” Those were some of the answers given in a poll of five hundred Massachusetts residents about the first thing that came to mind regarding the coronavirus outbreak (The Boston Globe, March 30, 2020). Over the last few months, I’ve been striving for the right balance in getting enough news to keep informed while not allowing myself to get pulled into the vortex of fear regarding the pandemic’s global impact. Prayer to feel and know God’s governance of every detail of my life has always been my first response for resolving challenges. Prayer has helped me overcome fearful situations in many ways over the years, and I’m confident that each instance of conquering our own fear through prayer can contribute to neutralizing fear’s debilitating effects on our neighbors and the world.
While in college, I had an experience that shook my confidence, bringing my self-esteem to its lowest ebb. I was a music performance major and was trying to earn permission to give my senior recital by performing in a piano jury—a final exam in front of the entire piano faculty. During this exam, I uncharacteristically became frozen with fear. My body seemed to be out of my control—my fingers and arms weren’t able to move freely; I was playing wrong notes; and I struggled to remember the music that I had so carefully and completely memorized. Feeling totally helpless and unnerved, I tanked.
The whole intimidating experience made no sense to me, especially since during that same year I had already collaborated successfully with three different musician friends on their senior recitals. As a consequence of my failure to pass this jury, I was denied permission to give my own recital. I also failed at two subsequent attempts as the school year progressed, and as a result, I couldn’t graduate with my class.
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