When You No Longer Have Time to Get Nervous

Something I love about this fresh season of work and opportunity involves being just busy enough that I don’t have time to overthink or get nervous about certain events. Radio interviews, giving talks over Zoom, teaching, and joining various social media events has become part of the schedule of the day. I like it! It’s just work! I don’t have time to worry so much about them like I used to.

The downside is I don’t feel that same desperate dependence on God like I once did as I would cry on my knees in hotel rooms and beg God to just get me through the next speaking event. I was so afraid of what people would think. It mattered so much to be somebody great. Now? The feeling beforehand is more like thanksgiving, like enjoying the blessing of it, like I’m just out here spreading joy, and like just asking God to empower and anoint and bless the listener. It’s a confidence that God is with me and always here. It’s a humbling, quiet kind of moment with God.

I remember back to that first NPR “This I Believe” radio interview where I felt nervous for days and days. I carefully picked out my outfit (even though nobody would see me on the radio). It was such a big deal. I was so nervous. I felt so important.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Praise God you get used to your calling. It’s not a snare when you get attention; it doesn’t feel special in a way that will become an idol. It takes time, but after 10 years, you learn. You gain confidence. You know who you are and you aren’t worried so much what people think about you. You develop a consistent message, and you know what to say on the spot. After 10 years, you know how to write a talk, walk onto a stage, handle a microphone, and manage an interview.

Sometimes, you just need experience. You have to feel the adrenalin that makes you sick and know how to reframe it as a blessing of focus and clarity. Every time you do something that terrifies you, the same thing will become easier. So hang in there! Keep doing the thing that makes you nervous! One day, it won’t feel so terrifying, and you’ll learn to love it and see it as the work of the day.

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