Fraidy Hole

“Would you like to try it again?  The judges said they would allow you to.”

“No,” I replied.

I was humiliated.  Moreover, I was afraid of making a fool of myself again.

I had practiced and practiced and practiced my oratory piece for the regional declam competition in high school.  I had it downpat, completely memorized.  All 500-plus words delivered in less than five minutes.  We weren’t allowed to use the script at all.  It had to be perfect.  Competition at the local level was easy.  No one else wanted to take on the task of memorizing a piece that long.  But the regional level?  I had stiff competition.

When my name was called, I went to the front of the room and took my place with confidence.  I had this!  Without a doubt in my mind as to my ability, I dove right in, stating the title of my piece and the name of the author.  And then …

… complete silence.

I froze.  It was erased from my mind.  All those hours spent in front of the mirror, enunciating, tweaking my delivery, building my confidence, and … nothing.  My instructor escorted me to another room, consoling me along the way.

Just when it mattered the most, I failed.  I wasn’t about to purposely put myself in front of the judges and others in the competition and replay the hideous performance.

We’ve all had those moments when we would like to crawl into a hole in the ground like my grandmother’s storm cellar in her back yard she called the fraidy hole, haven’t we?

I have no doubt those types of incidents are orchestrated by the enemy himself, and he sits back and laughs and chides us as we want to disappear into the woodwork.  These events devour our esteem and gnaw at our self-confidence, filling our nostrils with the smell of sulfur, which identifies their origin:  “You — you! — are such a loser.” “You’re a believer? But what a failure!” “You’ll never be good enough!” Echoes of the hissed words hang in the air.

The fraidy hole.  It’s damp, dark, musty-smelling.  If I stay there long enough, though, I grow used to the environment.  My eyes adjust to the darkness. The dank odor permeates my clothing, but soon enough I no longer smell it.  This is where I belong, I agree.  And so I stay.

The Bible tells us, in Numbers 13-14, that the Israelites were being led out of the wilderness and into the land God had promised them, the land “flowing with milk and honey,” but they were afraid.  Despite the fact that God had time and again provided for, protected, and shown them one miracle after another, the Israelites remained afraid because there were “giants” in this new land.  But Joshua and Caleb remembered God’s presence and were ready to lay hold of the gift He had placed before them.

Then Caleb … said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”  Numbers 13:30

Are you hiding in a fraidy hole?  What keeps you there?  Is it fear of failure? Fear of the unknown? Fear of others?  Fear that God won’t be with you? Or is it the “strokes” you receive from others as you cave to victimhood?

It took me many years before I realized why Satan attacked my speaking ability:  He was afraid of my influence.  He knew if he could convince me that I was a failure, I wouldn’t speak out and speak up.  He knew that I would be a voice of encouragement to others, and he trembled at the thought of me.  That’s right — he was the one who was afraid of me!

Whatever the gripping fear is, Satan will use it to entomb you.  His mission is to leave you defeated, powerless.  He wants you to believe your fears are giants you cannot overcome and that you have no choice in the matter.

Oh, but you do!  As surely as Jesus called Lazarus forth from his musty, dark grave, He beckons you forth. The promised land that you believe is meant only for others is yours to claim.  The cross of Christ conquers fear!  Jesus has given you the word and authority to take possession of it.  Be encouraged, friend:  If God has called you to it, He will lead you through it!

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.  Deuteronomy 3:22

img_9181-1Pam Freitag Weyant traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South.  Her best friends are her steno machine (she works as a freelance court reporter), her aged but adorable cocker spaniel Jake, and books.  She is grateful for time spent traveling, writing creative nonfiction, and working out.  Her goal is to share her story with others so they may also find freedom in a redemptive Savior.  Read more of Pam’s Breath on Paper bio here. 

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