Nerve-wracking times fill our lives – public speaking, interviews, test-taking, first-time experiences. Nevertheless, I have found a few techniques to be useful in combating the stomach butterflies syndrome, particularly when I perform.
The first is calling Jesus’ name. When I invoke His name thrice, this gives a calming effect. A helpful reference describing other graces through Jesus’ name throughout history is The Wonders of the Holy Name by Fr. Paul O’ Sullivan.
The second method involves visualization. Imagine Jesus beside, or in the audience: He is watching, smiling. Actually, since Jesus is in the faces of our brothers and sisters and the Holy Spirit’s dwelling is the heart, God is present to guide and encourage (doing good and doing well). He is also the enabler – without Him, we would lack talents and other necessary gifts; humans would know nothing and be nothing.
Third, in prayer, every deed – every speech, song, work… – can be dedicated to God. Because He is the greatest Boss, the best can be offered to Him. The feeling of nervousness can be lifted up to Him as well. I heard in an Advent homily an anecdote about a lector who made unintentional errors in reading due to self-indulgence. The story was funny, but this reminded me to make efforts of humility and reliance on God.
If at an interview or competition, trust in the Lord’s will is important. Certainly, practice or preparation remains necessary. A Filipino adage says, “Do the best you can do, and God will do the rest for you.” Win or lose – everything happens for a reason and due to God’s will, which prevails. My mother prays fervently for me when I undergo tests/trials, particularly that I would be calm and later accept the outcome, whether acceptance or rejection. In these occasions, even if the result may not be quite favorable at the moment, the process is enjoyable, sometimes even involving humor. After the ordeal, I emerge smiling.
How has Jesus helped you in times of nervousness?