Often when I am waiting to speak at an event, I am sitting at a table with the person who is going to be introducing me. About the time the person needs to get up to introduce me or make announcements, they will turn to me and say…”I don’t know how you do it….get up in front of all those people.” They usually add, “I am so nervous.”
I love it when this happens because I get to share from real experience what I have learned and I would like to share with you what I have told others countless times. If you ever are at a place where your assignment is to get up in front of people…to make announcements, introduce or share your story for the first time or teach a lesson for the first time….realize that when you are in front of an audience and misspeak or are nervous or stammer or stumble..…it’s okay. Your mistakes are often what creates the connection between you and your audience. Being imperfect is really okay because everyone sitting and listening is imperfect as well.
Audiences can easily identify with your blunders as long as you can be honest and learn to laugh at yourself. I will never forget speaking at a women’s retreat this past year. I was in the middle of speaking and my brain went south. I completely drew a blank on my next thought. The women were sitting there looking at me intently with pens in hand waiting to write the next point and I went BLANK.
Drawing off the advice I have sought from mentors who have been speaking a lot longer than me, I just confessed to the audience…”I have drawn a blank…a blonde moment or a senior moment or both!” The audience started to laugh and so did I. As we were laughing I simply asked the question, “Where was I?” A kind lady spoke up and reminded me of what I had just said….Boom…my brain re-engaged and the lost thought was back….and I continued without another hitch! God is great!
Some people have a real fear of people, especially audiences. I am often asked if I get nervous before I speak. 99% of the time I don’t. For me it is kind of like studying for a test. If you have put in the time to prepare, there is almost an excitement about “having the pencil in your hand.” You anticipate the test! I also know that this is God’s plan for me so being obedient can be exciting for me. Ultimately I know God has the outcome. If I obey and allow Him to orchestrate my steps…it ultimately is not up to me…and HE never fails.
I often talk about growing and, to the best of my ability when I speak, I encourage others to seek to grow every day. Part of growing is stretching.
Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable!
I understand that everyone’s call and gifts may not include getting up in front of people or audiences but when you take steps to do something new…to step out of the norm for yourself–whatever your normal or routine is–it is a chance not just to grow personally, but to see God walk with you…take care of you…and, most importantly, see His Big ‘ole supernatural hand…protect, guide and teach you.
My life on the Back 9 has been so exciting. Stepping even when I am fearful. Every time I am obedient to do what God asks of me which, many times now, is a blind trust, meaning…I don’t have to see the end….or have all the answers way in advance.
It is daily walking behind a Holy God…who doesn’t at all expect perfection…He just expects obedience. Samuel talks about how important obedience is to God in I Samuel 15:22, “So Samuel said: ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.'”
I have found many times obedience means putting your foot in the water (the Red Sea) before the sea/water parts. I call it “Flow.” When I look back on the Israelites being led by Moses out of Egypt and they had Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit, it was be killed or step into the Sea. At that point I think I would have stepped into the sea. I have often thought of that account…realizing that they didn’t have much of a choice.
I encourage you to…take steps of faith today to grow. Don’t allow yourself to get to a place of choosing between two bad spots.
Part of living the life God designed for every single person is to live in a state of “flow,” a blind trust of God through obeying HIM completely and trusting HIM with the outcome. Often when our eyes remain on people and their responses, or the results or lack of it, we lose sight of obedience. Regarding our obedience…we have to understand we are to remain in the “flow” and it is there that the Holy Spirit flows in our lives in such a way that God’s plan is made perfect in our weakness. “We cannot lean on our own understanding” (see Proverbs 3:5-6).
Today seek God. Seek His plans for you day to day. Blindly obeying. Learn to laugh at the blunders and know that God uses those too. Our obedience is where God can “flow” our lives in directions that will seem effortless at times…because it is HIM and not us.
Psalm 18:30, “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”