Nothing can send hailstorms of ice cold fear rampaging across the landscape of my soul like being asked to speak in public!
(Yep, that’s my thing.)
Think of that thing you hate doing more than anything else. Now multiply it times ten and you have an approximate idea of how I feel about public speaking.
It’s my absolute worst thing.
If the choice is speaking in public or hot coals… bring on the coals!
I once signed up for a speech class in junior college thinking I would conquer this fear.
I lasted one day—one.
All I had to do was get up in front of the class and give my name and a little information about myself. (You’d have thought it was the Gettysburg Address the way I was shaking and quaking on the inside!)
When I was on staff with a large church, I wiggled and squirmed for months, trying to get out of the first time I had to do my own program presentation in front of the whole church.
I can still see myself, standing in that darkened doorway stage right, waiting to walk out into those bright floodlights. I was so terrified, every single “prepared” word evaporated from my brain. I remember sending up this panicky prayer that went something like, “God, please! If you don’t put some words in my mouth right now, this is going to get real ugly, real quick!”
To this day, I have no idea what I said. All I know is that later in one of the back rooms of the church, people kept coming up to me, thanking me profusely for all my wonderful encouragement. I stood there smiling politely, repeating over and over in my heart, “Thank you God. Oh, thank you God. It was only You.”
And so now you’re probably thinking, “And God called you to be a WRITER? Really?”
Yep, isn’t it hilarious?
(I think so too, since the idea of public speaking still turns my legs to spongy gelatin, and my mouth to dust.)
Why does God do this?
It’s completely crazy, but He always has, and still does.
Abraham, Moses, Jonah, Gideon, David… just to name a few. (All men after my own heart.) People with huge flaws and failures, but all God-called and God-commissioned. Men God used mightily in spite of their brokenness and weakness—if not because of it.
This is not the way the world does it.
Nope. No way. No how.
The world goes for the strong and outwardly shiny, while God chooses broken men—the storm-driven weak ones.
He seems to specialize, in frail human beings with a myriad of flaws and failings—just like us.
Storms make muscle.
(It’s as simple as that.)
I want you strong! I want you confident!
How will you become strong and confident if you never go through storms?
You know Me by now, you know, nothing, nothing, touches you by chance. (Not My child!) But, because you are My child, I decide what is best for your training and development.
This part, the suffering, is for training; deepening your character. Before you can dress another’s wounds, you must feel the knife yourself. (You know this.) You cannot touch, you cannot heal broken hearts, with a heart that’s never been broken! Too, many of My children have tried, and failed.
I AM weary of these would-be-healers.
Away, with physicians of no use!
Come, let us be reasonable.
I AM building in you, compassion, understanding and caring.
(You know I AM.)
You also know by now, that these precious qualities are only purchased at great cost.
Why are they so rare?
(You know why.)
Because suffering, especially unjust suffering, is hard to bear.
But dearest, did I not tell you that the greater your suffering, the greater your reward?
Honey, it is the broken-hearted-vessel that holds the most!
These are not just clever words to soothe your pain.
This is the stuff—the place—where true healing begins.
“…for he will never fail you.” 1 Peter 4:19