I used to think they’d laugh at me. That somehow, the entire mass of people would simultaneously point their boney, outstretched fingers at me and yell, UNQUALIFIED! Then throw their heads back in roaring laughter as they bellied out torrents of reverberating shame. I saw them. The middle aged women with out-dated perms in lavender and periwinkle sweater ensembles. Though the faces blurred as I scanned the crowd… the sounds echoed through my heart. I created a canvas in my mind.
I explained this scene to my husband once. It was brief, but in that moment he looked at me with confused yet loving eyes and said, “What? That will never happen”. I was simply expressing at that time the depth of fear that I had for public speaking… I laid it all out there. I went on to tell him this story from a small group I had attended a few years ago:
They went around the circle, you were only supposed to say your name, where you were from and your expectations for the group. I mean, literally… I have had the same name my entire life, mind the last 10 years of marriage where I had my husband’s last name. Yet again, it seemed to slip… and where was I from? Do they mean where do I reside or do they want to know all of the places I have lived, maybe even my place of birth? I needed clarification on these introductions already and we were half way around the circle. I can’t even hear what the others are saying over the loud thumping of my heart that has risen up my throat and into my ears.
Oh… and expectations? Mine were so high. I mean making it out of this group alive was top priority. Being able to say my name without stuttering came in a close tie with not turning completely red when asked a question. These were the things running wildly through my mind as my friend to the left, eased right in to her whole life’s bio like slipping on a pair of her favorite jeans. Then, she stopped. I choked. Fumbled through nervous laughter mixed with words and a deep exhale as I passed it off to the neighbor on my right. I couldn’t tell you what the topic was that night… I can only tell you that I survived.
I’ve been quite comfortable in my self-titled Preacher’s Wife role for the past 10 years. I’ve attended and graduated from 2 Bible Colleges along side my husband, founded a ministry from the ground up with him, birthed 2 amazingly radiant children, traveled the nations and created a home. I have filled in any role as necessary; administrator, accountant, PR Rep, travel agent, ghost writer, editor, camera operator, intercessor, home-educator, altar worker, social media marketer, product design consultant, and the list goes on… I have never minded one “behind the scenes” moment. I am an introvert and that’s where we like to stay- it’s so cozy in my comfort zone.
Until one day, there came an awakening, a call from Heaven… “You have a voice- use it!” It happened quite suddenly and the conviction of God fell upon me. It was as if I was given a mandate and over night the boldness of Christ came upon me. Even if I was afraid, I had to do it scared. Mark Twain said it so lovely when he declared, “Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.” Had I mistakenly let pride get in the way and what simply appeared as a set-back was actually a set-up from God?
2 Timothy 1:7 in the Amplified declares, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].”
Today my sweet readers, I declare over you – YOU HAVE A VOICE! No more excuses, no more set-backs. No more wondering if you should take that step, cross that bridge or climb that mountain. You have been given every gift pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). You are equipped with the precise skill set needed to accomplish the God-Dreams inside you. Be Brave. Slay the dragon of defeat that would like to dominate your future and be FEARLESS!