It was the first time I had ever spoken in front of adult women. I was asked to speak, not because I had a powerful platform or a incredible message; I was actually a quiet and introspective young woman who was only asked because I was the new youth pastor’s wife (at least that’s how I viewed it). This was a way for the women of the church to get to know me and build relationship. All I had was some nuggets of encouragement based on a book I had recently read on prayer.
Yes, I loved to pray. I found myself at most prayer meetings. But I had never spoken out loud to a group of adults. I was bursting with thoughts but shaking in my knees. I remember standing in front of a room full of people who wanted to hear this young girl and what she could possibly have to say on prayer. I was sick to my stomach. No amount of “imagine them in their underwear” would cure this feeling. In that moment, it was my reputation at stake. My credibility as a person was on the line.
Once you are in that situation, there is no turning back. I was standing behind the podium. I opened my mouth and read my notes. Breathe. Remember the example. Breathe again. Find a couple kind eyes out there to reference and then just speak.
The truth is, it is hard to remove ourselves from the equation when we open our mouths. And why do we try? God weaves his message through our unique experience. The gospel becomes powerful as we speak it though our own poetry. Rhonda’s expression of encouragement comes through her own life experience and individuality. Yours does too. But that does not always facility bravery.
Bravery is willing your feet to move forward while fear resides.
And even if your voice falters, and you get it “wrong,” you’ve been courageous. You have the opportunity to learn and grow. Trust the process of sharing your words and art. A trembling voice that speaks still puts poetry into space.
Some of the best stage actors in the world still battle nerves before performing. Some of the best artists in the world still have false starts. Some of the best speakers get it wrong at times.
Grace, my friend. None have arrived. But our courage is a reflection of the power of God at work. You might be speaking the right words at the right time for someone else. So do it! Be Brave. This is your next step. Speak, even when your voice trembles.
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