Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Speaking Apprehension

Oh, she was going to throw up, right here, right now. Possibly in that plant over there. Perhaps it would function as a type of fertilizer.

Or not.

Her hazel eyes, for which she was named, darted back and forth in the huge, curtained off-area of the stage. Why did it appear like everyone else was fine? They weren't nervous, terrified, or queasy. No one else was experiencing this strange twitching in their right eye. No one else was bent at a slightly odd angle to hold their churning stomach. No one else was shifty back and forth, clearly contemplating how much more embarrassing it might be to hop from the stage and run away.

Assuming one didn't break their ankle doing this.

"Oh, God, I can't do this."

The chair where Hazel was supposed to sit on stage sat empty. A single, golden spotlight shone on it. It was her turn.

People were looking at her, and someone pushed on her back. Her feet remained firmly rooted in place. She looked down at the verse she was supposed to read from Isaiah forty-one, verse ten.

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

She found the words oddly comforting. Yes, they were soothing to her soul. More then just words, but more like a motto by which to live.

But did she dare read them to an auditorium full of people?

Hello everyone! I hope you've had a good month of March thus far.  :)

So, do you have a worst fear? Is it heights? Is it public speaking? Is it spiders, snakes, or the number thirteen? Perhaps your worst fear is that one day, all the coffee bean plants will die, and that the world will run out of coffee.

That would be truly tragic... *Shudder*  I think I've just added a new fear to my list.

Well, one of my fears is speaking in public. It's certainly under snakes, spiders, and the evil tramway, but well above things like the boogieman or being peed on by my future children.

I still remember the first time I spoke in public. While I had been singing on the worship team at church for years, I came to find out that speaking was an entirely different story.

I had to give my first speech for my required   trust me, I tried to get out of it   speech class.

I got up there, all prepared to talk. I had my lines memorized. The words were on the tip of my tongue, I knew to look around the room, make eye contact, and move around a little. I knew all this stuff.

But I would place my hand on Abraham's thigh and swear to you that all those things flew out of my mind when I stood at the front of the room with ALL EYES ON ME.

I shifted back and forth like I was bouncing to a rap song, and to make matters worse, my right eye started to malfunction. It would not stop twitching!

That dreadful day still haunts me. While I've certainly gotten better, and I can speak before a group of youth group kids pretty effortlessly now, speaking in a room of adults is still a little difficult for me.

Ever since then, I've avoided any unnecessary public speaking. God apparently decided that was a silly plan, because I've never been able to escape it.

Speaking of God...  ;)

"I open my mouth and pant, because I long for you commandments." Psalm 119:131

My church started a new Bible study a few months ago. As a youth leader and the daughter-in-law to the pastors', I figured it was kind of important I be there. While it's not always easy fitting in that time every week that I was spending on writing, blogging, connecting with the youth group kids, or being insanely lazy with my husband, I knew it was important that I be there.

Anyways, at this Bible study it's common for us to read the verses that go along with the lesson. Out loud. To the group.

Something I detest.

Seriously. I can't even believe I'm saying that, but it's true. While I like to fool myself into thinking it's because I know this stuff already, I know it's really because I hate looking like a fool. Every time I open my mouth I have flashbacks to the first time I spoke in public in high school and my right eye started twitching like I was having some kind of spaz attack.

I came across this verse in my personal Bible reading last week.

"I open my mouth and pant, because I long for you commandments." Psalm 119:131

I remember thinking, "That's a cool verse." I underlined it, but didn't give it much more thought.

Little did I know God was placing a wedge, and unfortunately, it was not a pair of cute shoes.

One night we were doing our normal thing. I had to suffer through reading a verse. People were talking and asking questions about the lesson. My pastor shared with the group about how much he loved to read his Bible.

While I certainly love God and love reading the Word, it's easy to fall into the habit of reading your Bible because you "have to read your Bible." God shows me new stuff in His Word all the time, and I love finding new spiritual trinkets to treasure and hold in my heart, but sometimes the duty to read my Bible takes precedence over the love.

There was a gentle tap of a hammer on the wedge, preparing for the forthcoming hard hit.

Suddenly, the hand of a young man from the youth group shot up. He said, "It's my turn to read a verse!"

And then the hammer smacked into the wedge, shedding light on my erring ways.

This kid wanted to read the Bible out loud.


What was wrong with him?

What was wrong with me?

Oh, dear.

I know this seems like a silly thing, but it struck me. All I could think about was that verse I had found. Why wasn't I longing to read like him?

"I open my mouth and pant, because I long for you commandments." Psalm 119:131

I will tell you the truth: I still don't like reading out loud, but I did learn a lesson. It caused me to stop and revaluate how I read my Bible. It reminded me to slow down, and make sure I'm reading my Bible for the right reasons. It's not about meeting my Christian "deadline." It's not about reading the verse really fast so I can just be done. It's not about my public speaking phobia. It's about God. It's about what He shows me. It's because I genuinely love reading His word. I love finding new things in my Bible, and that's what I need to hold onto every time I read my Bible.

My Bible is a love letter from the Lover of my Soul. There's no chance I'm ever letting that go.

Blessings to you guys this coming week! I will see you again on March 20th!  :)

V. Joy Palmer

No comments:

Post a Comment