I got a new book in the mail yesterday, one I ordered from Barnes & Noble. It’s called Voice Power: Using Your Voice to Captivate, Persuade, and Command Attention, by Renee Grant-Williams. Doesn’t that sound like a useful skill? I’m excited because it’s my textbook for the upcoming Barnes & Noble University course, Stand and Deliver: Speak With Confidence.
A friend asked if I’d take the course with her — we’re both feeling like God is calling us toward public speaking ministries of some sort, though we’re not sure what. The thought of delivering a speech makes me nervous, yet recently I’ve realized it’s the message, not the messenger that is important.
When my postwoman delivers my mail, I sometimes wave to her or say hello if she comes to my door. But I don’t think twice about how she speaks or what she wears. What I’m interested in is what she’s brought me (especially if it’s a package!). It’s the “message” in the envelope that matters to me, not who delivered it.
That’s how I want to view public speaking — if God has put a message on my heart, then why can’t I save time by saying it to a bunch of people all at once?
A week ago, I went to my hometown library and addressed a small group of mostly family and friends. They were a wonderful audience, since I knew most of them personally, and I didn’t feel like they were judging me too harshly. It was the first time I’d spoken like that since giving my testimony to my church family in Japan several years ago.
Prior to that, in college, I was used to standing up in front of hundreds of alumni and sorority sisters, since that was part of my job as Alumni Relations Liaison. I had to coordinate big events and introduce speakers at the head table. It was fun because everyone seemed happy at these kinds of things, including me.
But motherhood has taken a whack to my self-confidence. The struggles of maintaining my sanity amidst a busy, chaotic household have left me feeling like a failure the past few years. So, to get up in front of people and appear to have my act together makes me feel like a hypocrit!
The message I delivered last week was about writing, and I hope I encouraged those in attendance to write down their favorite stories. But this isn’t the main message that’s on my heart. So far, no doors have opened for me to speak or write on that message, but hopefully this Barnes & Noble class will help me move in that direction.
I can say it in my blog to those of you I can’t see — my life message is that we’re completely LOST without Jesus Christ lighting the way for us every day! As women, as moms, as people. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” is what we read in Romans 3:23. So, if you feel like a failure, like me, maybe God has allowed circumstances to humble you so that you’ll realize your need for Him.
I’ve often joked that if I had only one child, my oldest son, I’d be the snobbiest parent in the world. He was a good baby, rarely cried, and has been pure joy to raise. If we’d stopped with one, I would have looked at those awful parents of noisy, whiny children and thought, “What’s your problem?” But God blessed us with more — so now I can’t survive a single day on my own strength!
Without Christ, we have no purpose, no hope, no peace in our lives. I can think of a thousand different ways to say this message! If I can only find the chance. I think the older I get, the more bold I’ll become. This is really the only message that matters.
Here’s a quote that came to my in-box this morning:
Lord, I am no longer my own, but Yours.
Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will.
Let me be employed by You or laid aside for You, exalted for You or brought low by You.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am Yours.
So be it. Amen.