Thursday, August 30, 2012
Facing My Biggest Fear--Public Speaking
When I was growing up, I feared public speaking. Understatement. For most of my life, my voice would shake when I spoke in front of a group of any size. In high school and college, I had to take speech class and I barely made it out alive. At church, I could teach small groups of jr. high girls or younger, and that was my limit. Don’t ask me to teach boys, high-school students, and certainly not adults—not.in.this.lifetime.
In college, I wanted to study English or History because I loved those subjects. But, I knew those two majors would only prepare me to be a teacher. Teaching was not a career option for me, because that would require speaking in front of people! Why would I subject myself to that torture? So, I majored in Psychology.
God had other plans for me. After moving to northern California, I couldn’t find a job. I worked temporary, meaningless jobs. I wondered, “God, is this all you have for me to do? What is my purpose?” Several months later, out of the blue, I was offered a job teaching in a Christian school. My current job was so miserable, so dreary, and so boring, that I thought teaching couldn’t be any worse than what I was doing! I would give it a try.
The big day arrived. With great anxiety, I went to pick up my class. They were quietly lined up in our before-school day care room. Those 5th graders looked like angry, mischievous miniature giants (if there is such a thing)! I was terrified! I led them upstairs to our classroom and introduced myself. I was doing my best “fake-out”--trying to act strong and confident. Little did they know I wanted to throw up! About that time my husband came to my classroom. I stepped out into the hallway, and he said, “Listen. No matter what, don’t ever let them see you cry. Be strong—you can do this!” I still laugh at his advice to this day, but I took it. No tears! I stiffened my spine, put a smile on my face, and strutted back into the room. I opened my mouth to teach, and surprisingly, I didn’t die.
In total, I spent 14 "no tears" teaching years in Christian schools. True to my passion, I ended up teaching English, History, and Bible to jr. high and high school. But I had to face my fear. You see, God calls us to do things that are beyond our natural abilities. He wants to get the glory. Don’t be surprised if God asks you to do the thing that scares you the most.
Speaking at my church--Still a challenge, but I know God is with me!