Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Public Speaking

Today I volunteered to be a judge at a local Christian school for their annual speech meet. Since public speaking was always such a hard thing for me when I was in elementary school, I could feel the nerves and the tension of the children as they anticipated their turn to get up in front of the microphone and deliver their speech. I wanted to somehow convey to them that their nerves were unfounded as I was not a mean, old, nasty person that was going to condemn their every flaw. However, instead of being able to put my arms around them and comfort them, I had to sit and allow them to deal with their own nerves in their own way. My motherly instinct wanted to protect them from their awful inner turmoil, and yet I knew that allowing them to get through it, whether good or bad, would further their ability to accomplish greater things in the long run. Two to four students did an excellent job, as if they were natural-born orators. Most were good to very good, stumbling here or there, and mastered their speech with grace and relief. My heart ached for one little girl who got through half of her speech very well, but she came to a spot where her mind went totally blank and could not continue. Bursting in tears, she had to take her seat. One little boy could not even get on stage and literally got physically sick and had to leave the room. The teachers were such comforters to the last two-mentioned students understanding that public speaking was not their forte. I know by next year their self-confidence and courage will be bolstered and encouraged by their teachers.

How are we similar to these little children when God asks us to perform a task that we feel totally unable to accomplish? The fears build up inside and we inwardly balk against God's will for us and want to tell God, "I can't, Lord." But God says, we can. "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might." God never gives us tasks that He does not give us the means to accomplish those tasks. If we need courage, He'll give us courage. If we need our hearts calmed, He'll give us His peace. If we need means, He'll provide for us. All He wants from us is to say, "Yes, Lord, with Your help, I will." Obedience to His commands is greater to Him than our weaknesses. If we are weak, He is strong. We just need to put aside our fears, and allow God to prove Himself faithful!

Our confidence lies in the ability of our Almighty God to work through us!


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