“Visualize yourself on stage, go through the whole routine without making a mistake and when it’s time to perform, it will be just as you pictured.” (Advice from my wise Father when I was a child.)
A few months ago…
My pastor’s wife reached out to me and asked if I would be on her Women’s Ministry team as the Prayer Coordinator. Now initially, this had me feeling all kinds of happy, because I have desired to be more involved at our awesome church, but also I just love this amazing woman and to think she wanted me on her team had me over the moon excited!
That was until the mention of a video introduction of myself. Me in front of a camera; there wasn’t anything more terrifying to me! Everything I had looked forward to came to a crashing halt. My mind was spinning and I was reprimanding myself on how terrible it would be if I agreed to this.
Why I am so fearful of public speaking? Let me start by informing you that I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communications. I.e. I stood up for four treacherous years in front of my peers, speaking about everything from abortion to selling a flashlight! Seriously, pure torture for someone like myself.
That advice my dad had given me as a child vanished in this environment and I only envisioned myself failing when standing at the front of a room. Every single time I spoke, my knees shook, my voice quivered and I never recalled a single word that I had spoken to the classroom of students. Graduation day couldn’t come soon enough!
Today, I am a mom and up until now, I felt a sweet sigh of relief that I would never have to endure this type of nervousness ever again.
So I did what I always do when I want to run away, I call my mom and convince her that I can just say no to this possible public humiliation because it’s not something I HAVE to do! She is always on my side and agreed that if I was too uncomfortable not to put myself through the stress. Ahhh… there’s that sweet sigh of relief again.
But when I hung up the phone, I heard a whisper, that small inner voice speaking to me. At first I tried desperately to busy myself and hush the voice within, but eventually I heard loud and clear, ‘you have do this.”
I surrendered and agreed to shoot the video. I prayed vigorously leading up to that day. I knew that if I saw myself the way I had in the past, I would crawl further into my safe haven where I would never have to do anything out of my comfort zone again.
On the day of this simple filming endeavor, I had both of my children with me, which made me slightly more nervous than I already had been! What would they think of me after seeing me like this?
The three-minute interview came and went. Tami hugged me in the parking lot knowing how worried I was about all of this. She reassured me that I did well and that I was the only person who recorded this all on the first take. It felt good hearing her sweet words, but it didn’t stop the doubt and worry I had over what had just been recorded. I was sure I looked incredibly uncomfortable and I dreaded seeing myself on the big screen the following week.
The night it would be shown to the women at our church had arrived. Part of me wanted to play hooky and just stay home, never having to witness myself on the screen. I knew that wouldn’t be right so of course I went.
I sat in the parking lot before walking into the church and simply asked God, “Please Lord, let me see myself through your eyes, Amen.”
I took a seat in the back of the apex, near a couple of women I had never met. I looked up at the large projector screen and started to feel my nerves creep in. When the video began, I watched the other beautiful team member’s introductions and anxiously waited for mine to begin. I started questioning what everyone in the room would think of me? I was sure they would all see my insecurities displayed on the screen.
There I was, slouched down in my chair hoping that no one would recognize me when my 3 minutes began. As my interview started though, I sat up a little straighter. I even had tears in my eyes, but I didn’t care. The person I was watching I hardly recognized. I hadn’t stuttered like I thought I had and I was a little nervous sounding, but surprisingly, confident. This small account of bravery allowed me to let go of some of the past hate I had put upon myself realizing in that moment that THIS is how God sees me!
Friends what if this year, we make 2017 the year we see ourselves through God’s eyes? Can you imagine the sweet possibilities? It is how we see ourselves that will either encourage us to reach our full potential or deter us to the point that we throw in the towel on the passion that drives us.
Lets dismiss our past embarrassments, missteps or otherwise, and focus on the present time in our lives. We were made for so very much in this life. His plan is a perfect one, so we don’t have to be.
“Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5