Speaking publicly for a living is a challenge, and I can honestly say I didn’t anticipate doing this when I was younger. I’m an introvert by nature and the pressure and stress of standing in front of groups and crowds of people can take a lot out of me.
One of the benefits of being an introvert in this field is that it really pushes me to rely on Jesus more and more as I stretch myself to do things that aren’t necessarily in my comfort zone.
As stretching as it might be, my wife and I do find incredible fulfillment being used by God in this way. God has made public speaking a strength, and the best expressions of God’s involvement and provision are found in those who couldn’t or wouldn’t do what they are doing without Him. I have seen God’s hand change, shift and mold me and my gifts to be suited for this purpose.
He has grown in Melissa and I a passion for sharing His truth for marriages, families and direct relationship with God.
Part of the beauty for us is that we have to rely on Him in the moments that we speak as well as in the times of preparation. I know, everyone should be relying on God all of the time, especially when they are representing Him and teaching about Him, but I find that it can be easy to forget about God when it’s a task that takes very little effort and comes too naturally.
Think about professional basketball players for example. They are gifted and talented and if they see a need to improve they know that good coaches and practice can get them there. For all intents and purposes the involvement of God in their practicing could be easily dismissed or even considered out of place.
For us, every word has eternal implications. We share truths and principals that could and hopefully will, change relationships for the better. More importantly we communicate scriptural principles into the lives of those who hear us, things that we believe will change their lives and even help determine where they spend eternity, truths that have changed our own lives in exactly this way. Their satisfaction in every day life could be impacted by a simple phrase or illustration that we share.
We take this responsibility VERY seriously, with “fear and trembling.” (Phil. 4:12)
I’ve recently considered Moses’ example as he was chosen but wanted nothing to do with the stress and pressure of doing what God was asking Him to do.
We may not be arguing with God or be telling Him that we don’t want to do what we do, but I see a correlation between the level of importance and outright need to rely on God for every word and opportunity. Interestingly, Moses had the gifts, history and abilities required to do what God was asking of Him, and so do we.
Before we accepted our roles, we had been praying for an opportunity to live in faith, one where we stepped out and needed to rely on God, incorporating Him into every moment of our day. Being missionaries (raising money through donations for our salary) we thought that the element of faith that we would be growing in and applying to our daily lives was a financial one, and it is/was.
But it wasn’t just that, it’s in every moment and opportunity for speaking and sharing. Melissa and I, whether we are speaking individually or together, spend time asking for God’s intervention and involvement, for our words to be His and for His Spirit to work through us beyond our human words and practiced skills.
No matter how much practice we get or how much confidence we gain, I don’t want this degree of reliance on God to ever go away, and I pray that you find the same reliance in your own relationship and daily life with Jesus.
Relationship and reliance on the Holy Spirit is exhilarating, scary and deeply fulfilling; it brings purpose into our lives we could never have otherwise.
It’s worth it, and frankly it’s how Jesus lived and how He tells us to live too.