Did you know many (if not most) people fear public speaking more than they fear death? More than they fear spiders? NO WAY. But it’s true, according to this very interesting fact sheet. It seems the root of this fear is related to self-presentation and can begin manifesting as shyness in childhood.
I’ve never considered myself afraid of public speaking. I’d much rather face a packed stadium than one lone, crazy-fast, skittering, deadly spider. (Aren’t they all deadly??) I can stand in front of a group and give a presentation if necessary, but I am absolutely terrified to dwell on how the audience received me. This goes back to my last post on grace and doing everything perfectly. I have a big fear of not being good enough.
Phew! I won’t ask how you received that… The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with my spirit. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with my spirit.
Now that it’s out there, it’s time to deal with it. Time to face my fear. It’s time to book a speaking engagement. Enter hyperventilation and numbness in the tongue. And enter today’s confession from 2 Corinthians 12:9.
His grace is all I need.
Paul is describing his plea with God to remove the thorn in his side in this section of 2 Corinthians. We never find out what that thorn is, but we don’t need to. God’s answer made it irrelevant. “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
I like the way Paul thinks. He can boast about HIS weaknesses because that’s not his focus. The success he’s gained is fully credited to God. But there’s more to the story.
Paul didn’t rest in his weaknesses. He didn’t hide in a dark corner and cry that the thorn in his side made life and ministry too difficult, too taxing, or too overwhelming. He took action in spite of his hardship and God gave him grace. It reminds me of James 2:26. “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” I say I have faith, but is my faith strong enough to push past my fear of being found lacking?
It’s time to find out, fellow ‘fraidy cats. Before I can book a speaking engagement, I have to prepare. Even that takes faith – and heaps of grace – because my brain tends to freeze when I think about what to say. Still, I will step out in faith and prepare my topic. The next step is to call local organizations and ask about their speakers.
My heart is pounding so hard I think I’m going to pass out. But isn’t this what it’s all about? Doing the things I’m afraid of to show that God’s grace is bigger than my fear? Fear will no longer be the most powerful force. His grace is all I need.
What is your biggest fear?