“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” I Peter 4:11
This verse alone is the reason why I get nervous right before public speaking. By nature, I am an extroverted person and so public speaking tends to come easy. In fact, if truth be told, I actually have a harder time keeping quiet. (Most of my friends are probably bobbing their heads up and down in agreement right now while reading this). Talking about something I know well does not really bother me and I love finding out what others know about the subject. But, when it comes to the subject of God, things are quite different.
I love to have open discussion about everything God-related and used to get extremely nervous when I was the only one doing the speaking. It has nothing to do with lack of preparation or not knowing my subject but the plain and simple fact that I am representing Him. I spend hours practicing and studying the subject but when the day finally arrives I feel a lot like Moses must have felt when God told him to speak to Pharaoh.
Some of this fear or lack of confidence has to do with the misguided information fed to me through the churches I grew up in. Some has to do with sisters who constantly felt the need to correct me every chance they got, including when it came to my belief in God. Although this may deter others from speaking it has actually given me a major drive to do better, even to the extent of desiring feedback and criticism in order to improve.
The only way, I have found, to accomplish this is with prayer. If you were to see me before speaking you would probably see a person deep in thought but I am actually having my usual conversation with God, asking Him to speak through me because it is impossible for me to do without Him.
One night I happen to switch on the TV show, The Voice, when one of the coaches spoke to his challengers about putting their heart into the song. The challengers were nervous about each other because they knew the abilities they contained within them. The coach addressed these nerves by telling them they needed to utilize their own abilities by putting their own emotions in the song, personally connect with the words.
Listening to him say that made me think of how God gets me to speak on His behalf, by making it personal and speaking through my heart. When He does this I feel blessed to be a part of the experience and am grateful to give Him all the glory for it. And even though I still get nervous each and every time, excitement also flows through me with great anticipation about the next possible moment that He calls me to do so because it means I get to introduce Him to others.
Throughout history, God has called people to do things, for Him, out of their weaknesses. I am proud to sign up any and every time He asks. What are you weak at that God came make personal by using your heart?