I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point I stepped into my calling as a speaker. My insecurities and tendency to compare myself negatively to others didn’t completely disappear; however, they lessened dramatically as my confidence grew.
I still deal with a few jitters as I stand to speak, but they don’t own me any more. I stand confident that God in me is bigger than my nervousness.
There are some simple steps for speakers to take to step out of insecurity and into confidence.
1. Depend wholly on God and His able-ness. As my friend Lisa Whittle says, “As modern day speakers and communicators, it is in recognizing where the power for the message comes from that we are able to stay pure of heart, having only holy confidence in our Lord rather than in our own abilities.”
2. Pray even more than you prepare. It’s in this time with God that correct perspective is gained and fresh messages are born in our hearts. When we enter an event with the full knowledge of ourselves as a handmaiden to our glorious God, having prioritized becoming a learner and praying for our audience, then confidence is the undeniable result.
3. Prepare too. Several years ago in a conversation with my brother, who is now a pastor, I was complaining about my inability to think fast on my feet. “I wish I could follow the Spirit more while I’m speaking,” I whined. His response was wise and instructive. “The Spirit can speak to you when you’re sitting at your desk preparing just as well as when you’re on a stage.”
Preparing for me means hours in prayer and Bible study before I start writing followed by more hours in front of a computer typing words and sentences that I hope communicate God’s message well.
Another way to prepare and build confidence is through training.
Last week I had another encounter with someone you’d never EVER imagine lacking confidence. She has lots of experience in front of people, and she’s esteemed in her field. Even with all the amazing-ness she has going on, this woman said she felt like throwing up last summer when it was her turn to speak to our group…
Last summer I got to meet Mandisa–who is lovely inside and out not to mention a vocal powerhouse–at She Speaks. This weekend, I went as a mega-fan to her concert in Durham, NC, and I got to talk to her for just a few minutes before the concert.
Here’s my point … every single one of us struggles with insecurity, but there are concrete steps to take toward confidence. A strong and authentic spiritual life is critical, but preparing and training have their place too.
Have you been praying about coming to She Speaks this summer? There’s still a spot for you, and I’d love to meet you in person!