conquering the fear of public speaking

27 11 2006

I’ve been asked to preach at church this Wednesday night, and that makes me nervous.  I’m not yet comfortable speaking in front of large groups.  I realize it’s due to insecurity, and knowing is half the battle, but the second half of the battle is still tough.  I’ve never had any speech training — somehow I made it through high school and college without taking Speech.  I also tend to struggle to get my thoughts expressed clearly and thoroughly when speaking in front of people, although that is mainly due to the nervousness.  (And so the nervousness contributes to more nervousness!)  I shouldn’t be nervous, though.  The focus should be on God and what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell people — not on me.  I’m not going up there to try to impress people with my oratory skills.  I just want to convey what God has placed on my heart, in an attempt to help other people in their Christian walk.

I want to conquer this fear of speaking in front of people, and I realize that the only way to completely beat it is to do it again and again.  So I will go ahead and speak, even if I feel nervous.  I will be victorious over this! I faced the same battle with playing the piano (which is ironic, because I was actually trained at playing and I am pretty good at it).  I used to get so nervous playing at church or even in front of just a few friends.  But by pressing through my fears, I conquered them.  Now I play at church every service, in front of a few hundred people, and I feel just as comfortable as I do in my living room at home.  I expect my progress in public speaking to be similar, except to go faster because of what I have learned.

It’s a tough road at times, but I will persevere, because I want to conquer my character flaws so I may be of better use in God’s ministry.  And God will help me through this.  He is exposing my weaknesses and teaching me how to approach this, and He will empower (anoint) me for this task.  If it wasn’t for God working in me, I wouldn’t even be attempting this, because it’s uncomfortable.

This reminds me of 2 Corinthians 12:9, where God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Then Paul said he will boast gladly of his weaknesses, so Christ’s power may rest in him.  I can relate to this now.  When my speaking ministers to people, I know it’s not by my skills or talents.  May God get all the glory!




3 responses

27 11 2006

In college my greatest fear was taking speach. But I quit college and joined the army. So no speach class. But in the years since I have had the opportunity to speak before several people at any one time and the two things i think you really need to speak or teach is a very good knowledge of your subject and really good notes. Later the notes may not be as important, but they will be for a while. I think you will do a great job !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

29 11 2006

I, too, do not like to speak in front of folks (ironically, most people do not enjoy it and get nervous, so you would think that we would all understand each other!), but I also leaned on God to overcome this. I still get nervous, but it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. Thank God!

And you’re “pretty good” at playing the piano? Whatever! We all know that there is hardly anyone as good as Beppo on the keys…

30 11 2006

I gave my sermon last night, and it went well. It was the most relaxed I have ever felt when speaking in front of a large group. I was still a little nervous, but it wasn’t crippling like it has been some times in the past. I was able to say most of what I planned to say, and I even improvised in a few areas. And my train of thought didn’t derail, as has happened in the past in similar situations.

There were several times in the days leading up to it that I would start getting really nervous, and so I would take some time to pray and worship, and that always helped me get the focus back on God instead of on my weaknesses. Now that I’ve had a good experience with speaking, I should be able to build on that next time and not have to fight against so many fears and insecurities.

Several people said they were ministered to by my sermon, so I give all the glory to God for it. I know it wasn’t by any oratory skills I have — it was the Holy Spirit speaking to them through me.

It feels good to have conquered my fear. It’s encouraging to see progress in growing my personality. I want to improve, and this is one of the biggest areas that needed work. I refuse to accept the notion that I have to always be shy and nervous; it is possible to change!

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