As soon as the host began his introduction, a chill ran down my spine. It was my turn to take the platform—the moment I’d prayed could somehow be avoided.
Nervously, I got up out of my seat. My knees felt like overcooked spaghetti noodles—limp and mushy. Trying to find at least an ounce of confidence, I walked toward front of the room filled with people waiting to hear what God had laid on my heart. A sweat broke out on my brow and my chest began to pound…I couldn’t catch my breath. Dropping my notes on the way up the steps, I leaned over to pick them up and nearly passed out.
Fear paralyzed me—fear of being in front of a group of people, fear of every eye in the room on me, fear of being judged, fear of making a mistake, fear of people laughing at me, fear of stumbling over my words, fear of failing to accomplish the task, fear of the sound of my own voice. Fear literally choked me and robbed me of the opportunity to speak freely from my heart.
Years have come and gone. Still, fear looms and lurks around corners waiting to trap me, but I’m wise to that the enemy’s devices. In an effort to defy old man fear, I have purposely allowed myself to be put in situations where I had to speak, not only in front of a few, but in front of thousands.
When I came across 2 Corinthians 10:1, I understood all too well what Paul was saying. “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you-I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” when away!”
Although it is, and always has been, much easier for me to communicate through writing, I refuse to let the enemy intimidate me with fear when it comes to speaking. As with Paul, sometimes I may appear “timid” when speaking face-to-face, now it is the gentleness and mercy of Christ speaking through me, not fearful timidity. My growing confidence and “boldness” to speak openly is based on the authority I have as a believer communicating the Word of God.
Do I still struggle with fear while standing before a crowd? Only if I take my eyes off Christ and put them on the circumstance. I continually remind myself that whether I’m speaking to one or thousands, if my eyes are on Christ and I am acting as His spokesperson, I have nothing to fear.
The life of Paul continues to amaze me as I study. He’s such a “normal” man with real issues that were overcome as Christ in him become more and he became less. I’d be willing to admit I’d like to be like Paul, but my true goal is to be like Jesus who is the reason Paul became such a powerful influence throughout the ages.
Nope … no more fearful timidity for me. And, while you may hear my voice quiver and see the drops of sweat on my brow, you can be confident that I am still growing in the “meekness and gentleness of Christ”. I don’t want to emulate Paul; I choose to be a reflection of Christ as His image is being perfected in me for His glory and His alone.
Father, I admit that I deal with fear—sometimes fear of speaking, sometimes fear of failure, sometimes fear of many different things. Thank you for the assurance that there is nothing to fear as long as I dwell in You. Christ must become more as I become less. I simply want to be more like Jesus every single day. In Jesus’ Name and for His glory I pray. Amen
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
© Jan Ross
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