In the last weekend of September, I had the privilege of speaking at both a men’s breakfast and a combined male/female Sunday School service at First Baptist Church. This was my first public speaking event in years—certainly the first since launching 3LC. My presentation went as I would have expected—each event had a bit of a rocky start but a fair conclusion.
Initially, I had intended to write a post entitled, “5 Things I Learned from my First Real Public Speaking Gig”, since lists and numbered posts rule the internet; but thankfully, I was delayed and am writing this instead.
Because I feel this is going to prove more valuable to you.
See, inasmuch as I learned about preparation and presentation, the Lord brought something much more personal to my attention: I need to be me, and no one else.
I say this because my language and presenting style took bits and pieces from a variety of speakers to whom I’ve listened. A peppering of Piper, a cut of Keller, and a drip of Driscoll, while trying to channel some of Francis Chan. All of these went through my filter, guided by the Holy Spirit himself, speaking the truth he wanted to convey to his children at that moment in time. I trust he did.
Because he certainly conveyed something to me—that while I can take a tidbit of style from this or that preacher, he built me differently than they, and my strengths are different than theirs. Frankly, God did not create me to mimic my presenting after another of his sons. He made me to speak in ways they cannot; in the same way that they speak in ways I cannot.
That be hard. Some things are difficult to share, but God gives us experiences and insights for the good of the kingdom and not just ourselves. When I hit certain points in my presentation that I felt were uniquely and decidedly my heart and my mind and my soul, I exuded the desire to share it and did so unabashedly. The exhilaration of the experience, as well as the comfort with which I presented, was so dramatically different that to ignore this would be foolish.
I realized that I can speak publicly, and I can speak well when I allow myself to be the speaker God has built me to be, saying things he has led me to say. Funny how that works. God grants us an ability, and he enables us to perform it. When we do, we truly feel, “I was made to do this [or say this]”.
I have to admit to you that I will likely be nervous about my next engagement, whenever that may be, but I am already assured that if God grants me the opportunity, he will carry me through it and use me as he sees fit, using my voice as his vessel.
I know this may come across as arrogant, but my motivation of this post is my desire to encourage you. Perhaps like me, you think "Oh, if I had the charisma of this celebrity or the the skill of that artist or the will of that athlete, then I’d be able to do, X,Y, or Z". But they don’t have what you need. God has equipped you with what you need to do what he's called you to do; you simply need to give it to him and ask him to use it, and he will.
And you’ll know when he does, because he’s built you to know. Because he loves you.
Thanks for Reading,
PS - For those interested in the content of my presentations: The focus each day was storytelling—specifically the way in which existence is a story that God, the perfect writer, is telling. I spoke on the way in which he weaves our own redemptive stories into his larger, overarching redemption narrative and described the inherent blessings believers can embrace because of the Lord’s story.