I was scared. I don’t preach in front of people in a regular church. I minister to individuals and I reach out to people through my “preach letters” on the internet. But the Lord snuck up on me. He inspired me to go the Las Vegas Writer’s meeting a couple weeks ago. I hadn’t been since last August, but when God wants something, He gets it! So I went.
The talk was really great, but even more motivational for me, as far as the Lord was concerned, was that I heard about the workshop going on yesterday: “Presentation Skills Workshop.” OMG! “Too scary,” I thought, “but oh boy do I need it!” I knew Jesus wanted me to go. My roommate Jane is the one who knows how to talk to anyone and everyone, just off the cuff, without any problem at all. I’m not that person—I shrink and shrivel.
In fact, when I approached the man who gave the pitch on the workshop, I refused to even look at him. I just asked for the information on the workshop and wrote it down. He was trying to be friendly and asked me if he could share something he was thinking about lately. I let out a curt, “NO” and I left. I was soooo rude! God forgive me.
By last Wednesday, three days before the workshop, I was so nervous about having to speak about my writing, that my stomach closed up and I had sharp shooting pains; it was so awful that I had to call in sick. Jane asked what was wrong and I told her about how afraid I was to have to talk in public about my writing. It was like a huge unclear jumble in my mind and I was in pain.
I’m sure all of us have things we know we must face and we just don’t want to. We don’t know what the results will be and it’s just too darn scary.
What really helped me to assuage the fear, was to expose it. I had to let it out. It was eating me up. As soon as I told Jane how afraid I was, and how jumbled and cloudy my emotions were and my mind, I knew what to do—get organized, get clear.
Once things are defined, I can do much better. Instead of staying frozen in fear, I got moving. I got out my folders of notes on what my stories are about. I printed out some of the things I had already written in the Introductions to my books; I looked at how I talked about my books on Amazon, and other places where I had to write a short summary of my works. Then I printed out what I had and I worked on how to present these to the group.
We were also supposed to be ready for a mock radio/public interview that would be taped (yep, really scary). We would be answering questions like: What is your book about? Would you be willing to read an excerpt from your book for our audience? Can you tell us about yourself? Where did you get the idea to write this book? And the last one: If you were presenting to an agent or publisher looking for new clients, what have you got?
All of this was frightening, but I knew the Lord was sending me, so I determined to volunteer for everything, even the live interview. I practiced a little and did it even though I was afraid. Joyce Meyer coined the phrase “DO IT AFRAID.” It’s a good one.
When the workshop leader asked for a volunteer, I raised my hand and he motioned for me to get up. I read my story of the googly-eyed man in Starbucks and the story of Peanut, my dog, jumping into the bathtub with me in it! As I looked out into the group, I looked from person to person like you’re supposed to do, but I didn’t see any friendly faces. “OMG, they hate me!” flashed across my mind. But I plowed ahead anyway and finished my talk.
There were things I definitely could have done better, but I got some good feedback—some really helpful hints on things I could do better. There was only one woman who was really annoyed by my talk: “That sounded like a sermon in church,” she sniped. To which I calmly replied, “They ARE preach letters after all.” (like what did she expect, a romance novel?). Oh well.
When Jane picked me up, I told her about the event and I felt like a success just showing up and participating. I ended up with four out of ten people saying complimentary things about my presentation, the one lady who was totally offended (who by the way didn’t read any of her work) and the rest who were just quiet. Then I realized, “Hey, I was the only one to get invited to speak at another event!” I guess it wasn’t that bad after all and I’ll definitely do it again. Watch out Vegas, here I come!
After I calmed down from the workshop, I got to thinking about where in the Bible someone had to do something afraid. I was reminded of one of my favorite guys, Ananias.
Ananias was not one of the twelve famous apostles. He was just a regular guy like you and me. But Jesus knew He could trust Ananias to do what He asked. Ananias had to do it afraid. Jesus told him to go down and minister to Saul, who was well known as a murderer of Christians. He was the one who was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1).
Ananias did like I did, or rather, I did like Ananias—he expressed his fear. He told Jesus he really didn’t want to do this. He was afraid of this guy Saul. But once he got it out in the air, Jesus told him it would be okay and Ananias got it together and went and did what he needed to do. He did it afraid. And just this regular guy, Ananias, was the one who got to mentor one the greatest Apostles of all time, Paul of Tarsus.
We all face those situations that make us afraid, but we know we have to do them anyway. Don’t be afraid to admit fear. It’s a fact of life. But we don’t let it rule us and ruin us. If the Lord wants us to do it, He will get us through it. And we will be successful.
(painting I did of myself 1989 LOL!)
More good truths from God’s Word and how to apply these truths in everyday living—get your copy of WINGS: A Journey in Faith