I was given the opportunity to attend An Evening at the Well where singer/song writer JJ Heller and MOPS CEO Mandy Arioto would be inspiring a crowd of moms with songs, words, prayer and presence. A couple of days before the event, I get an email from someone on the Spirit team saying, “Hey would you be able to emcee the event on Saturday?”
Enter one of my biggest fears: public speaking
In that moment, fear struck me along with self-doubt and a flurry of other things. I am a Human Resources professional so I do a lot of talking in my daily work. I speak and present in daily meetings. It rarely phases me, but this was a whole other beast, if you will. Public speaking is not in my comfort zone. At work, I typically know my material well. I typically know most of my audience. This was different. But what did I do?
I let those thoughts stir in my head for a few minutes
I responded, “sure!”
(then, yes I had immediate doubt again)
I knew I had to. I was already going to be at the event and this was an opportunity for me to become a part of the event as well. The Spirit team made it easy on me and scripted what I needed to do. It was basically introducing JJ and Mandy, talking a bit about All Mom Does…simple stuff. But it still didn’t take away from the fact that I had to get up in front of hundreds of people. Hundreds!
But it turns out those hundreds of people were the most welcoming crowd I could have hoped for. I made eye contact with some of you/them and it put me so at ease to see your faces. Even when at the somewhat last minute, I was texted a different introduction for JJ and had to read it on the stage from my phone causing my nerves to really bounce, the crowd helped ease me.
Here is what else eased me.
The day before, I literally Googled bible versus on fear/anxiety. I focused on these:
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
These verses also allowed my fear of public speaking to minimize itself because I thought of all the other things in the world there are to fear. My anxiety was still there and the nerves couldn’t be fully stopped but I tried to turn them into positive nerves. I am certainly not saying that now I love public speaking and would jump at all chances for it. But I truly think that because I went into it a bit anxious and a bit vulnerable, I was rewarded with getting more out of the evening.
This evening was not about myself and my anxiety or fears.
It was about all of us women there refilling our cups as moms, wives, daughters or whatever roles we play in life. Taking on my fear helped me to be humbled by Jesus. It helped me to then fully take in the beautiful evening of song, worship and community. I cried, I laughed, I left inspired.
Stay tuned for my experience of that evening besides getting over myself and the whole speaking “thing”. If you were not there, I can’t wait to share some of the highlights. If you were there, you experienced it with me. But I bet we each walked out with different takeaways. Different ways the Holy Spirit shined through for us.
We would love to hear from you! What did you walk away with from An Evening At The Well? Comment below!