"God, grant me the serenity to accept the thing I cannot change, the courage to actually DO it, and the wisdom to know why I agreed to it in the first place!"
That is the perfect prayer for me this morning as I prepare to take off for the FaithWriters conference. I've attended both of the previous conferences and came away so blessed. This year, however, I'm attending not only as a writer but as a speaker. Eek! I am both nervous and excited about this opportunity. But mostly nervous. I tossed and turned all night, awake and looking at the clock every hour or so, stomach in knots.
Seriously, what was I thinking?
As you've heard me say in previous posts, public speaking is one of my greatest fears (right up there with spiders). When I take time to really envision myself speaking in front of 40 or more people, my heart literally starts pounding.
Ironically, when I acted in my high school plays, in front of a few hundred people, I didn't experience nerves like this. But those words were written for me. All I had to do was memorize them. This time, I am the one crafting the words I'm speaking. I am the one all eyes will be focused on. If it were up to me, I'd sit out in the hallway, type my material onto my laptop, and have the words transferred to a screen in front of the class. Now that I think about it, maybe I could turn all the chairs around so that I'm standing (and talking) behind the writers and won't have to feel their stares drilling holes into me. Unfortunately, that won't work, as I have a little illustration I'll be using for my first class that people actually have to see.
A question that has crossed my mind a few (million) times is: Who am I to teach others anything? I feel so totally inadequate, you know? I am not an overly professional freelancer, I don't have books published. I feel like Moses (just call me Mosette) when God called him to speak to Pharaoh on behalf of the Israelites. Moses was totally inadequate, too. But, then again, God used Moses in mighty way, didn't he?
OK, so I don't expect to change the course of history with my workshops. I don't think my material contains anything incredibly profound. My main hope is that people leave my class with a couple new tips or ideas to take home with them that will positively affect their writing career. Hey, as long as they don't walk out scratching their heads, wondering what in the heck I was talking about, it will all be good.
As I step out into scary (make that, treacherous) waters, as I obey God and trust Him with the outcome, as I face my fear, I believe that I will be the one who is changed the most. After all, growth almost always requires a little discomfort. And sometimes, as in my case, a RIDICULOUS AMOUNT of discomfort.
36 hours from now, it will be all over. My nerves will have settled, my heart will be beating at a regular pace again, and I'll be more relaxed.
Until then, I'll be repeating that prayer a few (million) times.
What is your greatest fear and have you ever looked it in the face?