I mentioned earlier this week that I had done my first Church sermon on Sunday evening. The total congregation was 61 according to the usher’s count. That’s about 10 more than I was expecting at an evening service. That 61 includes: me; my mother, who is contractually obliged to praise anything I do; at least three little old ladies who are so blind they wouldn’t even now it was me up front; some families in the back with kids so loud they wouldn’t even hear me.
And I was scared witless.
So what am I doing this weekend?
Well, tomorrow I will be entering a speech contest. Which is to say that I will be entering the next level of a speech contest that I already won at club level. On Saturday 20 March I will be competing against some of the best speakers in my hometown to see who goes on to represent us at the regional level. Then if I do well at these level, I could be going up against some of the best speakers in Southern Africa in May for the privilege of competing in the World Championships of Public Speaking in the US.
Am I nervous? Not a bit.
Why? Because I do this all the time. I have never made it to the WCPS yet, but my year will come, and I have routinely made it to the highest domestic levels, and competed in front of hundreds of people.
So why was I so nervous about sharing with 50 people last week?
Because it’s not about the numbers. I can speak as comfortably in front of 1000 people as in front of 50. There’s only one person I was afraid of; GOD. Afraid that my message would not be what he wanted me to share; afraid that he would not be pleased with my efforts; afraid that I was speaking from my own heart, and not his.
I was nervous when I first started public speaking, but I got over it by doing it so often that it became routine.
I pray that I never get over this fear of preaching.