I have hated public speaking my whole life. I can talk in front of a bunch of kids all day long, but if you put me in front of a group of adults, I freeze up. My hyperhidrosis goes into overdrive and my hands are just dripping. It’s so gross. I typically talk softly in front of people, and my voice often gets scratchy. I forget what I want to say, and I stutter through my words. It just isn’t pleasant. Thankfully, I have not had to do a lot of public speaking in my life. I think the last time I gave a speech was back in 2013 when I was teacher of the year, and I felt like it was a disaster every time.
A few weeks ago, I woke up and felt this strong urge to pray for my business with Trades of Hope, and I prayed specifically for more opportunities to share the mission with my community. God has this funny way of showing up when I least expect it and in ways I would never have dreamed. Not 2 hours after I prayed over my business, I received an email from a lady at a local church. Someone had picked up one of my business cards at a vendor event I did in the fall and had passed on my information to the church. She was asking if I could come and speak to their senior adult group. Clearly this was a gift from God, so I obviously said yes despite me immediately going into panic mode. What was I thinking? I started regretting my decision right away thinking there was no way I could get up and speak in front of this group. I am not a public speaker. I had minor freak out, spoke to a couple of my mentors, and finally made the decided this was what God wanted me to do. I knew he would be there to guide me through.
I spent the next few weeks preparing my own power point presentation and planning out what I wanted to say. I practiced it out loud several times in the week leading up to the event. Then the day before it was scheduled, the lady emailed me and said to expect 50 people. Of course, that caused me to have another minor freak out because that is a lot of people! This past Tuesday, I woke up and got ready. The whole time I was in the shower, drying my hair, and getting my makeup on I was rehearsing. I was so unbelievably nervous. My voice was already getting scratchy, and I kept messing up what I wanted to say. I was worried that my power point wouldn’t work when I got there, and I was just a flat out mess. Then one of my friends and mentor called and prayed with me. She prayed for calm nerves and that God would give me the right words to say. I suddenly felt a peace about it and knew that it was going to be ok.
I got there and of course my power point wouldn’t work right at first. Thankfully I had gotten there early and had time to figure it out and get it to work before everyone arrived. Then I had lunch with the group before it was my time to speak. I stood up in the front of the room with a microphone in one hand and the clicker for the power point in the other. I stood there with confidence and delivered my speech like a champ. I will tell you that I have never been prouder of myself. It was so incredible. I couldn’t have asked for it to go smoother. I had them laughing and crying, and I could tell that they were very captivated by what I was saying. I stood up there, without sweating, losing my voice, or stuttering; and I was able to share my testimony, tell the stories of our artisans, and stress to them the importance of our mission. They were truly moved. I could see it in their eyes. God did show up for me as I knew he would, and he was there with me through every word that came out of my mouth. I was able to deliver my testimony with ease and confidence. I left there with a huge feeling of accomplishment and pride and a renewed desire to spread the word about Trades of Hope and the work we do. My adrenaline was so high that I want nothing more than to be able to do it again. That is something I thought I would never say! I want to have more speaking opportunities. I want the chance to give my testimony and share the stories of our artisans. I want to tell God to bring it on because I am up for the challenge. I am not afraid of it anymore! I know now that I can do it and that I can actually be good at it.
BRING IT ON!