Public Speaking, January 7, 2012 Daily Reflection

Before people arrived at the Advent Tea where I spoke to 150 women

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to speak in front of 150 people for 30 minutes about your faith?

Well, let me tell you it has been a journey to get to this point. Sparing you the details of my childhood I will just say I never had a problem being in front of a crowd. However, I was fearful of public speaking even in college. Golden Key National Honor Society awarded me the opportunity to speak in front of more than 100 students about a program I redesigned to teach children how to say no to drugs. But the truth of the matter is God nudged me in my adult life towards this path. I went kicking and screaming at first. A few people asked me to speak about a service program I coordinate at my children’s school and I was awful.  Then I became very involved in our parish retreats and gave 6 different talks as well as leading an entire weekend retreat. The more God nudged the more I stepped closer to that microphone you see in this picture. After one of the retreats I said to my husband “This is what I want to do.” He questioned “You want to lead retreats?” “I want to talk about my faith to others. I want to be a motivational speaker for God!” was my response.

I prayed about it, started my blog and found people along the way who chose to mentor me. Eventually I discovered an opportunity to speak for the first time and let people know it’s what I am called to do. Since that day I have created, developed and led retreats, given talks during the retreats and given motivational talks separate from the retreats. It takes much more time and planning than people realize. I don’t like to do anything half way. So when someone hires me to give a talk it is a process. First I pray about the subject and chat with God about how to write the talk. I write the talk. Then I start practicing the talk. I practice a talk at least 25 times before I give it to an audience. I don’t use note cards, I memorize it. My talks are 20-30 minutes long. Yep, it’s just me and God up there!

As the person introduces me to the audience I am taking deep breaths and praying to God “God, let this be for your glory and not my own. Let the words come to me that we decided on together. Please let the Holy Spirit open their ears to what you want them to hear. Oh, yeah and God, let’s have fun doing this.”

Then I walk up take one more deep breath and I just start talking. I love it when I have people who are engaged in the stories I tell. I find people who I know will laugh and people I can look to who will be more serious as well. When I am extremely comfortable I throw in things I am thinking. Honestly I am more of a story teller than a preacher. I want to tell stories that my audience can relate to and find meaning within. I want to motivate them to move closer to God in little ways. I speak from my heart and it is real. It is exhilarating, exciting, and just plain fun. After a talk it takes hours for me to calm down completely.

God uses each of us in different ways in our lives. Sometimes He nudges us in ways we are not comfortable being pushed. Staying open to different opportunities in our lives is staying open to God changing us and guiding us to grow in His love. All of us are not called to be writers or speakers but all of us are called by God to bring others closer to Him somehow in this life. How is God calling you?

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