The stage lights are up and the stage sits empty, waiting for her to come up. She is praying fervently in her seat that it will go well. She looks to her husband and friend and whispers, “Pray for me.” It’s almost time. She studies her notes one last time and prays for God to give her the words to say. And then it is time. The pastor of the church calls her up. Her heart flutters as she hears his words:
“Lisa, come on up and make the announcements.”
Yes, we are just talking about making the announcements in church. That 3-5 minute break between worship and the sermon where someone tells what activities are going on in the church. And on this Sunday, that person just happened to be me.
My heart pounding, I bravely ascended the steps to the stage and the lights blinded me. I looked out at the crowd and my heart skipped a beat. And then I opened my mouth. Big mistake! I told a joke about a funeral and it flopped. And then I said something that was really funny to me but it wasn’t to everyone else. Then I couldn’t remember a date that was printed right in the bulletin in front on me and someone in the audience had to help me.
I left the stage an emotional wreck. I felt like I had blown it. Even though I had prayed all morning, my delivery was horrible and embarrassing. Everyone around me said that it was great but I beat myself up for the rest of the day.
Why on earth did I say THAT in front of everyone?
I have a degree in public relations and public speaking has always been something that I enjoy. The whole church knows that I LOVE to hold the microphone. So what could undermine my confidence, training, and experience and cause me to flop at the church announcements?
I’ve been leading the Ladies Ministry at my church for three years. I’m often out front, leading the way, teaching, encouraging, reminding, and being vulnerable. During this time there have been some women who have found fault with me and their words have really hurt me. I have had to make peace with the fact that they don’t like me.
I really want everyone to like me. Don’t you?
This insecurity caused by ladies in my church not liking me undermines my confidence. It makes me afraid to be out front because they will probably find fault with what I say. They may be critical of me, even in their silence, sitting there staring at me.
What went wrong on the stage during announcements? Well, I was me. I was silly. I told jokes. I had fun. I was animated. I was quirky. I forgot something, which occurs quite often in my life. I struggled over words, which is a side-effect of my migraine medication. But I was the real, true me.
Brene Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, shares her vulnerability prayer: “Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen.” When I was on that stage, I was vulnerable. I let my true self be seen. It was terrifying.
After those horrible Sunday announcements,I got a call on Tuesday. The church secretary told me that the pastor wanted me to make the announcements again, on the following Sunday. I took a deep breath and replied, “I would be happy to.” And then, in my mind, came this thought unbidden:
I get to do it all over again! But this time, I want to do it differently. I want to kiss insecurity goodbye and have the courage to show up and let my true self be seen, and not be ashamed of who I am. I don’t want to hide behind a persona that is not my own. I don’t want to be who those critical women want me to be. I want to be who God created me to be: ME. Silly, fun, crazy ME.
Are there situations in your life where you are insecure and afraid of letting your true self be seen? Are you putting up a mask and acting like someone who you are not? Are you afraid that people will not like the amazing woman God made you to be?
I dare you. Kiss insecurity goodbye and have a courageous heart. Show up in your daily circumstances and let your true self be seen. Let the person that God created you to be shine today.
What if they don’t like it? That’s not your problem. Let them deal with it.
Oh God, people say things that hurt us and cause us to be insecure. Your word says that You have given us power and love and a sound mind, not fear. Oh God, give us a courageous heart so that we can show up and be seen. Help us to be brave. Give us the courage to be the women You created us to be.
What about you? Are there areas in your life where you need the courage to show up and let the real you be seen?
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