I have always had a fear of public speaking and felt like there was always someone else who should do it because they were more gifted then I was. Most times when I did need to speak publicly, I felt like I became a different person because I was bound by fear of messing up in front of everyone, convinced I didn’t have what it took to do it. I believed that at the core of who I was I just wasn’t cut out for it, that somehow God didn’t give me that ability. But then why did so much of what I was called to involve speaking publicly? Why couldn’t I conquer my fear of what others thought of me, and live with confidence in what I knew God called me to? It was a completely new thought to me that God wanted to talk to me about who I am and through this struggle I had and show me what he thought of me and what he created me for.
The root of this problem was deeper than speaking, it was in finding my identity in Christ, which is a "christian" term for hearing from God himself what he thinks of you and who he says you are.
God has been teaching me so much in the past few weeks about how much he wants to be in communication with us as his sons and daughters. He doesn’t just want a one sided conversation with me, where I’m doing all the talking and he is doing all the listening, but actually wants to talk to me as I listen to him. He wants to tell me what he thinks of me, tell me who I am, and the plans he has for me. It’s about a relationship where God is my perfect father and I hear from him the kind of things a son needs to hear from a father.
So I took these big questions of "who I am?" and "what am I made to do?" to my creator and father and asked Him and then listened as he talked. Let me tell you, I have never been so affected by a talk in my life. When you find out what God thinks of you and what the truth about yourself is, there is nothing so freeing, nothing so life giving as God telling you who you are. In spite of past failings and sin, not because of anything I have done, but because of how much he loves me; because I am His creation. I know we cannot fully understand how much God loves us, but if we can begin to let God tell us, show us, and begin to experience his love, that is life like no other.
Ep. 3:17-19 17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
When I hear from God and find security in him as my father and creator, I learn who I really am and am set free to be who he created me to be. All of a sudden the fear of what others think about me lessens, the thoughts that I don’t have what it takes melt away in the reality of who I really am and the plans that the God who made me has for my life. Where could I better find out what gifts I have, what I was created for, and why I am here in the world, than to get it from the one who created me and made plans for my life since the beginning of time?
(Ep. 2:10 AMP For we are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship, re-created in Christ Jesus, born anew that we may do those good works which God planned before hand for us, taking paths which he prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them living the good life which he prearranged and made ready for us to live)
Why would I ever try to figure it out on my own if my heavenly father who knows me better then I know myself is wanting to tell me all these things? I’m learning through this that God has the perfect plan for my life and if he asks me to do something he will provide me with the means to carry it out, even if it means speaking publicly! I choose to let God define my identity not my fear.