Friday, November 02, 2007

Mid-night Ramblings and Getting Out of the Boat

*Edit: For some reason, none of my links are working. I'll try again tomorrow.

It's 4:05 a.m.

I woke up a while ago and tried to go back to sleep. I couldn't, so I prayed (for Nate--I'm wondering, "Could he be waking up now?")

I also prayed for other people and about my upcoming talk on November 30.

Once my talk sprang to mind, there was no going back (to sleep).

Yikes. What have I gotten myself into?

Actually, I have been very excited about this, but when I hit my personal deadline (yesterday) to seriously get started on it, suddenly, fear set in.

For example, one of my tasks for Nov. 1st was to start making calls to people. When I sat down in the afternoon to start, I had to pray for courage--to call people who are NOT strangers, who are NICE people, whom I had no reason to fear. (Wow. How did I manage to write a sentence with two who's and a whom? I don't know if my grammar's correct, but give me a break, it's ... 4:13 a.m.)

Well, I did make a lot of calls, and being the nice women that they are, no one made me feel bad in any way. What was I scared of?

Wait a minute--"What Was I Scared Of" is a Seuss book I just read Wednesday night in our sanctuary to kids who were gathered around me. The pictures were on PowerPoint for the adults to read along. Our church is in a "Gospel According to Dr. Seuss" series, so before the pastors launch into spiritual applications, the adults have to know about the Seuss story, so that's why I'm reading in front of everyone. I cannot express how much I enjoy reading out loud. It's a strange predilection that I share with my good friend, Madelyn. She and I are always saying, "Is there a college major in this, because had I known about it, I would've been all over that!" (Geeks!)

Anyway. The whole point of the story and of our pastor's application is that you have to face your fears if you really want to live a full life. We hold onto the hope spoken of in Romans 5. Like Peter, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and if Jesus is calling us out of the boat, get out.

Good stuff.

Interestingly, yesterday I purchased the book we're currently reading in our Women of Influence group (a book or two a month + food + discussion, in a home) and it's entitled, "If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get out of the Boat," by John Ortberg.

He begins with Peter, who responded to Jesus' invitation to get out of the boat and walk to him, and Peter's confirmation of that call and then his brave step out in the middle of a raging storm in which the boat appeared to be the only safe place to be.

Hmmm. Am I detecting a theme? Is it a coincidence that the first encouragement happened the night before my deadline and the second happened the day of?

Anyway, I am afraid. I'm afraid I've bitten off more than I could chew, that I will let the organizers down, the attendees down, that PowerPoint will fail that night, that I will go too long and bore people, that I won't get enough material, that I won't be able to piece it together coherently, that some won't see it's relevance, that if I fail, I'm going to do it in front of a lot of people ....

So I'm asking God to help me face my fears. It's not a life or death situation; I know that. All the same, public speaking is a little scary, even for people who enjoy it.

I've stepped out of the boat, and now I need to stay above water by keeping my eyes focused on Jesus and not the waves around me. I just think the timing of encouragement could not have been better for me.

Thanks, God.

PS: If for some reason you want to hear me read "What Was I Scared Of?" the audio portion is posted here. The only Seuss story there I haven't read is "Oh the Places You'll Go," because friend and co-worker Christy filled in when I had my wisdom teeth pulled. Notes for the congregation are also posted there.


Susanne said...

Still praying for Nate!

I'm really afraid to get up in front of people too. Although it is getting a teensy weensy bit better. At least the mike in my hand doesn't shake so hard anymore it looks like it's possessed.

You'll do great! When God calls He also equips.

Linda said...

Jerri from Ponderings from the Path encouraged me today and gave me permission to post this: Okay, mighty woman of God, here is your rah-rah speech from a member of the North Central Texas fan base.

A few years ago, I spoke at a women's retreat. The subject was encouragement. I ended up having to be barefoot because I had rolled a wheelbarrow over on my big toe and shoes didn't fit. I had so much material I went over and still had to cut out. In every session, there was at least one woman in tears. They were not tears of boredom. They were tears of deep healing. It was so obvious the anointing was there.

Last fall I spoke at a homeschool parents' group meeting. I taught on encouragement. It was bad. It was flat and bad, and I wanted to stop and say, "Do y'all really want to endure to the end?" We endured.

At the end was a short Q&A, and amazingly no one asked, "What made you think you could do this?" There were a few questions, and when it was obvious no more were coming, I looked at the leader who was--bless her soul--sobbing. I mean, deep hearted sobbing. She shook her head and waved her hand to say she did not want to come to the platform. I led us in prayer and dismissed us.

As I walked down the steps to the floor, she met me, and she said, "I'm calling my stepdad when I get home." I nodded. "You said the greatest encouragement we can give is to tell our children they are valuable and make them a priority. My real dad never thought we were valuable. He never even saw us after he left, but my step-dad made my sister and me his priority everyday, and he told us everyday how valuable we were. I just didn't realize it until tonight. I always thought of how unimportant we are to my dad, and I wondered why God let someone think we were so unimportant. Tonight you said that, and I realized how much God loved us because He gave us a dad who made us a priority and valued us. I'm going to call my step-dad and tell him thank you."

I tell you these stories to assure you that really, this isn't about you. You are the vessel. You are not the power that will make a difference. Prepare the best you can. Pray for God to do His work no matter how you do. And trust Him. This was not a random assignment. He picked you. You are the heart that will set Him free to do what He wants to do at this time in the hearts of those there.

If you are chosen, you are enough because God never leaves anyone in lack.

Tammy said...

Linda, just I just read your post below...I'm so glad Nate is doing better and I will continue praying.
I really liked what you said about all of our "short" prayers that are lifted up...and how we may not completely understand the "system" we can be sure by faith that He hears every one!

I must have missed what your talk is going to be about on the 30th...but I know that public speaking for me is right up there with a wisdom tooth pull! ;) But what you said is so true...if God called you to do this, He will enable you! So I'll be praying for this too!
Have a super weekend, Linda! :)

Tammy said...

P.S...I just read the encouragement from Jerri in your wonderful!

Melanie said...

It is when we realize our own weakness that we become a vessel of His Stength. :>)

Fiddledeedee (It Coulda' Been Worse) said...

Okay, that's good. My mantra usually is that song from "Guys and Dolls", "Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat."

Not nearly as effective. Bold steps in faith are better.

"I ain't skeeert."

marina said...

Linda, I would not know good grammer if it hit me and yet I am brave enough to start up a blog even if people says boy she can't write too well or her spelling is bad,,ok I get ahead of myself and skip keys,but I know if I had major in talking and comets good comets I would of been all that and a bag of chip's. Linda I know you can do these and its no big deal !!you are not the 1st and won't be the last if you fail, have faith in your God because he can do great things with people who trust him and maybe these is just a test to see how much you will trust him on the water!!I know you can so these Linda YOU ARE ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS!!Blessing,marina

Beck said...

I think you'll do a wonderful job.

Sharon @ Little Lessons said...

Stepping out of the boat is only the first step. When you want to walk on water, you have to keep your eyes on the Maker of the water. Keep you eyes on our Loving Lord and He will carry you through the speech and beyond.

PJ said...

Linda, God doesn't make mistakes. When he provides the opportunities, He equips. (dittos to Jerry) It must be a theme about now though, because just before I came wandering over here for the 2nd Cup, I had posted a note about my own fear! I sincerely believe that since the Garden, Satan has tried to waylay women. We can be so powerful as females and reach people (male and female) in a way that men cannot--nurturing (MOM style!). He (Satan) was cursed as a result of his encounter with Woman and still out for retaliation. So you go and minister. It will be a direct blow for THE KINGDOM!

The Preacher's Wife said...

The fears you mentioned are the exact ones I still have every single time i am asked to speak or teach. My main one is 'will it translate'?..

Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit as an interpreter. He does not let a group of women gather in His Name and have them leave not hearing from Him.

A prayer I ALWAYS pray is "I can fail, God but YOU CAN NOT." This transfers the work to Him...He knows your preparation and will use it to His Glory. He can do nothing else!

And if none of that works, Fiddle's 'I ain't skeert' should do the trick..heehee..:))

marina said...

PS, Linda you should be a pro at these after all the speeches you have given all I can think of is that God ahs a real BIG blessing in store for someone!!! and the devil is really working hard on you with scary thoughts , remember he can put things in your head,, but its up to you to listen to them or not?? You can do these,, you but your faith and trust in God and he will never let you down.
let us know how you do .blessing marina

thouartloosed said...

The fear keeps our eyes on Him lest we think too highly of ourselves and you've done the most important part already-gotten out of the boat. I was blessed by your honesty.