Friday, September 16, 2011

Afraid to Speak

Much has been said about the fear of public speaking. It is found at the top of the list of things we human beings are afraid of. There is just something about standing in front of a group of people whose eyes are solely focused upon you, then opening your mouth to speak.

I recently viewed a documentary on the legendary NBA star Larry Bird. During his junior year of high school this basketball star took an F in an English Class because he refused to give a short speech in front of his peers.

Some people can talk every second of every day, yet freeze when they are put in front of a group. But whether we want to come to grip with this fact or not, it is still a reality: Our lives are always on a stage. Eyes always focused on every decision, every dream, and every word said.

The question we should be asking ourselves daily is, “What is my life saying?” What do my relationships hear from me? What about my kids…my companion…my friends. . .what am I speaking into them from my stage?

I’ve come to realize that this fear of ‘public speaking’ has often kept me from being the authentic me. Will my circle like what they see and hear? Will I be accepted? What if I make a mistake? Everyone will see because the lights are focused on me. This could very well be the reason that our world is searching for genuine leaders today. The seats have become so crowded with individuals who have made the decision to climb down off the stage and out from under the lights, because accepting the call to ‘live publicly’ is just too costly.

By doing this we miss incredible faith-building opportunities.
We miss 'doing for one what we wish we could do for everyone'. (Thanks, Andy Stanley)
We miss letting our companions and children see us make mistakes and grow from them.
And in the end, we fail to experience the beauty of showing those who follow how to live on the stage.

You may decide to go sit in the seats, but understand...that still speaks. Get up there, dads. C’mon, moms, our little girls need to see how to live. Husbands and wives, let your marriage show this world true love. Students, let your campus follow somebody instead of just having another face in the crowd. This world needs more to get over the fear, climb back up on the stage and just live. One way or the other, your decision will speak louder than you will ever know.