Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? Sure scares me.
Maybe that’s why it took me so long (well past mid-life) to begin to share the thoughts of my heart. Putting words on paper or typing them into a computer feels safe – until they escape or are pushed “out there.” To the public, where strangers can read, criticize, or even condemn. Frightening.
I’m not a brave person. By nature I’m quite timid, something God has been working on for many years.
So last month when my dear friend and pastor’s wife, Linda Reeve, asked me if I’d be the speaker for Emmanuel Baptist’s Christmas Ladies’ Tea, My initial reaction was, “Are you sure?” I’d never done any public speaking before.
She assured me that she believed I was the one, and a sense of wonder and the feeling that this was from God seeped into my soul. A few days later I agreed, even though I knew that on my own, I would surely fail.
Fear served me well this time, though, because it prompted me to ask everyone I knew for prayer. And they prayed.
One reason for my nervousness is that sometimes when stress hits, my vocal cords spasm, and that prompts a coughing fit. I could picture that happening as I stood onstage – not a pretty sight.
The Ladies’ Tea at Emmanuel is so popular, it’s held on two nights, and both were sold out. The first night went well in spite of nerves, but the second night, just as the program began, my throat twitched. I began to cough and had to leave the room. Even as I walked past table after table of ladies, I could feel the power of their prayers. A few moments later, my throat eased and I was able to go back in. When it was time for me to share my heart, the words flowed smoothly.
And that sharing of my heart, the talk I’d been so nervous to give, made me extra vulnerable to all those women. They could have ridiculed or criticized me, but to my knowledge, no one did.
Instead, my vulnerability touched many to share their hearts with me. When one dear lady shared her story and asked me to pray for her and her family, my eyes filled. What a privilege!
For this is the blessing of opening our hearts, in spite of our fears, as only open hearts can connect.