GLOSSOPHOBIA – overcoming your fears!

SAM_3539I suffer from Glossophobia but I am not alone!  Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking and according to psychologists, most people fear public speaking more than death!

If you had attended the service at Mowbray Presbyterian Church this past Sunday morning you would have experienced a miracle because I was the ‘Preacher’.

We have been members of Mowbray Presbyterian church for over seventeen years and I used to dread it when it was our family’s turn to pray in church.  The worship leader would announce that the “Curry family will now come up to pray”.  Steve would get up from the pew, followed by Sarah, Amy and Emma Jane while I remained where I was sinking lower and lower in my seat, trying very hard to pretend that I was not part of the Curry family!

Our minister phoned me a few weeks ago and asked whether I would speak on Mother’s Day.  I didn’t even hesitate – I said YES.  I immediately broke out in a cold sweat, started having heart palpitations and felt nauseous but I said YES.

I put the phone down and asked God “what have I done?  What am I going to speak about?  What if I make a fool of myself?” and God gave me the same answer He has been giving believers for hundreds of years.  The same answer He gives you when you cry out to Him in despair or panic or fear.  He repeated the words found in Ephesians 2 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

It stands to reason that if God has prepared the way for us He will also equip and enable us to do what He has asked us to do.  As I was still sitting there, in shock about having said yes, I realized that God would not have put it on our minister’s heart to ask me to talk if He was not also prepared to equip me to talk.

Shortly after saying yes to preaching, I came across this saying “Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet”.

As a child of God we need to be prepared to say YES to Him when He asks us to do something and then we need to TRUST that He will enable us to do what He has asked.

With my ‘yes’ God was able to start preparing me and equipping me to be able to stand in front of the congregation and ‘preach’.

My all time favourite Bible story of someone saying YES to Jesus is found in Matthew 17.

Jesus and His disciples arrived in Capernaum and the temple tax collectors asked Peter whether he and Jesus paid the two-drachma temple tax.  Peter said that they did.

”When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak.  “What do you think, Simon?” he asked.  “From who do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes – from their own sons or from others?’

“From others,” Peter answered.

“Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line.  Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin.  Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours”.

Now Peter could have thought to himself “Very funny! I bet Jesus is just kidding me”.  He could have gone to any one of Jesus followers and asked for the money to pay the temple tax but instead he says “yes!” to Jesus, grabs his fishing rod and heads down to the lake.  If Peter was anything like the rest of us, he was most probably thinking to himself “why am I doing this”.  Can you just imagine his wonder and excitement when he catches that fish and opens its mouth to discover the four-drachma coin.  If he had not said yes to Jesus, and just borrowed the money from someone, he would have missed the incredible miracle of finding a coin in a fishes’ mouth. Jesus could have just produced a coin – after all he had changed water into wine so a coin would have been no problem for Him but He did not.  He wanted Peter to “move his feet”.

So many of us miss out on God’s blessing because we refuse to move our feet. We need to beobedient to God, to listen for His voice and to be faithful to act on it.  However, we have doubts, and fears and feel foolish about doing what Jesus has asked us to do.  It was like me when I said yes to preaching  – I thought to myself ‘what if I make an absolute fool of myself’ and God said to me “I am the one who wanted you to talk.  You are quite capable of making a fool of yourself on your own time but for today I will undertake and carry you through!

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