In the film, The King’s Speech, the soon-to-be king is plagued with an embarrassing speech impediment. It is revealed through the film, that much of his handicap is a result of insecurity and the harsh criticism received from his family (which reinforced his behavior). When he was asked by his speech therapist to read out-loud while listening to music through a headset, he delivered his message flawlessly because he could not hear himself speaking.
Studies show that one of the greatest fears people struggle with is public speaking. I can relate, as stage fright has been a mountain that God has called me to climb. Countless times I have stood in the wings with cold clammy hands and debilitating anxiety, silently whispering to God, “I just can’t do this!” Yet, over the years I have walked to the microphone (kicking and screaming), despite my fears. As the saying goes, I have
“done it afraid,” and God has always shown up.
Though the struggles are not the same today, I am still challenged with elements of fear when called to do something that is unfamiliar. It is so much easier to hide behind my writing or a studio microphone than to face an audience. What has compelled me to get out of my comfort zone is knowing that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7). If fear is not of God, then I want no part of it, nor do I want to be in its grasp.
Yet even now, when I am called to share with others, my tongue sometimes becomes tied, just like the king’s. As soon as I begin to over-think the process or remember criticisms, the “um’s” and the “so’s” come fumbling out, and I find myself less willing to speak than
ever before. What compels me to continue is knowing that if I dwell in my mistakes,
like the king did, I will miss all the opportunities God has set before me to speak on His behalf.
As we know, the enemy is resourceful in calling failures to our attention. He did not earn the title of “accuser” for nothing. He is faithful in his efforts to convince us that we
are inadequate or ineffective. By allowing Him any authority at all, He can impede our
confidence and thus tie our tongues.
After many years in ministry, I have learned that perfection is a standard I cannot attain
and thus not everyone is going to like what I say, sing, how I sound, or what I write. I
can accept this. What I cannot accept is leaving this life knowing that I gave up. As Thoreau said so perfectly, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” For me, this quote stirs a deep conviction to live fully and with the utmost of passion. The king focused intently on his failures, but Scripture tells me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It tells me when I am weak, He is strong, and it tells me that I have been SAVED to PROCLAIM Him! Therefore, how can
I sit and be bound by fear and insecurity?
Much of what drives my fear, to be quite honest, is my own pride. Pride does not want me to be a loser, a failure, disliked, or inadequate. Pride does not want me to learn from my mistakes; instead, it is mortified that I made them at all. If I do not try, there is no risk
of failure or embarrassment. This is the reason, I believe, most of us are terrified of public speaking. We are concerned with what people think. Thus, many sit silent going to their graves with a song (or a speech) still in them. As I come to better understand WHOSE I AM and WHO sends me, I can be confident in the knowledge that God’s strength will see me through any divine appointment.