November 2, 2007

Stepping Out

I was privileged recently to serve – for the very first time! – as a Celebrate Kids associate speaker. I gave a keynote address and taught two seminars at an early childhood conference.

Now, I unabashedly taught adolescents every day for nine years in large public schools. I currently help lead worship in a big church. But accepting that speaking engagement scared me. Could I really do it? Yet I’m thankful I did. It went well, and I learned a ton.

I’ve realized I can apply what I learned to other challenging situations. And I can – and should – teach my children those same principles for when they inevitably step into unknown territory. What principles?

First, I prepared as best I could. I spent considerable time writing, studying, and practicing. In the week before the conference, I even dreamt my way through all three talks several times! Likewise, in any new or hard situation, we help ourselves immensely by planning and rehearsing.

Second, I acknowledged the power of prayer and enlisted others’ help in that process. Over 30 people prayed for me! I knew they were praying so the anxiety that should have overtaken me simply fled. In any situation, the same thing can happen. We gain power in knowing others care enough to pray. And, of course, God grants us His power to accomplish what we do in His name.

Third, I trusted. My best decision on conference day came at 6:00 in the morning. I didn’t pour over my notes. Instead, I took time to read Scripture and pray. Actually, I didn’t ask much. Instead, I just quieted myself. I chose to believe God was with me. And peace overwhelmed me from that moment on. Trusting is hard. It’s an act of the will. But it’s worth it.

Finally, I moved forward. My preparation, my friends’ prayers, and even my early morning faith would have been for naught had I failed to step up to the podium and open my mouth. Likewise, in any scary circumstance, we can’t conquer by sidestepping. We need to actually walk through the challenge.

So, what risk or problem do you face? How can you prepare? Who can pray? How can you trust? And then how will you move? I believe that – just as with my speaking debut – you will find great joy on the other side.


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