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On Public Speaking and Toxic Insecurity

I spoke at our church this weekend, which is not unusual, but I felt very shaky about the message I had developed, which is unusual.   I love to study so I typically just keep hammering away at a message until I feel really ready to speak it four times to lots and lots of people.  It didn’t work that way this time.  For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get it to take the right shape.  Like a tennis player who’s racket breaks a string, this message just didn’t seem to be fully functional and I was frantically re-writing my notes (which I didn’t even end up using) on Saturday night at 6:15 – minutes before I was supposed to teach it.

 

The weekend ended up going great.  Lots of people talked to me about how it blessed them.  I received a lovely string of encouraging emails.  No one threw tomatoes or walked out in disgust (to my knowledge!)  There was no doubt in my mind that God had stepped up to the plate for me and everything had worked out fine.

 

And yet…last night I woke up from three separate dreams about the weekend and they were thus:

 

  • I dreamed that one of the other pastors was standing in the back of the church, motioning me to “wrap it up!”
  • I dreamed that my husband was sitting in the front row, telling to me to, “Simmer down -you’re talking too much and too loud!”
  • I dreamed that the table I stood behind was as tall as I am and I could barely see over the top of it.

 

Do you see a pattern in these dreams?  Do you see what my subconscious has been telling me?

 

I’m amazed at how powerful our inner thought life is.  These dreams and my insecurity going into the weekend are waving a red flag at me because:  I clearly have some work to do in aligning my thoughts about me with His thoughts about me.  I’ve done it before, but this is a steady necessity, like watering the plants or using moisturizer.   My thoughts have some how shifted to an insecure, self-protective posture and I know that’s not right for my life.  It’s not right for your life, either.   We don’t have to live in the land of Not Enough, when Jesus calls us Worthy.   Sometimes I mask my insecurity in hypocritical robes of “humility” but insecurity is really just another flavor of pride.  It’s still focused exclusively on my own silly self and it becomes toxic, moving through my system and poisoning everything it touches.

 

So, how to fix it?  For me, it will be a rugged determination to filter my thoughts -all of them – through the truth of the Word and ways of God.  I will fast thoughts of inadequacy and insecurity and feast on thoughts of His good work in my life.  This morning, I read about the lovely  lily in the field and I wrote this creed for myself.  Feel free to borrow it if it fits your life:

Today I want to live like a lily. Lovely, because I am loved. I will not toil through the anxious fields, digging frantic through the dirt for my own security. I refuse to spin – ‘round, ‘round, ‘round, in a mad rush to build secret Plan B’s lest the Creator’s promise of provision fall through. I will stand today in fields of grace, covered in His kindness and certain of His affection. Today I want to live like a lily.

 

With love from the fields of grace,

 

Bo

September 16, 2013 - 8:18 am

ci - Your timing and your word couldn’t be more perfect. Thank-you.

September 16, 2013 - 8:26 am

Kathy - To see such a lovely daughter of God open her self as a vessel to speak the words of God from her heart is refreshing. To know that the Holy Spirit walked you through and spoke through you is also fulfilling. To be so honest with us all is a uniting of the family of God. To be in such a family as this is a blessing each and everyday. Oh how he loves you as you walk through the storms of life. You are an inspiration to us all. And the spirit and light of the Lord shines through you. God bless you and your family.

September 16, 2013 - 9:34 am

Annalise Neciuk - This was…..refreshing. Many, many thank-you’s!

September 16, 2013 - 9:40 am

Nita - I hate tattoo’s but I’m thinking of having this blog tattoo’d all over my body. 😉 Such needed words.
I continually beat myself up, haven’t made enough difference, could have done better, will they believe me, was I gracious when I had to speak the truth in love, is competitive wrong…you are waaay more spiritual than I, but for me it comes back to laying it down at the feet of Jesus daily and saying, “take it all Lord, and I don’t want any of it back that doesn’t bring you glory.” God help us do this life to the best of our ability and we look forward to the day we are dancing in heaven and the steps don’t matter anymore.
Love you friend.

September 16, 2013 - 9:56 am

Tia Morrow - Bo,
I just love your transparency! I can identify with this article. The Lord has been launching me out into uncomfortable situations in ministry for the past two years. All I have been doing is holding on to His hand and believing that His grace is sufficient for what seems to be WAY to big for me. I have to say, this is the big adventure! Even if I’m afraid, I say, “Yes, Lord!” Knowing that if He asks me to do it, He will empower me to succeed. I think there is something exhilarating about this uncharted territory, mind you, it is always a bit more restful–after the event or situation is completed. 😉
Thank you for sharing this article, you inspire me!
God bless you and you beautiful family!!!
Abundant Blessings,
Tia Morrow

September 16, 2013 - 4:21 pm

Katie - Thank you for sharing this. The LORD has been prompting out of my comfort zone in ministry and I have been taking very baby steps. My first speaking task is in two weeks and I am nervous and excited. Thank you for you honest words. There were such an encouragement to me. Blessings to you and yours.

September 16, 2013 - 7:10 pm

Jenna Javens - I love this. I love you. I love getting to walk this narrow path alongside such a lovely lily. Thanks for your honestly. Per usual, it encouraged my steps.

September 16, 2013 - 10:45 pm

Kim - Love the blog…loved the sermon. 🙂

September 17, 2013 - 7:33 am

Joni Thurber - I love your description of “insecurity.” I recall training my young children when they would turn away from an adult, not wanting to face them, for whatever reason. That behavior was often responded with: “Oh, she’s just shy.” Hmmm, I thought. I didn’t like the beginning of what to me looked like a form of pride. I think you hit the nail on the head. I agree, that “insecurity is really just another flavor of pride.” It’s good that we see that characteristic or personality condition for what it is. Imagine how we can bless people when we toss that aside, and decide to humble ourselves before others.

Thank you,
Joni

September 18, 2013 - 12:44 pm

Teresa B. - Our culture influences a lot of negative “self-talk”. You are correct, it does influence every inch of our being. If everyone took just one minute out of each day to think of the people, accomplishments, things that bring us joy, and blessings, people would be a lot happier. So wonderful to have a God who thinks we are worthy no matter what. Today, I will live like a lily.