I think those people who know me well were a little shocked also. When I told my BFF, she replied in a text: OMG! You are totally a motivational speaker! I remember when you didn't want to make calls in college because you didn't know what to say."
She is so right! I have always been terrified to make calls or go to meet new people in person, etc., much less be able to speak to a group of people about private, personal stuff. I kind of chuckled at that, but when she used the term "motivational speaker" I cringed. The only thing I could think of was this:
* This is an SNL clip that references drug use so if you are afraid it might be offensive to you, don't click.
Oh my goodness. I don't really care for Saturday Night Live, but I saw this one when I was in high school, I think, and it really stuck with me. I kept thinking all week leading up to the event Am I a motivational speaker? Will I be crazy like Matt Foley? Will I fall and break something? What is happening here? What is God THINKING? The strange thing (to me) is that in all of my thinking, and you have probably realized by now that I do a lot of that, I never once thought about not doing it.
My husband had given me the day before to spend on my own to prepare for my First Place meeting and this speaking thing. Of course, I went to the motherland: Starbucks. I spent 5 hours there listening to Pandora Shane and Shane radio, typing, praying, and reading. It was a magnificent day. (I plan on doing it WAY more often.) What I realized by the end of that day of outlining what I wanted and needed to say to the group was quite the opposite of what I was expecting. There was not a problem coming up with the words--I have SO much to say about what God has done in my life!
I was never really scared or nervous until maybe the 5 minutes right before I was introduced. The actual speaking went much better than I expected. (Do we see a pattern here?) When I am typing up a blog post, I am actually saying the stuff in my head. So when I say something louder in my head or pause or whatever, I try to make that show up on the page. In writing terms, I believe that is called "voice." Well, it turns out that my voice on paper translates to my voice in real life. Who knew?
I had a blast with those moms. They are such a neat group of ladies. It just seemed like we were all sitting around relating to one another and having a big time, at least I was! It was my hope and earnest prayer to be an encouragement and a motivator to them but in the end I was the one who received encouragement. It was truly an amazing night and as I told my host for the day, Gina, it was a defining moment in my life. As I finished up what I had to say to the women it hit me, in a rather emotional way, that something I have always seen as possibly the greatest weakness in my life God has allowed me to face and to conquer. And it has nothing to do with my weight.
Someone shared this with me recently:
"The greatest freedom is found in being so changed by God's Spirit that you can do what you love to do and know that it conforms to the design of God and leads to life and glory." -John Piper
As I was driving home from my speaking engagement, this quote came to my mind and for the first time I really understood what it meant. The funny thing about it is that until we are changed, we may never know what it is that we truly love to do. Our own fears, the lies we tell ourselves...those are the things that keep us from being who God has planned for us to be all along.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.