When did I become fearful of public speaking? If you follow me on social media, you know I have had a really hard time posting videos of myself. It’s so strange to me that something I was never afraid to do before, has now become something I dread. I get super nervous, mix up my words and am so critical of myself. Let me back up for a minute...
From a young age, I was always a “performer.” Ballet and tap, modern dance and hip-hop; I used to do it all. I truly enjoyed being on stage as a child and young adult.
As I got older and went into my career, there were opportunities to speak in front of large groups, sharing research on fashion, marketing and advertising trends. The largest group I spoke in front of was about 400 people and I can honestly say I wasn’t nervous or self-conscious. Yes, I had those little butterflies I would always get right before I stepped on stage, but as soon as I started to speak, those butterflies would fly away and I was in my groove. But then something happened.
I can’t pinpoint where or when, but somewhere along the way, I lost my confidence. And now, when I think about using tools like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, or when I want to film a video for loved+blessed, I shut down. I get so nervous. What’s crazy is that it’s literally just me in the room. Just me and a camera, alone, and it makes me so nervous that I start sweating, I jumble my words and I can’t get through 60 seconds without saying “um” about 50 times.
You know what I think it is? It’s the fact that I CAN’T see you and I CAN see myself. When I would speak in front of groups, I couldn’t see myself. Someone might have been videotaping, but I wouldn’t see that video until way later. I could see the immediate reactions of the people I was speaking to. I could make a connection. I could see if their arms were crossed or if they were leaning in and listening intently. I could hear them saying “yeah” in agreement or nodding their heads. I could see if they were frowning or laughing, and I could adjust and react accordingly.
There is something about that camera being between you and me that makes me so self-conscious. I worry that you will misinterpret what I share because I have a weird way of unconsciously rolling my eyes when I talk. I watch back a video multiple times and critique every little movement I make. Why do we do that to ourselves? Now I know some people have no issue making a video or posting a selfie, but I bet if you checked their phones, there are multiple takes that they deleted before they decided on the one to post. But what is that thing that keeps me from actually hitting the post button? I have a bunch of videos on my phone that will never see the light of day, because I’m too afraid to share them. You know what that is? It’s the enemy.
I’m finally realizing that the more I want to share and encourage you, the more the enemy is trying to make me doubt myself. Trying to make me look at myself, instead of looking at God. I’m pretty sure that God does not care how many times I say “um” as long as I say that I love Him. I’m pretty sure that God does not care if I inadvertently roll my eyes, because He knows that’s how He made me. I’m pretty sure God does not care what my hair looks like or what I’m wearing in the video, as long as I am giving Him glory and encouraging others to do the same.
I have to get over myself and stop taking myself so seriously, because it’s not about me. It’s about Him and allowing myself to be used to encourage you. I can’t let the enemy get in my head anymore. I can’t let him win. I can’t let him steal my opportunity to encourage you. I can’t believe his lie that I need to be perfect and polished in every video. I can’t believe his lie that it’s not okay to just be me.
I will continue to share my heart with you and I hope you’ll overlook the “umms” and eye rolls and hear what’s on my heart. But I’m thankful today that the Lord has reminded me that I don’t need to have confidence in myself. I just need confidence in Him.
If you can relate, I hope you’ll pray this prayer with me.
Father God, I come before you humbled. I humble myself under Your mighty hand and cast my anxiety on You, because I know you care for me. (1 Peter 5:6-7) I know when I feel fear in my spirit; it does not come from you. (2 Timothy 1:7) So I will not allow the enemy to trip me up anymore. I will continuously work on eliminating the pride that keeps me from doing the things You have put on my heart to do for your Kingdom. I put my confidence in You because I know that the feelings of inadequacy that I have are not from You. I am Your workmanship, Your masterpiece, created to do good things in this world. (Ephesians 2:10) So I will rest in that knowledge and call on Your strength when I feel scared. (Philippians 4:13) Thank you Lord for reminding me how special I am in Your sight. Thank you for loving me just the way I am and reminding me that I can just be myself because ultimately in whatever I do, I don’t do it for the world, but for an audience of one. I pray I make you proud. In Jesus’ name, Amen.