Life is coming at me fast these days. Not only am I working on a new book, I’m launching a new ministry. From the overflow of the book, You. Are Loved. – Live the Love Song, ongoing ministry through speaking, online discipleship, and video posts are on the horizon. There are occasional moments when it all seems overwhelming and I panic, but for the most part, I’m energized and loving every minute of all that’s happening.
Except when I’m thrown a major curveball.
I’m a planner, like, a crazy, obsessive planner. I’m so bad that I even have a vacation checklist that I print every year for vacation. I have columns for all of us travelers, even for Zoe, my pup. (Yep, you read that right.) Planning comes naturally for me since I love lists and thinking ahead.
In my normal, pre-planning way of preparing for a speaking engagement, I began working on my speaking notes on Monday for my last event, five days in advance. That gave me plenty of time. When I’m not actually planning the event myself and just have to show up and speak, the notes are the only stressful part for me, otherwise, I love to speak to groups of women. I’m not the least bit nervous. I am always, I say always stressed over prepping the notes and sticking to them.
I’m a bit of a wildcard. I like telling stories that come to mind. I love sharing all that God has done in and through me over the years. Once I get started, I can hardly stop. Thing is, when you have notes to follow, you have to keep some kind of order to the way you present the material. If I go too far off-script, then it’s difficult to find my way back. Those are my most frustrating moments. I feel led to share something but fear I’ll leave vital information out if I do. Then after the event, I beat myself up for forgetting to say this or that.
Back to my last time to speak, my first time to talk about the new book topic:
I began working on my notes Monday, and over four hours into making meticulous notes with all kinds of complicated “say this here,” “move to this place next,” highlighted critical text, and colored-coded sticky notes, I finally took a break to eat lunch. My chest was tight, and I could do nothing but dread that part of my time to speak.
I’m not sure how it began, but while I was making a quick sandwich, I felt the Lord prompt me to rethink my notes and my plan. The word Unscripted came to mind. A sense of absolute terror came at that thought. What, no notes, no guide to make sure I said all the right things at the right times? That was crazy!
It took less than a minute for me to say, “Okay, I’ll try that.”
Before I tell the rest of the story, I have to interject something here. That was probably my fastest act of obedience and submission I’ve ever experienced. Usually, I do the little Okay and No Way dance. You know the one where you say okay at first and then back out, then back in, then back out? That’s usually my style when facing something so frightening. I didn’t do that, not even one time.
The moment I said yes to speaking unscripted, I felt a tremendous sense of peace flood over me, a peace I’ve never experienced when preparing to speak. I take what I say seriously. If ladies are going to take the time and effort to come and hear what I have to say, it better be worth it for them. Time is precious for all of us.
That Monday, I went back to my desk and took a leap of faith: I deleted four hours’ worth of notes. I typed up a few “jumping-off statements” to keep a decent flow. Plus, I had some lists of things I knew I would need to read directly from the page, but for the most part, I spoke unscripted. I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed speaking more than that day. It may not have for the ladies who listened, but for me and my walk of faith, the fire fell. I found an entirely new level of trust in what God asks of me.
“For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very
hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:12
When Scripture is proven in such a mighty way, I take notice. Tiny trust steps lead to medium trust steps, then medium to large. That was a giant step for me that day, and as usual, God proved Himself trustworthy.
Now, I can look forward to my next speaking engagement without dread of note prep and following a plan. Instead, I can follow a Savior by way of His Spirit.
I would love to hear back from you. Do you have a story of how a trust step, either small or large, has led to a deepening level of trust in Jesus?
I look forward to sharing more about the new book with you. I’ll do that over the next few months through my blog.
Always remember – You. Are. Loved.