If it’s one thing I do not really enjoy it’s public speaking, which is shocking considering I went to school to become a teacher, taught for a little while, and then now I am also in a position that may occasionally require some public speaking or being interviewed on TV. This is also coming from the same person that in her collegiate boredom, would record videos for YouTube that were quite random and unnecessary in hindsight.
With all that said, it’s true that I do not like speaking publicly. I’ll do it if I have to, but the introvert in me really doesn’t crave the spotlight that much. I don’t like drawing a lot of attention to myself and have always felt more comfortable fading into the background than being celebrated for stuff. People often don’t believe me because I am good for a while at being social or trying to be, but I get drained very easily if I am not careful.
This month, I am scheduled to lead prayer for the offering and I am incredibly nervous. It’s also Communion Sunday, which for me feels like added pressure even though it should not be because I, myself, am not really doing any of the leading. It’s just I am so nervous to pray in front of everyone. I’ve prayed for people before and with them, but to the idea of praying over the offering is little scary to me because that’s serious business. Sometimes, I jumble my words in my prayers to God and there have even been prayers where as I am talking, I am realizing that I am getting off track and so I apologize to God for it. Or better yet, I’m praying to Him and I say something, but end up clarifying it as if God doesn’t know.
“I’m so exhausted, God, but not really exhausted because there’s so many other people that are more exhausted than me, but just tired – you know what I mean? I’m just mentally and emotionally tired.”
Or while randomly talking to God, I’d say something like, “It’s like what happened with Joseph. You know – old testament Joseph – not Joseph as in Mary’s husband or Joseph as in your earthly brother. You had a brother named Joseph – right? I am sorry. You had four right? “
Maybe, I haven’t said exactly that, but I am known for over-clarifying. Just ask my boyfriend. I can’t just express something without feeling the need to clarify and really it’s only when I’m talking to God, my family/close friends, and my boyfriend that I don’t feel that pressure of feeling bad for doing it. They know me and they know that’s something I do, so somehow in the midst of my jumbled speech they understand it — especially God and my boyfriend. Despite, some of my frazzled prayers and rants, they hear it and they can still comprehend it.
Not everyone is like that.
But, HE understands because He knows me. He knows that I’m a rambling, anxious mess sometimes and He loves me for it and is patient when I pray and talk to Him — even though He already knows what I am going to say. But people are a different story.
I’m scared of what could happen and that I am not ready for this.
What if I cry during prayer or what if I end up going too long or too short?
What if I clarify in the middle of prayer?
What if I have nothing to say in regards to the offering or I end up saying the same thing each Sunday because I am praying for the offering every Sunday of this month.
Thankfully, February is a short month, but I digress.
What if I don’t properly bless the offering or get completely off track because I was so caught up in worship before? What if I cannot properly worship because I’m too busy counting the songs until when I have to lead the prayer offering?
The over-thinker and over-analyzer in me is really struggling with this. I’m the same person who blanked out during a chapel about Daniel and the Lion’s den. I completely blanked out and had to ask another teacher for help.
Even just writing about it right now is giving me anxiety.
I was reminded when venting to my boyfriend the other day about my struggles in my walk as of late, that I really have a problem with standards. Meaning, I think there’s a standard for being a good Christian, a good employee, a good girlfriend, a good prayer, etc. I could go on. Yes, there are standards within some of these things, but I get disappointed easily when I realize I cannot reach them or I have not. In this case of me somehow thinking there’s a standard for praying well for an offering, who is to say that there is certain words I have to say in order for it to be good or (prepare to be mind blown) that there’s even a such thing as a good prayer. Maybe all prayers from believers that are genuine and are received by God are “good.” In fact, my most intense prayer experiences with God have been when I’ve been real about what I’m feeling instead of uttering a bunch of Christianese words for the sake of sounding like a good Christian or praying a “good prayer.”
Perhaps, I should go into church on Sunday, worship as I usually do, and just be real. If I am nervous, perhaps, it’s appropriate to admit that and be honest because God knows what I’m feeling and while I’m praying over the congregation, I am praying to Him, after all. I honestly don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to say, but perhaps that’s a good thing because on Sunday after I’ve hopefully genuinely worshipped His holy name, I can enter into prayer with a softened, honest heart. It might be jumbled. It might be shaky, but it’ll be real and it’ll be a real prayer to a real King.
I know, despite what I am feeling, if God has called me to pray for the offering this month He’ll see me through it and He’ll grace me with the words that I need to do so. I may be shaking in my figurative boots right now, but perhaps this is another opportunity to walk in faith and truth. Whatever the purpose, I am praying that God gives me the words to say that are not some repetitive gibberish that I am saying because it’s sure to gather some “amens” and “hallelujahs,” but words that are truly onto the Lord. Words that could only come from Him and the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart.