"This is never going to work," I say out loud to myself as I look into the mirror. How can I possibly feel confident delivering a speech looking like, well, me?
I can't stand the way I look. I'm even less enchanted with the way I speak. And yet, I must stand up in front of crowds constantly.
Standing in front of a room of teenagers as a high school literature teacher is one thing. Leading a small group of people in a Bible study at church is another. But speaking to thousands for a global live stream event, in addition to hundreds present on site, is another matter.
It's not that I'm not zealous for the information I will present, because I am! I love my message! I'm excited about my message!
I'm just not excited about me.
This would have been so much easier when I was younger. Why couldn't I have published in the 90s? Why couldn't social media, an author's best friend, have been invented then?
I am reminded, however, of an old saying we had in the 90s in radio. "When you start believing you sound good, you don't."
Humility can be productive.
So, here I am this morning, practicing the speech I will give about my memoir, MILK AND HONEY LAND. Top ten finalists for 2019 in each literary genre have been selected for an Author Academy Award and have been invited to present their book synopsis at a Red Carpet Session this Friday, Oct. 25, in Columbus, Ohio. Winners will be announced later that evening at a ceremony where they will be invited to give an acceptance speech.
Obviously, I'll want to look good. But is that even possible? My standards for myself are, perhaps, unfair, and practice in front of a mirror isn't exactly a shot in the arm where confidence is concerned.
But then I hear a voice tell me, "You've got this." It's not mine, that's for sure. "Why don't you give yourself the grace you give others and see yourself the way I see you?"
I suppose there is some wisdom in that. After all, we are our own worst critics!
I try it again. I look in the mirror and deliver my speech, and I must add here that this is never comfortable and always seems more than a little awkward, but I do it. I look past all my insufficiencies and the shortcomings etched across my face--perceptions all my own perhaps, and I allow God to love me. I permit myself to see what He sees in me.
But I do it. And as I let go, it happens. I actually start to like myself. I look past the exterior and I focus on what I have to say, something which goes way beyond what anchors me here. I gain self-assurance, appreciation even.
I believe in what I have to say.
Fortunately, God does too.
Do yourself a favor today. Have a little fun and do the same. Cut yourself some slack and sail in your beauty, the kind God sees when He looks at you.
Believe in you like others do. Believe in you like God believes in you.