On Saturday, I spoke to some of the women at my church about spiritual growth in trials. I was happy with the results. We had a good group considering that our summer gatherings are usually small. There were enough muffins to go around. Women were eager to connect with one another and they seemed to resonate with the material I had prepared.
It was affirming to hear from a few women that there was something particular in the message the Lord gave me that was intended for them. That’s what I hoped for and prayed for, and yet somehow I still wondered if it might fall flat or if I wouldn’t convey what I’d hoped to.
True confessions: as much as I delight in doing the research and preparation that leads up to sharing/teaching scripture and Biblical principles, when the day comes and I’m actually talking to the ladies, I know that I can’t pull off verbally what I could (and did) write quite cohesively. Writing flows naturally, but speaking is another story.
The silver lining is that the Lord enables me to speak at all because for many (many) years, I was seriously afflicted with such great anxiety about saying anything or reading out loud in a group. Given that history, I can look at where I am now and say, well, there is progress and there is work still yet to do, but it will come with a lot of practice! If the Lord sees fit to keep me teaching, He’ll provide repeated opportunities for me to improve my speaking.
Another thing that I was reminded of when I drove home from the church was what great pleasure it brings me to perform some kind of ‘work’ that doesn’t feel like work at all. Several women noted how much preparation it must have taken for me to prepare my message, but to me, that was nothing extraordinary. I delight in it and often wish I had even more time to invest in studies or lessons. It is work, but it is joy, too, and so much so that I don’t perceive it as work until someone else points it out.
Eric Liddell indicated that when he ran, he felt God’s pleasure. Running was a talent God provided and when Eric put forth effort, God blessed it, multiplied it, and allowed it to minister to others.
I have a similar sentiment about researching and writing in women’s ministry. The skills I need have been gifted to me by the Lord. I do spend the time and attempt to use them well, but ultimately, God is the one producing the fruit and I know it.