I'm the public speaker you never want to listen to.
No, seriously. I um and uh and am responsible for long and awkward pauses while I try to find my words. At least, this is the case when I am asked to speak on the spot.
I'm sure I've blogged before about how my family loves to tease me about it, too. They do, and I laugh with them because I know it's true. There is a brain inside my head that works well enough to string words together on a piece of paper - or computer screen - in ways that make sense after I've had a decent amount of time to figure out what to say. For some reason, standing up and talking is a slower, bug-ridden process for that same brain. Speaking with my mouth is just hard. Without a prewritten speech (or detailed outline), I am completely unsure of what to say or how to say it, and it shows.
And anyone who has been subjected to my lack of eloquence - I'm so sorry for having put you through that torture in the past. For real. No guarantees it will ever get better.
The fact is, I completely relate to Moses at the burning bush when he tells God, "...I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue." (Exodus 4:10, ESV)
I always have, and a part of me always will, because Moses and I were almost exactly the same in that way ten years ago.
Before trips to Dearborn and Kenya and a lifestyle of ministry on the World Race put me in uncomfortable ministry positions on a regular basis, and back in the day when leading a small bible study was taking a huge step of faith. Mission trips were things I dreamed about, but never signed up for. My idea of ministries that fit me were online and required little to no speaking. Youth ministry was not even on my radar.
So when Moses asks God to send someone else to speak (Ex. 4:13)? I would have pretty much done the same thing back then.
I've learned a lot about speaking in the last ten years as I've taken small (and large) steps of faith. God has spoken through my trembling, awkward words in ways large, small, or sometimes unquantifiable. When called upon, I push through because I know He will make Himself heard.
And because of my experiences, I think that if I could go back in time and have a conversation with Moses, I'd encourage him to step up to the plate.
It's better to be the public speaker with all the uhs and ums God uses to speak than a brilliant speaker who won't let God speak at all.
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