“Fear robs us of our very selves”,

Public speaking has never been something that I’ve felt good at or desired to do. Half of my family members are gifted speakers, and my comparison game is strong in this department.

This brings me to last fall when I was asked to give the commencement speech for a local homeschool group. At that point they were asking if I was willing to be considered. I prayed about it and said I was open to the opportunity. I then found out that they had also asked my brother Jon (one of the before mentioned gifted speakers). SAVED!

Funny turn of circumstances, the homeschool group ended up asking us to share the speech. Jon will have graduated from the group 20 years ago and it is my 16th anniversary. So on that front, it will be a very unique commencement with the first brother-sister alumni duo.

Jon and I discussed what to share and we were both on the same page over the winter. This spring, as the cold melted away, so did my confidence. I had a melt-down on my brother (sorry, Jon) when we were discussing the speech about a month ago. I panicked because I saw my short-comings overpowering anything the Lord might be doing. Jon did his best to speak into the situation and I later apologized. He told me that’s what brothers are for (he’s a good one :)).

All of this was brought to light today when I was reading a section from Stasi Eldredge’s book Beautiful Now. “Fear in its most wicked, powerful form cripples our souls and warps the very fabric of our hearts. It reshapes our inner reality until we bear no resemblance to the dream that is us, to who we really are. And our lives bear no resemblance to the lives we are meant to be living. Fear robs us of our very selves.”

Even in this struggle with fear, when I’m feeling warped, crippled, and robbed of who He has created me to be, there is hope, because He delivers me from all my fears. He is the one who helps me. He is the one who holds my right hand. This is probably why there are so many verses about not fearing in Scripture (Ps. 23:4, Ps. 27:1, Is. 41:13, Luke 12:32, etc.)

So I’m currently back in a peaceful – ish place. We have about two weeks until graduation and my brother and I are continuing to refine our portions. Although this fear feels like it is lurking nearby, I know that the Lord has gifted me the ability to speak into the lives of young men and women and that He’s called me to share at this event. I know He’ll walk with me through the graduation event.

May I walk humbly and fearlessly before Him at the commencement and share the words He’s laid on my heart.