Public speaking and the welcoming warmth of Love

We all have a God-given ability to fearlessly express love, poise, and strength – even in front of a group.

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When God told Moses He had a holy task for him – freeing the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt – Moses was doubtful (see Exodus, chaps. 3-4). His doubts about himself included being “slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” But God cut through Moses’ resistance with this powerful assurance: “Certainly I will be with thee.” And so He was, for Moses triumphed in freeing the children of Israel and leading them to the Promised Land. And their journey ends with a song of praise to God that the Bible attributes to Moses (see Deuteronomy 32).

Many can relate to Moses’ feelings of inadequacy. For instance, studies show that many of us are afraid of public speaking. But as Moses learned, we can trust God to provide the capacity to perform the tasks that rightfully need doing.

The Bible teaches that God is all-powerful, infinite, divine Spirit. Wherever we are, God is right there with us, protecting, guiding, encouraging, strengthening. And spiritual woman and man, made in God’s likeness – the true nature of everyone, as God’s child – forever express God-given poise, confidence, courage, and grace. Fears of being judged or ridiculed by others can be overcome through prayer that brings a steady conviction that God is the power behind right ideas and our ability to express them clearly. Recognizing these spiritual facts empowers us to successfully accomplish honest work in our daily lives.

I used to feel very uncomfortable about speaking before a group of my peers in school, work, church, and other meetings. But I had a transforming experience years ago that vanquished that fear, along with sweaty palms, quaking voice, and anxiety.

I’d been asked to introduce a speaker at an event sponsored by my church. I’d written, memorized, and rehearsed the introduction. But as the event loomed, nervousness overtook me. I didn’t feel up to the task and hoped for a way out.

One evening I sought advice from my fellow church members. One of them looked at me with great kindness and said, “Let them (the audience members) feel the welcoming warmth of Love (God).”

Words cannot describe how deeply this response touched me. It rang true and eased my heart, immediately freeing me from fear. My view of myself changed at once from harassed mortal to cherished child of God. We truly reflect God, divine Spirit, as His wholly spiritual idea.

I rejected the notion that I was a fearful mortal, subject to any kind of phobia. Two Bible verses quickly came to mind: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18) and “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). Divine Love provides us with clarity, focus, poise, eloquence, and grace.

One way to think about nervousness is as a representation of mortal ego. Christian Science explains that God is the only legitimate Ego, which we each reflect. In the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The understanding that the Ego is Mind, and that there is but one Mind or intelligence, begins at once to destroy the errors of mortal sense and to supply the truth of immortal sense.... If man is governed by the law of divine Mind, his body is in submission to everlasting Life and Truth and Love” (p. 216).

As I saw more clearly that this activity was not about me personally but was an opportunity to express Christly love toward our community, peace and joy filled my heart.

The night of the talk, the church was packed. Despite the large crowd, I felt only love, joy, and warmth, not nerves. The introduction went smoothly, and the event was well received.

After this experience, I found myself actually enjoying participating in weekly staff meetings at work, Wednesday testimony meetings at church, and other gatherings. I spoke with a newfound freedom and peace, and still do, confident in my God-given ability to share in a meaningful, helpful way.

We have a choice: Instead of entertaining nerves or self-centered thoughts and fears, we can lean on and realize the omnipresence and omnipotence of God, the divine Mind, and recognize our true spiritual nature as God’s radiant, fearless, loving child. And then our unselfish expression of love for God and our fellow man takes wing and soars.

Adapted from an article published in the May 17, 2021, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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