th (2)Are you afraid of speaking before a large group? What about a smaller audience of one or two people?  The fear of public speaking, or glossophobia,  is one of the most common fears among people.  In fact, it is said that 74% of all people suffer from this fear.  This fear can be the result of many factors, such as anxiety over being viewed as having nothing worthy to say, feeling inferior to the audience, or feeling like you’ll be made fun of for what you’ve shared.

Recently, I read an article about  a survivor of human sex trafficking who overcame her fear of speaking. She sat in the office of a New York Assembly member listening to a debate about whether sex trafficking should be categorized as a violent or a non-violent felony. You can imagine how this young lady would have difficulty speaking up, especially before a group of people in a prestigious environment. She sat and listened until she could no longer remain silent. When she reached the point where her message was more important than her fear, she spoke out.

Her hands trembled. Her voice shook. She began: ‘You see, I am a commercially sexually exploited kid. I was run by a pimp. A pimp who beat me, who raped me…’ With each word, her voice grew stronger. ‘I have scars on my body from where my pimp hit me when I didn’t bring home enough money or when I tried to protect my friend. My mouth was duct-taped when I was out of line. I was raped by buyers.’ With the confidence of a seasoned lawyer, Ruth concluded, ‘There is nothing non-violent about sex trafficking.’  The room stood still.

When you have something important to say, people will pay attention.  The Lord calls us to use our voices for His purposes in Proverbs 31:8,

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

When we speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves, we are obeying the Lord.  And when we do what He called us to do, we don’t need to fear.  He will show up and show out through us [1 Thessalonians 5:24]. He tells us in Matthew 10:19-20,

At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

We don’t need to worry about messing up, because we aren’t the ones doing the talking.  Fear may still come knocking at your door when you stand to speak, but you don’t have to let it in and entertain it.  You can choose, like Ruth, to speak out in spite of fear’s attempt to stop you.

Ambrose Redmoon said,

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”

I feel like I’ve been in ministry my whole life, however, I’ve officially been speaking and writing for about eight years now. I still feel like I am going to throw up every time I step up on a platform to speak.  I stand there thinking, “Susan, you don’t have anything to say worth these people’s time” and the reality is that’s a true statement.  BUT, God has plenty to say, and He has chosen to work through vessels like you and me to get His message out. Once I realized  it wasn’t up to me, I was able to overcome the fear. I was able to stand before a crowd and open my mouth, trusting God will provide the words to speak.

What about you? What platform is God calling you to step up on? What message has He given you to share? If you’re reading this thinking you have no message to share, you’re wrong.  We’ve all been called to share the Gospel [Matthew 28:18-20]. It’s a great place to start. What’s holding you back?