Saturday, December 4, 2010

She's not going to squeeze my shirt like that, is she?*

I gave a talk in Stake Conference Saturday night, except that it wasn't my stake. I don't know which makes me more nervous - speaking in front of a crowd I know or speaking in front of one where I don't know as many people. I think both crowds have the same affect on me.
To me - public speaking is like taking the stairs at work. I have taken the stairs everyday for three years but it never gets any easier. I think that no matter how much I speak in public, it will never get easier. I mean - I used to be a trainer and at least once a week I would stand up in front of 15-25 people...I just had to say the same thing every week but I was always nervous.

I practiced my talk so much that I had it memorized in case something happened to my hard copy on the way to the meeting house. It came in handy when I kept losing my place. I would look down, have no clue where I was on the paper and just look back up and keep going. It was nothing short of a miracle.

I shared a story in my talk about my BYU-Idaho days - it not only went with my topic but I feel it was responsible for me standing up there speaking. President Bednar used to have little "Family Home Evenings" with wards from campus, it was a little Q&A and people would ask all sorts of questions. I remember once, President Bednar (a.k.a. Uncle Dave) said that if you are looking for an answer from the Lord you need to show him that you are ready. Raise your hand in class, volunteer to say the prayer, accept callings and assignments that come your way - basically, participate. So a few months ago I was ready for an answer and remembered President Bednar saying this - I thought, "Okay, I'm ready for some answers, I'm going to participate." I was basically going to become a 'yes' girl where as before I had been a "I don't know, maybe" girl. Three days after I made that decision I was asked to teach FHE in my ward, the day after that I got a phone call from one of the Sunday School teachers asking me to sub for his class. ...I really don't like being up in front of people, and both of these "opportunities" required an extended amount of time in front of people. But I said 'yes' to both.

My topic Saturday night was on Temples and this story worked well with my talk because I had already had a trip to the temple planned for the Saturday before having to teach these two lessons. I told of my experience there while preparing for my lessons. The peace and comfort and the understanding that I was blessed with so that I could teach these lessons. For Sunday School, I had read the scriptures for the lesson at least four times and felt lost...kind of like when you read Shakespeare without someone there to guide you through it. You read the words but then you are like, "Wait, what just happened there?" While I was in the temple I decided to read the scriptures again and suddenly I understood them, it was so easy that I wondered at how I hadn't understood them before.

I found that I suddenly knew exactly what to teach and I was given comfort where before I had been pretty much a nervous wreck (cause seriously, if you know me, you know I don't like being in front of people).

I think my talk went well on Saturday - people came up to me and told me that they really enjoyed it and I'm hoping they don't just do that to be nice. Cause if I didn't enjoy a talk I wouldn't bother. One woman came up to me and told me that it was exactly what she needed to hear and that made me happy because I had been praying all day for that, to say the things that people needed to hear.

In addition to teaching those two lessons I was also asked to give the closing prayer at the meeting in the Priesthood Room on our Stake Temple day and of course, asked to speak in the Richmond Stake Conference...But hey, I got the answer I had been ready for.

1 comment:

Joanna & Ben said...

I'm proud of you Jess, knowing me, I would have just stood up there and cried, I hate talking in front of people.

The Village


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