WOW, WHAT A NIGHT. We just had the first Thursday session of our One Life to Live seminar series and it was just…WOW! God is so good. We had lots of fun–the people were so ‘game’, Pastor Paolo‘s message was great, and we were blessed by Alexis Edralin’s testimony. Rob Johnson and I had the honor of hosting the event and I tell you…God has a sense of humor, and He really loves a good laugh. :-D
Rob and I are not hosts. We’ve never hosted before (at least Rob claims he never did!). Okay, on second thought, I take it back. I hosted my first Kids Church session a month ago, but that’s it, and that was a whole different ballgame. So when Rob and I met up a couple of hours before the seminar started to “get our act together”, we must’ve burst into laughter several times. Then we’d shake our heads, and sigh. Then try again. Then laugh some more.
Did I mention that I’m supposed to be a professional trainer and motivational speaker?
Someone once asked me if I enjoyed public speaking, and I laughed. The truth is, unlike most public speakers who get a thrill out of being on stage, I am PETRIFIED of public speaking. Right before I do a speech or a talk, I feel my heart palpitate. I KID YOU NOT. Some people might think I’m just doing that false humility thing BUT PLEASE PLEASE TRUST ME I really really am PETRIFIED! And yet…I do it anyway!
Over the last 9 months since I’ve left a full-time job to pursue the vision of becoming a teacher, I’ve been doing talks here and there, sometimes in front of 3 people, one time in front of 3,000. I do all sorts of talks geared towards the youth…I do career talks, leadership talks, talks for True Love Waits, etc. Whenever I get an invitation, I pray about it, and if I feel I’m being led by God to go, I go.
I feel that at this point you might be either rolling your eyes in disbelief OR scratching your heads, confused and wondering why on earth I keep doing it and how I get away with doing it if I’m really as nervous as I say I am.
Hold on…I’m getting there…
If it were just up to me and my own skills, I’m telling you now, there’s no way I could pull any of these things off. If you could feel my heart beating frantically right before I go up on stage, maybe you would believe me. I pace around a lot before I go up on stage because it’s the only way that I can calm my nerves. I pray…A LOT. And I hold on to this verse for dear life:
is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9a
Public speaking makes me so nervous but here’s why I keep doing it: the times that I do it are some of the times that I feel closest to God. Because every time I hold a microphone and open my mouth, I am at my weakest state, and I know that from that point on, it’s God working through me.
I first discovered this when I did my first major talk before 3000 high school students at the Department of Education’s National Leadership Training Seminar in Baguio. That opportunity was totally unexpected. I feel like it just fell into my lap (my gratitude goes out to my amazing mentor Anthony Pangilinan and my awesome ‘training teammates’ Donita and Eric Villarama). At that point, I just wanted to be a teacher, and I never imagined that I would be a trainer/speaker and that my first talk would be in front of thousands of people. So to calm myself down, I kept telling myself over and over, “If God brought me to it, He would equip me for it!”
But the night before the talk, I was still so nervous, and I came to a point where I held my hands up in surrender and said, “Lord, by my own strength, there’s no way on earth that I could pull this off. But you said in your Word that Your power is made perfect in my weakness. WELL…I’m feel pretty weak at this, so I’m assuming that this is the part where You’re going to show Your power! Tell you what…I’m just going to face my fears and stand there and let You use me.”
The amazing part was that, the next day, right before I stepped out on stage, I suddenly felt peace, joy, and excitement. If you think about it, the only thing I really had going for me was my faith, which, at times, felt like it was as small as a mustard seed. But whaddyaknow…God works with that, too!
It’s really a difficult experience to describe, but I once described it as “being out of control.” Some people, when they’re “out of control”, end up literally spinning out of control. They crash and burn. But this kind that I’m talking about, it’s different. I’m talking about relinquishing control over my own life and turning it over to God. And contrary to what our fears tell us, it’s actually both safe and liberating, and it feels good AND right. It’s as if you’re running on your optimum level with minimum effort. It’s as if you’re speeding down a highway and everything is going great, not because you’re a driver with awesome driving skills, but because you’re the car and you were built, tuned, and conditioned to run on THIS highway at THIS time, and to top it all off, the Best Driver in the world is behind the wheel.
Do you remember that part in the movie Cars, where Lightning McQueen hits the highway for the first time and feels a rush unlike any other?
Am I the only one who does this, or do you often daydream and wish that you could run as fast as you can on a deserted highway and scream on the top of your lungs and let the cool, fresh air embrace you?
I think about that all the time, and I really wish it were possible to do that here in this country. But the whole point of that dream is that I believe that each one of us has a desire to be set free and just BE.
Not just be anything.
Not just be random.
Not just be an accident.
Not just be wandering.
Not just be pretending.
Not just be struggling.
BEING who you are.
BEING who you were made to be.
BEING who you were meant to be.
BEING who you were shaped to be.
BEING by living.
BEING by living an uncommon life.
Your life that affects others.
Your life that includes others.
Your life that inspires others.
Your life that moves others.
The life that you were made for.
The life that you were meant for.
The life that you were created for.
I believe that every person has something unique and special in store for him or her. I believe that there is no such thing as small jobs or small dreams, because God has created a world where all the bases are covered and all people are designed to live out their God-given desires, dreams, and purposes, no matter how random and radically different they may be. I believe that each person has his or her own story to live, and although the stories all vary and may not be what we expect them to be, those stories can all be beautiful. I believe that every day, every person is given lots of opportunities to be a blessing to others, but the big difference lies in whether the person chooses to seize and embrace those opportunities and not just live to please oneself. Even if it means having to face one’s worst fears. ESPECIALLY if it means having to face one’s worst fears.
We all just have one life to live, and I believe that this is the best way to live it: I believe that every person who will choose to be “out of control” AND “in with God” will be in for the ride of his or her life, because we can trust in Him and His good, pleasing, and perfect will. There’s no way anything can possibly be better than that! When I finally realized this, I knew that there was no turning back and there was no way I could live my life any other way.
So that, my dear friends, is the reason why I keep on stepping on that stage…and I hope I’ll never ever forget that. :-)
Thank you, Lord. So much.
How about you? What are the things that get you “out of control” and “in with God?” Let me encourage you…go and do one of them today!
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” -Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)