A few months ago, I was invited to give my first public talk since I stopped pastoring. There are so many things about public speaking, which make me nervous. It is not that I cannot speak publicly, it was that for the longest time I took others response to my sermons or talks as an evaluation of my message. It was as if I was giving others the power to tell me when I was doing a good job and when I was not. I struggled with my response to others applause and comments, or lack thereof. I was intentionally working on moving to the place where my self-evaluation was unrelated to the evaluation of others, albeit positive or negative. There were times people would clap wildly, jump to their feet, yell out “you betta say that Pastor” or some other expression. I struggled with how much value I placed on their reaction.
Recently, I had an epiphany. People’s applause of me, has nothing to do with me. it is all about those who are reading my words or listening to me speak. So when you read my blog and write me and tell me how awesome it is, that is about you, not me. These are just the meditations of my heart. The words I feel a need to express. That they make you want to say something is about you. It is not that you are applauding me, you are applauding yourself. So when I write or speak something and you want to comment or applaud that is because something I said or the way I said it triggered something in your heart. When what I write or say does not resonate with you, you tend to reserve your comments or applause. That too is about you.
When I stopped thinking others comments or applause had anything to do with me it restored the joy in sharing the meditations of my heart. Now when I talk or write and others applaud or comment, I know it is because I found a way of saying something you already knew or believed. I just reminded you of what you already knew. Helping myself release the fear of how other people may respond has enabled me to move beyond the fear to a deeper space of joy.