Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gifted or Blessed?

I'm heading down to a presentation opportunity in Texas--later today, in fact.  I'm not nervous precisely, but I know I'm not as good or smooth of a public speaker as my heroes* are, and I suffer in the comparison.

What am I most afraid of?  I don't want for them to regret having offered me my first chance to keynote.  I find myself putting on a brave exterior--already mentally practicing my confidence as I enter the reception tomorrow night and smile and shake hands with lots of people--but on the inside I am not secure.  I know they like me, I just don't know that they are still happy to have chosen me to Keynote.  They consider me a "gifted presenter" . . . what happens when they find out that I'm just an ordinary presenter who's learned some good tricks?

The Holy Spirit tapped me this morning and had me consider how I felt when they asked me to come to Texas, first as "Featured Presenter" and now as "Keynote Speaker."  Did I feel like it was my just desserts for doing a good job with my other sessions?  No!  Not at all!  I was overcome with awareness of blessing.  "'Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.'"

One explanation for being invited to keynote is that I'm just that good--my giftedness is opening new doors.  Every good gift comes from God, so that's not a less-pious explanation than blessing, but I'd rather have God's blessing than God's gift (I think right now I have both). 

When the achievement of being honored is based on my talent, that's a bit more secure.  I can have an easy grace and confidence because I really am that good.  If they don't like me, there are others who will recognize my gift and life will go on.  With blessing, on the other hand, I don't know if I can ever get used to the honors and accolades.  How can I, when I feel like an impostor who gets invited to all these great events and nobody seems to realize that I'm not "all that," after all?

With blessing, I remember who got me the job and lay responsibility back at His feet.  "Lord, standing up here is your blessing to me.  How people perceive me has some to do with my performance and lots to do with your blessing."  I have worked HARD on this keynote, and I'm ready.  But the outcome of the venture does not rest in my hands.

I'm blessed!

*My heroes, in the public speaking category anyway, are the TED Talks.  I have them in my iTunes podcast and I watch them for inspiration.  (I also pick out the best of them to show my students at the high school.)  None of them are longer than 20 minutes, and they are really amazing.  If I were you I'd start with a podcast called "A Taste of TED Talks" because those are pre-selected to be some of the best. 

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