Each one of us encounter redefining moments in our lives. Some we may see coming but others hit us as hard as a foul ball at a little league baseball game.
Completely off target.
Yet, oh so memorable…even if it replays continually on the jumbo screen…or Facebook…
A few months ago I was a finalist competing at the district 84 Humorous speech competition of Toastmasters International. I had absolutely no clue what it was that I had somehow gotten myself into. I simply joined Toastmasters a few months prior to practice public speaking. I was told great fascinating details about a “small, easy humorous speech contest.” So, what started as a room of 9-10 people, became a resteraunt of 30-40, to a dining hall of close to 100 and the finals at a conference of over 400 Toastmasters.
Note to self – check where the river is flowing next time before jumping in.
PS – Don’t forget your float…and a backup air pump.
I peered into the crowded conference hall. It was a formal night. Tuxedos and dresses seemed to flow as far as my eyes could see. My heart literally felt like it could stop. I sank down in my dress, a last-second Goodwill find and questioned if I even belonged at such a professional gathering.
Here I was. An outsider in “their” world. I had only completed a handful of speeches, this was my first conference ever and I had been through a week of just insane sickness. Why in the world was I here? I didn’t belong. I didn’t feel like I even deserved to speak tonight.
I needed help.
I retreated to my safe place.
The women’s restroom. (You are smiling, I see you behind your computer screen. Oh, you know this safe haven of bliss all too well).
As I looked into the mirror, I started rehearsing my speech. A few ladies came in and completely seemed un-phased by my spontaneous mirror rehearsal. Perhaps they were accustomed to these bathroom practices at these conferences? Not one stopped to ask if I was ok. Not one stopped, period.
As feet shuffled by, I completed my practice and caught my own reflection in the mirror. As I gazed for just a seconds into the uneasiness of my own eyes, I remember thinking, “Am I ok?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer my own curiosity. Awkward moment indeed.
Yet, I felt God saying, “Oh Bethany, it’s ok to not be ok right now. Just remember Who defines this moment. Not you. Not them. It’s My Word that remains. I am here with you every step of the way.”
And I believed Him. I felt His presence. I smiled into my eyes and my shoulders firmed up. With a deep breath, I rationalized a truth verbally that I’ve known for a long time: Sometimes you got to quit trying to fit in so God can use you to stand-out.
[tweetthis] Sometimes you got to quit trying to fit in so God can use you to stand-out. [/tweetthis]
And God redefined my moment.
We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:1-3 NLT)
I went on to take 2nd place that night. I wish I had that speech recorded, but my week was one of complete chaos. I was more than just unprepared. I was physically, mentally and emotionally empty.. I simply needed Him. I’m so glad it occurred that way. It truly showed me that this was all God, not me. I needed to be humbled in order for Him to get the best of me.
[tweetthis] I needed to be humbled in order for Him to get the best of me. [/tweetthis]
So, here is a video of my humorous speech just prior to the conference. My speech title you ask? Of course – “Redefine Your Life.”