By Joy Simons

We all get nervous before we speak. From teaching a small group to addressing a crowd, if we cease to be a little nervous or excited maybe we have ceased to care about the people we’re talking to. We’re all here because we do care. So, the question is; how can we overcome our anxiety?

Clothed with the Character and Humility of Christ

Worldly wisdom offers a few solutions like, “Imagine your audience in their underwear.” Considering we the speakers are often the ones that feel exposed, the matter is just as often in the attire of the speaker as the listener.

The Bible calls us to:

“…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 NIV

Being clothed with the character and humility of Christ puts us in the best position to serve our listener and to empower them.

Eye Contact is Crucial

Secondly, eye contact is crucial. If you never look your audience in the eye, they’ll get restless and your words will fall on distracted ears. As the scripture teaches, your eyes are the light and window to your soul (Matthew 6:22-23). Your direct eye contact, while speaking, shines light and shows them the depth of your caring.

Chosen by God to Speak

So, what now? We’ve been chosen by God to speak. One thing about God – He wants the whole world to know Him and, if He’s chosen us, He’ll make sure we have all we need to get the job done.

The Lord said to [Moses], “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” (Exodus 4:11-12)

Being chosen to speak is being willing to speak, even when your knees are knocking. What our spirit, in communion with Holy Spirit, has to say is what carries the day. I am naturally an introvert. I’m perfectly happy to sit in my office alone and work all day. When I speak or perform, everything in me wants to stay home. I get in the car and go against my will. However, once I open my mouth and begin to speak, God blesses me. My physical act of obedience brings excitement and passion into the talk and I’m energized and happy. It’s not my nature, it’s His.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

We know God is truth; that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). Two-thousand years ago Jesus said,

My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

If God hasn’t changed, then His promises are for us as much as the Corinthians. In the same letter Paul writes:

For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

His Word builds a fortress of strength for us. No matter how we feel, He will uphold us with His righteous right hand. He will even give us the words to say. We will succeed because His grace is sufficient for us, made perfect to overcome our nervousness. We know this because all His promises to us are “yes, yes, yes.”

So, let your audience keep their clothes on. Look them in the eye and know the God we serve is faithful to complete the work He started. Moreover, allow the presence of Christ to cover you and extend His peace. Abide in His LOVE and let His love flow through you. He chose us to speak. He will stand with us, put His words in us, and with HIM we will succeed.

Joy Simons is a coach for Chosen to Speak and the author of several books.