A Way to Handle Nerves in Public

I’ve had a breakthrough! I’m learning to handle the nervousness of speaking in front of audiences and on the radio after nearly making myself sick. It’s terrifying! You shake and stutter and realize you’re going to make a fool of yourself, so you wonder why in the world you would do this.

Early on in the book publishing journey, I began to pray from Psalm 25:12 where we’re told the Lord “will instruct [you] in the way chosen for [you].” I needed instruction on how to do some of the things this new adventure would bring. Things like radio interviews. Things like speaking on stage to more and more people. Things like public appearances and book signings. Teach me, God! How do I handle the nerves?

Are you ready for the breakthrough? Well, as I asked God to teach me how to do this, I remembered that God had given me a great gift of teaching. I am confident and joyful as a teacher. I’m a teacher at heart; I’m a teacher through and through. When I’m with my students, I feel 100% like myself. No nerves, no shaking, no sickness. I just get up there and go, like a racehorse freed from the gate. So I began to reframe all of these activities back to God’s gifting. I had to remember teaching. 

What if I saw all this activity as teaching? It’s not a speaking event or an interview; it’s teaching. 

Teaching is always about something other than myself. It’s about the Subject Matter. Speaking and interviews put the attention on me instead of the subject matter. But when I’m teaching, I can shift all the attention to the subject at hand–God–and live without self-consciousness or anxiety.

I began to think of everything as teaching instead of public appearances or interviews.

Maybe reframing what you’re doing will benefit you as well. You’re not doing this public thing that terrifies you; you’re doing something else that you feel confident about.

The reframing has worked so far. It has helped me become more brave, more self-forgetful, and more focused on God instead of myself.

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