Operating outside of my gifts

Last week was our last week of Awana, where I’ve been volunteering as a Sparks leader for the last 9 months. I received a sweet e-mail from one of the directors, asking me if I would stand up at the Awards Ceremony and give a little speech about what it’s like to be a leader.

Let me be clear. Stand up in front of, you know, people. Not just little Sparkies, but all of Awana, and the parents. We have a large church, and a good sized Awana group. Therefore, a lot of eyes would be trained on me.

I stared at the screen. And blinked. Then blinked some more. The first thing that I thought of, was, that the only thing right off the top of my head that I could say would be along the lines of:

OH, THANK GOD IT’S OVER! THAT WAS A LONG 9 MONTHS. I DIDN’T THINK I WOULD MAKE IT. BUT, WOO HOO, NO CHILDREN WERE MAIMED OR INJURED UNDER MY CARE!!!!

And then fear set in. How could I possible agree to this? We all know that I tend to say really inappropriate things when I’m nervous. And, if I’m really really scared, I curse. Not a lot. Just one or two words. But they are really bad two dollar words. Fiddledaddy knows this as fact, and has taken to scaring me just for the chuckle. (Never when the children are present….he knows better.)

He says, while tears are shooting from his eyes, that it’s like a rare form of terets that I have. The cursing when scared. And it never fails to amuse him.

This could be really really bad at, say, a church event. In front of a microphone. And Christians.

I’m pretty crazy about this church, and would hate to have to find a new one.

So, I prayed about the situation. And once again, I felt God nudging me out of my comfort zone. Public speaking is definitely a county over from my comfort arena.

So, I said “yes.” Because that’s what crazy people do.

I had about a day to prepare. Which was just enough time to obsess and freak out. And what do I say?

These people in leadership at my church know me. Some have admitted they read the blog. They know what I’m capable of. And yet, they still speak to me.

Which just goes to show you that the brother and sisterly Christian love in this church knows no bounds.

So, I sat behind my keyboard (where I’m right at home) on the day of the program, and wrote a little speech. As you might well imagine, it was sprinkled with a bit of humor.

About how, for example, looking at the leadership pool at the beginning of the year, as opposed to now, we began to resemble “Survivor” more than Awana.

Cue the crickets.

And how if I could be a leader, anyone could do it, because as long as at evenings end, no one was bleeding, and I ended up with the same number of children that I started with, I thought I was doing a good job.

A pin dropped somewhere in the back of the house.

I’m exaggerating a bit. I know. That’s unusual for me. While a good majority of the audience (mostly the men folk) did not get my sense of humor at all, which I could sense from their puzzled faces, the women did. And they chuckled appropriately.

Which is what counts. I’m the voice of the women folk.

Fortunately, a bit later in the program, they scheduled another speaker who was very eloquent and knew a lot of scripture which she quoted liberally.

It is Awana, after all. So, I don’t think I stunk up the room too badly. The evening was redeemed.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

It is no coincidence, but that is my children’s favorite verse.

Will God continue to nudge me out of my comfort zone? I’m quite sure He will. But next time, I’m bringing my own brown paper bag to breathe into. And an air horn, just in case I need to censor myself.

Anyone (particularly a church group) that wants to book me for a speaking engagement, should call 1-800-rent-a-dork. And yes, I will work for food.

17 Responses to Operating outside of my gifts

  • You make me laugh, woman. Seriously. And I swear sometimes too, and not just when I’m scared. Don’t tell anyone, though. People don’t like Llamas already…but SWEARING llamas, whoo boy…

  • Good for you for stepping outside your comfort zone. I think it is a great way to show our children what we are capable of and that church should be a comfortable place to do it. We always say that our church is our safe place and that each person there cares about us and will support our efforts. Plus, you deserve credit for volunteering all year long, so people should recognize your efforts as well. Have a great day! I am off to VBS, where I am the song leader and co-director (a little out of my comfort zone as well!) Oh, and Joshua 1:9 has made a great song for our VBS!

  • I to am glad that Awana is over. It is one of those things that I love and dread all at the same time. By the way, I called 1-800-rent-a-dork and they said that you were no longer working there. =)

  • Comfort Zone Schmumfort Zone! I’m sure you were brilliant! Those menfolk just don’t get funny ladies…hence the Mars/Venus thing.

  • I love the air horn idea! Won’t that wake up a congregation?! :oD Those moments God has me step out of my box are some of the scariest I can remember! It’s always a great feeling when He gets you through it though!

  • Parise God You did it and the Lord was with you the whole time inspite of you fears you trusted in him to pull you thorugh and he never fells us.
    Ok ,what is awana never have herd of it
    am I out of the loop?marina

  • This made me smile because I just experienced something similar over the last few weeks. Public speaking is not my forte, but I received an invitation to two different things twice in one day. A friend said, “Maybe the Lord’s trying to tell you something.” I thought, “Oh, I hope not!!” There are many things where I feel full freedom in the Lord to say no, but I just felt led to say yes to both invitations this time, though they scared me to death. I thought the same thing you mentioned — that God sometimes pulls us out of our comfort zones. Maybe it’s to stretch us and give us news areas in which to trust Him. But I hope I am stretched enough for a while. 🙂

  • I just love your sense of humor — you’re just a little warped like me, sister! I would have laughed out loud (I mean LOUD) at your Awana “funnies”. Too cute — thanks for sharing, as always! And enjoy your Awana-free summer.

  • Our favorite verse! Oh yes, more than once God has pushed me out of my comfort zone–interesting thing is the comfort zone is growing.

  • God appreciates your sense of humor. That’s why He chose you!

  • I love the irony of the entire evening, DeeDee. That’ll teach you. Mainly to say “no” next time or to steal that woman’s speech.

  • I totally appreciate everything you expressed about being a Sparks leader because I have been one too. I remember thinking “whoo-hoo” when the school year was over, but then signing up again in the fall so I could see the excitement in the kids when they came to say what they had learned from God’s word. It is worth it. I’m proud of you that you listened to (and acted on) what God told you to do =)

  • I had a good belly laugh after reading this post! My daughter was the cubby leader for a couple of years and I’d help out on occasion. Oh.My.Word. I came home every single time with a killer headache. AWANA resembles semi-controlled chaos. So I know from whence you speak.

  • Actually my husband thinks you are really funny. Of course he picked me so this shows you his tastes is on the strange side.
    I say bring the air horn anyway – if nothing else you’ll wake em up!

  • I curse when I play Scrabble. It seems that I only know how to spell four-letter-words. By the way, I LOVE your blog. Thank you for entertaining me.

  • I love to read your blog, you always make me smile and laugh. Thanks. Good for you, for getting out of your comfort zone.

  • For seventeen years I have delivered the speech for our Awana group. And for seventeen years I have stood up on the stage with my knees a knocking and little beads of sweat forming on my upper lip as my quivering, squeaky voice reminisced about the little ankle biters and the fun antics we endured!

    This year I was smart and decided to have a co-director in Chums! And I willingly passed the torch over to her and let her give this years speech. What a difference to sit back and enjoy the ceremony instead of sitting there worrying about what you’re going to say!

    How big is your Awana group? Ours is a little over 225 or so. And when we have the ending program we have over 500 people. To me, that is a lot!