Two weeks ago, for an upcoming AY program, I volunteered to be the one to give a short devotion before the closing song. I needed the practice, and I wanted to share from the intriguing daily devotional I’ve been flipping through for the last several months, so there was no better time.
I went all out prepping myself for this. I read the devotion to myself a couple of times. I turned to the folks off Stutter Community Group Facebook page for advice. I listened to a recording of me reading, as well as myself on video. Even Rewatched a couple scenes of the film The King’s Speech for inspiration. The day of I had written little, light marks in the devotional using a pencil. Marks to remind me when to breath and when to stretch out sounds and words. Fluency was my goal.
Did I stutter the night of- yes. I couldn’t quite stick to the planned breaths and elongated words. To spare my audience the time, I summarized a few lines of the message. At least I had the heart to go up there voluntarily and do something outside my comfort zone. Having my girlfriend there to support and reassure that I did fine reassured me. But something small was tugging at away at me saying I could have done better. My goal was to not to stutter at all, but I understand now that I was expecting too much of myself. After all it was my first time reading a one page devotion in front of a group of people. If I know God well enough, I know that He would want me to have faith in Him, but at the same time to understand that good things happen in good time. So that is just what I’m going to do. I won’t be discouraged from going up there again to do what I did. I shall continue doing the following methods:
- Practice reading aloud
- Record myself so I can listen to my speaking
- Practice in the mirror so I can see my lips moving
- Identity what words/sounds I struggle on
- Elongate; exaggerate my words so they come out easily
- Remember to take a breath when needed
- Not worry about stuttering
Now here comes the tough part to write about. This morning, as I lay in bed watching the ceiling fan go round and round, I wondered where my heart was when I was preparing for and playing my part in last week’s AY program. It’s good that I want to be a better speaker, but last week where was my focus? Shouldn’t I be more concerned about spreading the gospel? Shouldn’t I care more about if others receive a blessing hearing about Him? Rather than what someone may think about my speech impediment? Often we get so caught up in ourselves; our insecurities, that we forget that God is much bigger and more important.
Sometimes I’m going to be discouraged. And sometimes I’m going to question why I’m doing what I do. But no matter whether my speech agrees with me or not, I am going to remember that in the end it is and must be about Christ.