How I Overcame my Fear of Speaking – Matthew 22:36-40

I was shy, and afraid that if something didn’t change, my social discomfort would only grow worse. At nineteen, I was on my own for the first time. How could I learn to talk to people? It seemed the more I tried, the more I bumbled around and embarrassed myself.

I prayed for a solution.

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It wasn’t shyness

My Aha! moment came when I recognized my problem wasn’t shyness at all. It was that I worried too much about what people thought of me. I made excuses so I could avoid talking to people who might spot my insecurity. It was all about me.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV).

Coming out of fear

I prepared myself by storing a question in my back pocket that I could use when an encounter became uncomfortable. Since I’m fascinated by the origin of words, I planned to inform people about the meaning of their name. This seemed like a perfect way to use my strong suit, something I was comfortable talking about, to benefit someone else.

I compiled a list, looked up the root meanings in my grandma’s old dictionary, and found an encouraging Bible verse to pin on to each entry. Then I added a simple interpretation for each name.

The next time I was confronted with an awkward silence, I asked: “Do you know what your name means?

It worked!

I was thrilled with the response. It was a great way for my hearers to see that I was engaged with them. And if I was unfamiliar with their name’s meaning, I’d offer to get back to them after doing more research. That meant I would get even more speaking practice.

An example of how this works 

My name means that I am pure because of the Lamb of God. In addition to this, part of my name means he gives me the ability to protect and counsel. This interpretation lines up with my commitment to my marriage, family, and foster children.

Here’s how it breaks down. My first name, Kathleen, is from Catherine which originates from the Greek katheros, meaning pure. My middle name, Rae, is derived from Rachel, meaning ewe lamb. However, in my case, Rae came to me from my father’s middle name, Raymond, which is from Germanic words that mean counsel and protection.

The scripture I chose: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 ESV).

I’d love to hear of creative ways others have overcome obstacles. Feel free to leave a comment below.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Looks Don’t Kill, Words Do – Proverbs 18:21

I had a nightmare about how my mocking destroyed my friend, and the image of her suffering is with me to this day. It opened my eyes at a young age to the power of words.

Muscle boy .torvaldLekvam. free Img

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).

In first grade my best friend was an eight-inch Betsy McCall doll. She had dark hair like mine, and a cute little outfit consisting of a pinafore over cropped pants. Her most remarkable feature, however, was her jointed knees which enabled her to sit naturally. I liked positioning her on the edge of my dresser as I got ready for school, where she could admire everything I did.

In my dream she is perched in her place, her head tilted, as usual. She looks at me sweetly, but I am making fun of the hinges in her knees. I laugh at her, telling her she’s ugly, and she slumps and caves into herself, right before my eyes. She keeps her sweet expression, but the damage is done.

Exercising the power of life in my words

This week I am making headway repairing cracks I caused in a relationship because of something I said years ago. The damage only recently came to my attention, and thankfully, understanding followed. Jesus made it clear I am to love my neighbor like I love myself so my efforts to mend the relationship are entirely worthwhile.

The Amplified Version says,

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words” (Proverbs 18:21 AMP).

I’m looking forward to enjoying the fruit of gracious words.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

When to Zip It – Proverbs 17

I can’t seem to avoid reminders about holding my tongue. I hope it’s because I’m so good at it.

“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam, so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14 NIV).

used by permission Cads.stockxchng

used by permission Cads.stockxchng

Before a dispute breaks out? That means to resist saying that one-more-thing that might cause a serious crack in a relationship, and even bring a rush of unstoppable destruction.

“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” (verse 28).

This might be my favorite proverb of all time. I may behave foolishly, but I can appear wise if I’m careful with my words. I think being watchful of their effect is what helps me to be less destructive and more encouraging to others.

“A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool” (verse 10).

Verse 10 speaks for itself, doesn’t it! I want to welcome the rebuke that helps me do better and I hope to be a woman of discernment. I’ve seen enough damage to motivate me to keep the dam in good repair.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis