Give me a word, Lord: GIFT OF GAB OR TERROR OF TALKING

Exodus 4:10-12 But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”  Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

If you didn’t know me in my early days, you wouldn’t believe that I was the shyest girl in my class. I was deathly afraid to speak in public. I would prefer to dig a hole and crawl inside rather than open my mouth and speak in front of other people. I didn’t just have a little fear of public speaking. I was downright terrified of it. In fact, I had such a fear that I put off going to college for a few years after graduation because I didn’t want to take speech class. That sounds crazy to me now, but at the time, when I weighed my fear of public speaking in one hand and my future career in the other, the fear of public speaking won by leaps and bounds. Fast forward to present day, and I think it is safe to say that I finally found my voice. Yes, God has blessed me with the gift of gab. I have a lot of things to say, and I really need to say them. In fact, I get teased because when I’m trying to say all the stuff that I need to say, I talk rather fast causing people to doubt my southern roots.

Although I’ve been given the gift of gab (and I utilize this gift fervently), I still actually prefer writing my thoughts down to share as opposed to public speaking. It is easier to take pen and paper and let the thoughts pour out. Afterwards, I can read over the words and make corrections and make sure that what I am saying is what I mean to say, whereas once the spoken word is out there, it is there to stay. I had a wonderful teacher in high school named Mr. Jackson who always told us, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” It’s been a few decades since I sat in his class, and those words still run through my mind when I’m preparing to speak.

Moses was chosen by God to deliver His people from captivity in Egypt. God spoke directly to Moses and explained what He wanted Him to do. God said what He meant, and He meant what He said, but how did Moses respond? “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” We have all probably responded this way at one time or another. “Not me, Lord. Anyone but me! You know there is someone out there who is better qualified that I am to do what you want.” Moses was human. He had natural fears, and he voiced those fears to the Lord. But isn’t it interesting how God responded? “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” These words bring this wordy girl confidence and courage.

I love the Lord, and I love to tell others about the Lord, yet there are many times when I feel ill equipped to share. I am afraid that the words will come out wrong. I’m afraid that although I mean what I am saying, I may not say what I mean. But I must confess that it is in those times that God always shows up and shows out. When I am invited to speak at different engagements, I pray that God will give me the words and the boldness to proclaim His Word, He has never failed. When I’m speaking to patients, offering words of encouragement through scripture and prayer, or when I’m not sure what to say, God always provides the words. He never fails. If you want to share the gospel, and let’s face it, that is what we are all called to do, you MUST SHARE THE GOSPEL! You aren’t good with words? That’s okay. God will give you the words. Do you get tongue-tied? Have no fear. God will untie the tightest tongue. Do your words get tangled? God specializes in untangling the tangled webs we weave. It’s okay to express your fears to God. In fact, He wants you to, but it is not okay to let those fears keep you from sharing the gospel.

Whether you have the gift of gab or terror of talking, if you are following the will of our Lord and Savior, He will equip you with the words. God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called. I am living proof of this. You can rest assured that if God tells us to do something, He will make a way for us to do it. He will give you the words. You only have to open your mouth! And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. (Mark 16:15)

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