I bombed. Absolutely, positively, bombed. I had an opportunity to speak in front of a speaker’s coach at a conference. It was a simple 5 minute speech. I’ve been speaking since high school and have given hundreds of speeches. and I bombed. And I had prepared! Diligently I had poured over my words and rehearsed them countless times. This was going to be awesome! I’d deliver my speech with authority and excitement in my voice. I’d capture my audience and take them on a journey with me. Except…I bombed.
My nerves got the best of me. The room set up suddenly didn’t work. The kind, caring eyes of my fellow group members suddenly became judgmental (although only in my mind). My voice flattened to monotone. I fumbled with my script. I lost my place. I made every rookie mistake I thought I’d overcome over the years. It wasn’t my best. It wasn’t even my average. It wasn’t even me.
Ever have something similar happen to you?
As I headed back to my hotel room, head hung low, I couldn’t help but focus on the long list of things that had gone wrong and the opportunity it seemed I had failed to seize.
Then it hit me. I suddenly remembered the essence of the message I had attempted to communicate just moments earlier. I am desperate for people to understand that their true worth comes from God’s love and nothing else. I was now in a position to live my message or be a hypocrite. Would I claim my identity as God’s precious and beloved daughter? Or would I continue to try to find my worth in my ability to perform and achieve? Would I rest in the reality that God (and my group members for that matter!) did not love or care about me any less because of this failure? Or would I only be satisfied once I had the approval and affirmation of others? Would I live out the truth that my value is secure in the love of my Savior? Or would I choose to chase value through worldly riches?
The former offered freedom – freedom to live boldly, love fully, and carry out God’s calling confidently. The latter seemed to offer only insecurity, disappointment, and anxiety. The former offered authenticity. The latter offered a shaky façade ready to crumble at any moment. The former offered relationship. The latter offered only isolation. The former offered community. The latter offered competition.
And so I made my choice…
I experienced 71 hours and 55 minutes of wonderful and 5 minutes of awful throughout the 72 hour conference. And yet I learned more in those miserable 5 minutes than the rest of the time combined. I have to live my message. I have to rest in the loving arms of my heavenly Father and trust that my worth and value are secure. I have to walk humbly in my own abilities and confidently stay connected to God’s strength and Spirit in me. I need to live like I really truly believe that His love for me is so great that He sacrificed His only son to be in relationship with me. That kind of love is not based on achievement or accolades or accumulation. It doesn’t increase when I do well and decrease when I do wrong. God’s love never waivers and never changes. God’s kind of love frees from prisons of performance and praise. God’s love changes lives, and changes the world.
Yes, I bombed. And it was beautiful…