In case you just happened to stubble across my blog through google, I will explain something. In our church we have a lay ministry, meaning no one is paid to serve. We call our pastor a Bishop and he holds a regular job. He does not write a sermon every week, instead we take turn giving a sermon or a talk. Usually 2-3 teenagers or adults speak any given sunday. Teenagers are usually asked to speak for 5 minutes, while adults are asked to speak somewhere between 15-20 minutes. I'm not sure what other people's lives are like but my husband and I normally are asked to give a talk about every two years, if you move its more likely. For example you may be asked to speak before you move and in your new ward or congregation after you move..
The other night I complained to my husband its not fair. You jot down some bullet points and get up there and give the fun talk. You always pull out some story that I've never even heard even though we've been married for more than a decade, and everyone thinks you are fun. I write 2-4 rough drafts, lose sleep. Then while you are sleeping I type up a 7 page talk. You share the fun story, and I talk about how I better came to know God as I struggled with depression or something equally as lame. You get to look like the fun one and I get weepy.
My husband started laughing and said,"the jokes on them, I'm not the fun one".
For the sake of posterity I thought it would be fun to tell my process.
I am given a topic and I start researching it usually that day if not the next day or so. I let it mull around in my head for a while. Then I hammer out a talk in the next day or two. I like to get my to do list done, unless its cleaning then I like to stare at my phone. I get a rough draft typed and I think good, now I don't have to worry about it for the next week. A day or so later I then can't sleep and write an emotional mess of my deepest convictions. The next morning I think that would not be what should be shared in a public form, that must be for my journal. (No I do not have these things organized in a journal if I did do you think I would be blogging?) I am not embarrassed at all by my second draft and would be willing to share it with people in a smaller setting its just not really proper for a large group. I continue to jot down notes during this time, and then a night or two before I speak I sit down and write a combination of the two talks into something nice and flowing. Something far too long to give in 20 minutes.
Then, when I get up there I don't even know what I've said. I try to listen to the Holy Spirit and give the talk the Lord wants me to give. I mostly go off my notes, but I differently. I share more then is written and also less than is written at the same time. I don't even know what I've said half the time. Although I look out over the congregation while I speak I try not really to make eye contact. Once I sit down I look out at the congregation again except this time they aren't looking back at me, and I wonder what in the world did I tell those people because I can't remember, and I know its not the talk I prepared.
Two talks ago, I decided wrote a talk. First Draft. I knew it wasn't the talk the Lord wanted me to give, but it was the talk I wanted to give. It was filled with mostly quotes from church leaders, and absolutely NO personal stories. It was wonderfully vague and full of doctrine. As the day of my speaking assignment got closer I wasn't sleeping well. The night before I said, ok, fine, I'll write the talk you have been telling me to write. It was chalked FULL of personal antidotes and fewer doctrinal quotes (still plenty). I was not thrilled and I had known plenty of my fellow saints for about 4 years so I told them that this was not the talk I wanted to give but it was the talk I felt like the Holy Ghost told me to give, so here it goes...
Of coursed everyone liked it, I don't mean that pridefully. Even though it sounds like that. For whatever reason as a teenager I was usually asked to speak twice a year, and by the time I was 17, I had the opportunity to give a 25 minute talk. I come from a long line of eloquent speakers. Saying public speaking is one of my talents is like saying the starter of the high school basketball team is good at sports. Not only was it something I was born with and have worked on over the years. I really don't say this pridefully.
Anyway, so the last time I talked I sat down looked out over the congregation and there a few people visibly crying, like Kleenexes wiping eyes and such. And I thought oh golly gee! What did I just tell these people? The last time I talked I knew the Lord would inspire me to share a personal trial so I thought ok, I'm ready. I prepared it a mix of the way my husband does and I do. Then the day before my talk I was kind of having a melt down. My husband said what is wrong, I said its bath night, we have no food, and I still haven't prepared my talk. Before I said that I thought I did. So he bathed the kids while I went grocery shopping. Then he went to bed while I hammered out my 7 page talk. Yes, the Lord and I have a pattern. I wish we could skip to the third draft, but he is apparently more concerned about me learning than my ease. I should just accept this method as our relationship and stop being jealous of my husband's. For one, he works better on the fly than I do, he likes working under pressure, I like being prepared. He doesn't ever take notes when he is in school. When I was in school I took notes over everything the professor said then reread them and my textbook before a test. Clearly my husband and I have a different learning pattern.
The most awkward part is, Later a friend said, your talk was so good. Thank you. You are a really good public speaker. Thank you. Your husband is too. A follow with what I thought was a sheepish smile while I tried to come up with a response. All of a sudden she excitedly says, you already know that don't you?! How do you response to that?
Funny thing is I can't actually remember being nervous to give a talk. I'm sure in my past I was, as a child in Primary I know I was. Last time I was speaking, I lifted my hand up, I often talk with my hands. When all of sudden I realized it was shaking uncontrollably. So I gently put it back down on the podium and hoped no one noticed. As long as it was on the podium the shaking was contained. I later mentioned it to my husband, he totally noticed. I don't mind scripted public speaking even if I go off topic, but I do hate saying prayers in public. I'd rather always prepare a lesson or talk. A year ago I had to realize no one, I mean no one ever remembers a prayer, unless they are too long. So I'm good. Its helped me not hate saying them, but I don't volunteer, that and reading aloud. As a dyslexic I never volunteer to read out loud.