You Can Sit There, But Don’t Look At Me

Of all the things in the world that cause deep, visceral fear in people, one that’s greater than the fear of death is the fear of speaking before a crowd.

With every eye on you. Every face turned towards you.  Center of attention.

My stomach turns just thinking about it.

And I have to do it in a few days.images-1

I’m fascinated by folks who speak regularly. Pastors. Traveling speakers. Professors. They seem to have a nerveless and relaxed demeanor as they stand before audiences. Confident in their words. Their gestures. Their intonation. Not something forced or practiced to the point of it seeming robotic, but fluid and seamless. So many hardly refer to notes–if they have any at all. They walk casually around the platform, addressing, eyeball to eyeball, different people in the audience. Engaged and engaging.

Piece of cake.

There’s a reason folks are fearful of speaking in front of others. You’re totally exposed for who you are. Like the Emperor in the old children’s fairy tale whose new clothes weren’t there at all. He’d conned himself into believing what he himself couldn’t see. Because who, in their right mind, would let an Emperor walk through his kingdom naked? images-3

I assure you I am and will be fully clothed. But those listening to you see you for who you really are. It’s hard to pull the wool over the eyes of an entire audience.

Someone is bound to see through any mask I try to wear.

Then there’s the fear that folks won’t like what I say. Or not show up because they know it’s only me speaking. The specter of the scores of empty imgresseats.

Fear layered on fear.

So I’m preparing for the twitchy knees. The inability to swallow my spit appropriately without making loud sounds. The good chance that nerves will drive me to speak things I’m not prepared to say. I do have a lot of words. Fear tends to overwhelm the filter not to babble.

The bottom line is: Am I going to let fear keep me from doing what I know I need to do?

On many days, my answer could be a resounding, Of course I am! I’m afraid!

But God has given me what I need to do what He’s asked me to do.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.”   Isaiah 41:10

Fear is my reality, but my greater reality is my audience of One. The One for whom and to whom I speak. I may not like the process. I may not enjoy it. But I’ll do it because He’s asked me to do it. A matter of discipline and obedience. And growth.

And He’s with me. I’m not alone up there.

I can’t let my fear define me.

Twitchy knees and all. This talk will happen.


First photo courtesy of

Second photo courtesy of

Third photo courtesy of




14 responses to “You Can Sit There, But Don’t Look At Me”

  1. You will hit it out of the park. God is faithful and you are obedient!


    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Jan. I know your heart is with me in this–and I appreciate it.


  2. Fear is also a reality to me, Dayle and don’t quit because of it. Take HEART because of WHO is with you. Because remember WHO asked you to do this in the first place! Blessings as you do – I’ll PRAY!


    1. Thanks for your prayers, Lois. They’re so needed–and so very appreciated.


  3. Dayle, you know I journey the same road as you on this one. You are so good at breaking down the exact feelings.
    I know you have a worthy message to give. Be yourself. That is what people love and what He will use.


    1. Thanks for those kind words, Christy. Fear is such an overwhelming wet blanket at times–almost suffocating. I appreciate that you understand and empathize with me on this. But it’s still an area Jesus has already overcome! I just need to live that truth.


  4. Penny Gulbranson Avatar
    Penny Gulbranson

    You will be great because you will be you…and people love you as well as what you have to say. You really are a good speaker and you are authentic as you tell what it right and true. Prayers for you even as I type, my friend.


    1. Oh, Pen, that means the world. I value and appreciate your prayers and your encouragement. As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, it’s so much easier to believe the bad. Thanks for being with me in this.


  5. “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” You are a courageous woman, Dayle, and I am grateful for your words… written, spoken, and especially shared over a cup of coffee. 🙂 That talk will happen… and it will be powerful.


    1. I love that quote! Courage is fear that’s said it’s prayers. Males sense. Fear is a reality–not a barrier to trying or something that defines me. Thanks for reminding me of truth, my friend. And we do need to get that cup of coffee.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dayle, I’ve heard you many times and each time God speaks THROUGH this fear you speak about in this blog. I look forward to hearing what He has to say through you tomorrow! You never look fearful, even if your heart is pounding! Love you, love your heart!


    1. You believe in my possibilities–that says so much. Thank you.


  7. What? I never would have guessed you don’t love being up front because you’re a natural. You always speak with wisdom and authenticity. I’d listen to you any day.


    1. Don’t like it. Never have. The whole center of attention thing. But I appreciate your encouragement. Really. One of the reasons I enjoy listening to you is that you make it seem so easy and real and fresh. Always. Me? I’d just as soon sit back and listen.


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