Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What to say?

As one of the new members of this field, I have been invited to share my testimony and jouney to Mexico at the ladies' meeting tonight (along with the other "new" ladies). The thought of sharing my testimony makes me nervous and has caused quite a bit of anxiety...what to say? It was encouraging to review a couple of other blogs and find out that I am not the only one who is faced with this "dilemma" of what to say...how transparent and open should I be? Public speaking is not my favorite thing to do in the first place since I feel very self-conscious when everyone's focus is on me (why my chosen profession is a teacher is a mystery! but somehow that's different...). And the last few years of my life haven't been very pretty...a lot of struggles in my walk with God, in my marriage and ministry, as a Mom...and while yes, circumstances were difficult, I don't think that all my choices were good ones as I struggled to deal with life. Instead of being open and honest about things, however, in the past I've tended to put on the mask of "All is fine" when all has NOT been fine underneath.

I think one of my biggest fears is rejection...what people will think of me. Will I sound immature, petty, self-centered, whiny if I share about my struggles? Another concern I have is in how much to share...not everyone needs to know all the "gory details" and I certainly don't want to cause any disrespect to my husband by oversharing. I also know that if I share anything more on the personal side, I will probably cry. I don't know why I am so embarrassed by tears in public, but I am (it's something that I'm working on...).

So anyway, I have been sorting through my feelings and fears...separating the legitimate from the rest. And it was neat that one of the topics at a devotional I attended this morning was rejection! The teacher was pointing out that rejection really isn't the main problem, rejection is merely the byproduct of each of us "playing God", setting standards, and then judging whether others have met those standards or not. It boils down to whether I'm living by other people's standards or God's. Where do I find my well-being? What a relief to know I don't have to accept the "rejection"...I don't have to "live" there! Rejection is fueled by fear and who uses that? Lies and Fear are tools from the Other Side to get us down...and besides, all the while I'm focusing on what other people may or may not think (which is really a self-focus), that is time lost from focusing on Christ. One time Miguel gave me some advice..."It's not all about you, Becky!" I don't think I appreciated that at the time, but he was so right. :)

Okay, you caught me rambling here...so, what to say? The question is not so much what do I have to say, but what does God want me to say? I like what He has to say in II Corinthians 1:3-5:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort
we ourselves have received from God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives,
so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

God HAS been a comfort to me and I'm so grateful for His compassion towards me! I have come to thank God for my struggles because without them, I wouldn't have come to know the depth of my need for Him every day. And if sharing some of what I've learned will encourage even just one lady tonight, then it will be worth it!


Ellie said...

Hi Becky,

I so get your nervousness! Ha. Been there. I paced up and down in a friend's kitchen for an hour before I went to bed undecided as to what I would do, how much I would share. Thank God for few good friends, even if they live so far away I only see them maybe once a year.

There is a verse God put showed me once and has been bringing me back to recently.

'Do you not fear Me?' declares the LORD 'Do you not tremble in My presence?For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea,An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it.Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail;Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it. Jer. 5:22

I might blog about this one day soon. I felt exposed and unsafe in public, unsure of myself. If I left myself open to judgment or criticism, I might not be safe. Then I remembered this verse. I like the feeling of being on a beach. I can play there unworried. God put the sand as a boundary for the sea. It can roar and the winds can blow, but it will not step over God's eternal decree.

Be open. Let God be your shield and defender.

Oh yeah, use words carefully. Be vague at times. Focus on your faults, not others. Your impressions and weaknesses, not others. But God has a habit of meeting His people when they share.

I still hate to do it, though.

Praying for you.


Cindy said...

I'm encouraged already!!

Rebecca Conduff Aguirre said...

Thank you for your comments! I'm encouraged knowing that you are behind me. And great advice Ellie...I will take it!

I think I have wasted a lot of energy in my life trying to be "safe", be in control, not expose myself unnecessarily to criticism and rejection. I have struggled with allowing God to shield and cover me. Now that I'm realizing that is not how God meant for me to live, it's been interesting to see how I struggle to overcome my natural tendency to hide...BUT if I didn't struggle, then I wouldn't need to depend on God, so ironically, it turns out to be a good thing...LOL. It's an upside-down kind of world walking with God!

Rebecca Conduff Aguirre said...

P.S. Awesome verse, too! Sometimes when I can't sleep because life has been too "fast" and my mind's in a whirlwind, I imagine myself on a beach and force my mind to ebb and flow with the waves (slow ones!). It does seem to be a safe place...

Rita Loca said...

I somehow was unaware of your blog! Please tell me, where did you live in Venezuela? What was your maiden name?

Rebecca Conduff Aguirre said...

Jungle Mom...we didn't live in Venezuela very long, only 3 years, but I grew up in Colombia as an MK. My parents worked with a remote tribe out in the Guaviare region there; only accessible by the mission plane. My maiden name is Conduff. I haven't had this blog long, just since February, but I have read yours for a couple of years now and love it! Thanks for all the work you put into it!

Rebecca Conduff Aguirre said...

Sorry, Jungle Mom, forgot to say where in Venezuela...we lived in PO and PA during our time there. My husband is from San Fernando de Apure, a llanos boy. :) He misses the jungle too...