Saturday, February 23, 2008

Answers to Your Questions:)

If you are here looking for answers to your questions from Lysa's blog, WELCOME!!! I'm so happy to meet you and share a little of my journey in speaking, writing, and the She Speaks Conference with you. Please please feel free to share and post your own thoughts about the topics I address. And if you have any more questions, ask ask ask. I am thrilled to answer any questions you might have. I wish I had all this help when I was first getting started:)

I will be answering your questions dealing with Fear, Transparency, and Balance. I'll also tell you about my 1st She Speaks Conference and how attending this conference changed my life.

Questions are in black, answers are in red.

FEAR

I have just begun teaching and speaking to women(something I never would have imagined I would do) and I really feel a passion for it. However, I am soooo lacking in confidence and skills. Am I ready for this type of conference, should I get more (local) training first? How do you get over the thought "no one really cares what I have to say"? How do you deal with rejection?

Great questions! I can relate to every fear you listed. I think most speakers and writers can. I am going to break your questions up so I can answer them all:

1. Lacking in Confidence and Skills....That's okay:) If you were super confident and highly skilled then you may not realize how much you need the Lord. Based on your confidence and skills you may not be ready, but God will equip those He calls. Have no doubt about it, if God has called you into speaking, He will equip and qualify you for each and every step. If this is your passion, do not let fear be what stops you. The enemy will use those fears to try and convince you that you are not good enough. That's not true. Pray daily and arm yourself for protection. Once you get started, your confidence will build and you will learn as you go along changes and improvements you may need to make. Just don't compare yourself to ANYONE else. Be yourself, don't try to be someone you are not. God made you. He called you. Allow Him to use you and trust Him. You probably are not as "lacking" as you think anyway. I still get nervous. I still question if I'm good enough. That's when I need to seek God the most and tune out everything else. As long as I keep it about Him and not me, then there is no way that I can fail.

2. How do you get over the thought "no one really cares what I have to say"?

When you figure this one out, would you let me know! Seriously, I still ask myself this because I just can't believe that something that I could say could be so interesting or important. But wait...it is. It is because I'm not just up there talking. I'm sharing life. I'm sharing the Lord. He has given me my message and He has been with me on my journey of life. It is His Word that I want my audiences to believe. I always tell them, "Don't take my word for it. Find out for yourself." If your passion and reason for speaking is because of what God has placed on your heart, then don't you worry one bit if anyone cares what you have to say. He cares. And almost always when I speak there is at least one woman who comes up to me and says, "this message was for me". I praise God right then and there. Even if everyone else was falling asleep, that's okay. God used it for His purpose for that person. Everytime before I speak I pray and ask God to determine every word that comes out of mouth. I pray that my audience would see and hear Him, not me.

3. How do you deal with rejection?

I pray and ask God what He thinks of me. Then I call my best girlfriend and cry and she sets me straight! Rejection and criticsm unfortunately come with the territory. It's just the way it is. Honestly some rejection and criticsm hurts more than others. It never feels good, but I've learned to keep it in perspective and try to learn from it. I keep reminding myself that my identity is in Christ. Most of the time when a church is considering me for an event, they are also considering others. From the moment I find out that I am being considered, I give it to God. I trust if He wants me there and if it is in His plan then He will work it out. I would never want to mess up God's plan, so if I'm not selected, then that's a good thing. On the other hand, if it's been months and months that I have not been invited to speak even though I've been sending out my bio and CD, then I have to ask myself some questions to determine if there are some changes I could make to be a more effective speaker and communicator. She Speaks addresses a lot of this.

4. Am I ready for this type of conference, should I get more (local) training first?

Yes, you are ready for this type of conference. You do not need any skills or "local training" to come to She Speaks. You need the desire to please God with your life. That's it. She Speaks is educational, professional, fun, encouraging, and God's Hand is all over it. Some have even said it was like a revival, a renewal of the heart. You are equipped with the tools needed to get started, but you are also given encouragement and feedback. We've all been there and so we have a heart for our attendees. Whether you want to be a better leader, teacher, speaker, writer, or just build your confidence to share your story, She Speaks is for you, no matter how much experience or training you've had.

TRANSPARENCY

1. How do you open your heart? I have so much baggage do people really want to hear my story? Can they really learn from it? If I thought one person could I would shout it from the roof top!!! or would I? I think my past could help alot of young people! No! I know my past could help alot of young people but where do I get started!

You better climb on that roof top and start shouting! Many people can learn from your story! If God took you through it then He can use it. How much you share is really up to you. I have found that for me, sharing my baggage has been a blessing to me and to others. I just make sure that my story is not about all the baggage, but what God did with and through the baggage, how I was transformed by Him. I share those parts of my life because I have hopes of showing that if God could use me, He could use anyone. I want them to find the freedom in their lives that I have found. People don't need all of the details to get the impact of the story and I don't share every detail. I try to use discretion in how much I share depending on the audience and the purpose of the event. I devote a lot of prayer in determining what I share and when.

I have found that my transparency is one thing my audiences really like about me. They are glad that the speaker isn't perfect. They don't want to hear from someone who appears perfect and has it all together. I not only share my baggage from the past, but I share the tough stuff in life right now if it is appropriate and could help someone. The most important gift you can give your audience is to be yourself. That's who God made you. Allow Him to shine through you...not you trying to be all put together. Open up your heart. Something I found helpful was to write out my entire testimony. It helped to see it in writing. As I experience more and add to it, I write some more. When I read over it I can easily decide what I want to leave out, if I've shared too many details, and how long it's going to take me. I hope this helps you a little bit.

BALANCE

I'm just going to jump right in on this topic. Isn't it every woman's stuggle? I am married and have 4 children ages 6-14. Our household is very busy. We have many appointments and after school activities weekly. I do not have a housekeeper, but if I could afford one, I would! Last October I went to work in the Proverbs 31 office as an Administrative Assistant. I work 5 days a week. Up until then I basically had been a stay at home mom for 12 years. It was hard to find balance when I was a stay at home mom and it's hard to find balance now that I work. Speaking began slowly for me. I taught classes and led Bible studies at church for years. When God called me to begin speaking, the first thing I did was talk to my husband about it. He was very supportive. I don't know how I'd do it if my family wasn't a part of it. It's not "my" ministry, it's "our" ministry. I couldn't do what I do without them. We have to work together so I can have time to plan and prepare for a message or an event. We have to work together so I can travel and be away without the family falling apart. Their support is key to keep a balance.

I also had to let a lot of other things go. I used to feel guilty for this, but I'm over it now. This is just me. I'm not saying everyone has to quit what I quit, but in order for me to keep my priorities straight and for balance to occur I had to make some changes. Some of them were very hard for me to make. I do not volunteer for PTA or committies at my kid's schools. I attend school functions, go to their parties, eat lunch with them occasionally, and attend all of their activities and events, but I don't volunteer anymore. I do not volunteer at the same level I used to at church anymore. It no longer works for me to lead Bible studies and teach classes. I'm very selective about the activities I choose to do. I don't volunteer to be Team Mom, Classroom Mom, or anything else that I would have to be in charge of. I don't volunteer to do class projects or help the teacher. I'll meet the teacher for coffee or visit her at school, but I just can't do all those other things. Oh, I felt so guilty about that. The PTA President has been asking me for years why I don't serve on a committee. I try to answer honestly. Some people just don't get it. They may think I'm not doing my part, but I know I am. God knows I am. My family knows I am. For me speaking and writing is my thing now. It is my way of serving God using His purpose for my life. If I thought for one second that my not doing any of things was hurtful in any way to my relationship with the Lord or hurt my family, I would do different, but I had to let these things go. Hear this: I'm not saying that you have to quit it all to be a speaker/writer. I can't handle a lot going on at one time. I get anxious. Chaos sends me over the edge when it is occurring daily. This is what has worked for me. You have the find the balance that works for you and your family:)

SHE SPEAKS

I cannot say enough good things about this conference. The women's ministry director at my church sent me to my first She Speaks Conference six years ago. I was blown away by the friendliness of the speakers and staff. I expected to gain insight and tools needed to improve as a leader, but what I didn't expect was all that God gave me that weekend. I thought I wanted to be a speaker, but I wasn't really sure. I was very insecure and like many of you thought, "why would anyone want to come and hear me speak?" I compared myself to Beth Moore and Lysa TerKeurst and that scared me because I knew I'd NEVER be that good. And I probably never will, but who cares? God didn't need another Beth or Lysa. He needed me. And He confirmed my calling to speak at the conference. She Speaks helped me to gain the confidence I needed not to believe in myself but to rely on God.

A year later I joined the Speaker Team at Proverbs. A short time after that, I began writing devotions. The Lord has used me and taken me places I never would have dreamed of. The one event I look forward to more than any other every year is She Speaks. When I see someone on the fence about going, I just want to say, "You have to go! It's awesome! It's amazing!" But really nothing I say can express how great it really is. You just have to experience for yourself. The conference is 100% about God and what He can do through you. It's just icing on the cake that you happen to walk away with some valuable information.

As if this is not enough, you also make many good new friends.

So, if you are one who is on the fence...pray about it first of course and if God gives you the go ahead...JUST DO IT! GO TO SHE SPEAKS!

I really hope that this information has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about what I've written, let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog and please come back again soon!

Blessings to you as you seek God's will in ministry. I look forward to meeting many of you face to face at She Speaks!

Love,

Melissa





18 comments:

Digging for Pearls said...

So glad you are able to be up and around a little bit more. I remember when I was finally able to take a shower after my shoulder surgery. I have long hair and it took me a couple weeks before I was able to comb it out and pull it back without help. Now it seems like a distant vague memory.

Now for a question or two.

How has God shown you His desires for you to speak and write?

Have you ever struggled with being good enough?

Melissa said...

@Pearls...I posted my answers before I saw your question. I touched on these in my extended blogpost (it wasn't up yet when you asked these).

1. One way God has shown me His desires for me to do this is through people. I'll get a letter after an event or an email due to a devotion I've written about how their life has changed or that is was a message they needed to hear. Sometimes I get a lot of response and sometimes a little. He also uses the circumstances in my life. And often I find that the very thing I'm speaking or writing about is really a lesson for me. The Lord speaks to me through my own speaking and writing. It is also supported by my husband. That's huge as well.

2. I still struggle with not being good enough. I quit regularly because the enemy temporarily convinces me that I'm not good enough. (really I do) Thankfully I have my friends and prayer warriors to remind me of the truth. I can't count the number of times I've called Renee Swope and said, "it's over, I just don't fit the mold, I'm not like these other speakers." She always puts me in my place. Then Dr. Phyllis (Wendy Pope) steps in and when they get through with me, I get my head straight and get on with doing Kingdom work:)

Joyful said...

Melissa, thank you for sharing so much of your life. WOW - what a blessing. You have encouraged me to keep on keeping on and seeking the Lord in what He desires for me. Fear and Transparency are my two huge giants, but God is calling me to trust Him. Thank you for taking the time to respond so thoroughly to these questions. I also needed to hear your advice on 'balance' - your words have confirmed a direction I was feeling led to commit to at this time. So glad God used you to speak truth to my heart. Thank you.

Praying God will continue to heal you physically ad keep you from pain.
Blessings,
Joy

kristenm said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I think your post for today should be added as an additional page to the She Speaks conference page under "Are my insecurities and fears normal?" Thank you for once again stepping out of the way, and letting God speak through your words. May you continue to experience God's healing for your foot.

Amy L Brooke said...

Thanks so much for your input!

I went to She Speaks a couple of years ago. This may sound a bit silly, but my interaction with you was the very first. I know you have no idea who I am, but you were the greeter, if I recall correctly. And you made me feel very welcome.

I'm hoping to come this year.... I need to register soon.

MrsJoeB said...

Wonderful questions and I appreciate you taking the time to answer these!
In His Graces~Pamela

Digging for Pearls said...

Melissa,
Thanks for speaking from your heart and dealing with all of the questions. You are such a blessing.

My heart still longs to come to She Speaks this year. I was there last year and it really changed my life. As of now it looks like the answer is no because there is no possible way we can afford it.

Some year I pray that God allows me to drive down a few days early so I can help out wherever you P31 girls need the help.

I am praying that God will bless many women this year and that God begins to put a "call" on their hearts and lives.

Blessings,
Jodie (Pearls)

P.S. How are you feeling? I am praying that the pain soon lessons.

MrsProverbs31 said...

Thank you so much for those answers. They so help me. I know God has a wonderful position for me. I don't quite know what it is, but I know it is good.

Thanks for all the encouragements. Anytime I see someone beautiful such as yourself, I shrink into a little ball, because of the "you're just not it" syndrome. But, you have set my mind at ease. God bless you.

Jennifer Johnson said...

Thanks so much for your very wise answers. Your particular answer on "chaos" in everyday life and not being able to endure gracefully lifted my shame in this area. Thank you for that this morning! I have used this philosophy to "cut down" recently and have felt that it was a selfish thing...or I've gotten mad at God for not equipping me better. I know he's laughing right now, and saying, "My Child, I equipped you perfectly for My task for You." Thanks for reminding me that even my perceived "shortcomings" show me that I am wonderfully made...just as we all are by Him.

Heather@Mommymonk said...

Such good answers to such good questions...

Thanks for sharing in the comments here too. It's great to know that I'm not alone in wanting to quit because I don't fit the mold. Satan just knows how to attack, doesn't he?

Miss Sandy said...

Melissa,
Thank you for tackling some tough subjects and for sharing from your heart and your knowledge.

Kelley at Aroma of Joy said...

Melissa,
I am praying and seeking God's direction as to whether or not I should come to She Speaks. I was reading through all of the "answer blogs" and there was my question, the first one you answered in this post. I am finally able to admit I want to come, now I just want God's leading and provision to make it a reality! Thanks for your answers and your story, it has really motivated me.

Hoping to be there in June,
~~Kelley

Marybeth said...

Great answers Melissa!

Hope you are feeling much better--

Charlene Kidd said...

So glad to see you at the office today. You look great.
Charlene

Melissa said...

To everyone who left a comment or may still visit this particular post,

Thank you for your honesty, your questions, your comments, and your encouragement. It's not always easy being "real", but it takes a lot of pressure off of trying to be perfect!

If you have anymore questions about speaking, writing, She Speaks Conference or anything else, feel free to email me: MelissaTaylorP31@gmail.com or call me at the Proverbs 31 office. (704-849-2270).

It's been an honor to meet some of you for the first time and to answer your questions. I hope I've helped to ease some of your fears.

Love and Blessings,
Melissa

Amy L Brooke said...

Hi Melissa.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and the sweet comments. I did see Julie today and the yummy stuff I took was Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie. (It was suppose to have a marble effect, but that didn't work out so well.) I had never made it before. The filling tasted like a Reeses Cup. (Yum!)

I also got her a small silver business card holder. Her comment was, "My family will be jealous. I'll have to tell them someone listened." Probably the amazing piece is that I remembered since the comment that prompted the gift was over a year ago!

Thinking about trying to stop back by a bit more, but noticed you had more than one blog. Do you update one more regularly than the other. There are only so many blogs a girl can read on a regular basis!

I'm off to try to figure out registering for She Speaks. I keep going back and forth on speaking or writing. I did the writing track when I went before, but I found out about it late and wasn't completely prepared and wasn't in a good spot emotionally. So, it probably wouldn't hurt to do it again.

But I do like speaking. I just don't have much of a chance to do it right now. I use to be on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and loved giving talks. But then I have to figure out a level.... Having not spoken recently .....

When I got my MA in counseling I wrote a thesis. (It was optional. Yes, I'm crazy.) It was on Counselors Knowledge and Perception of Repetitive Self-Mutilation. (Very different from the writing I typically do or the speaking I had done.) But my prof talked me into applying to present at the American Counseling Assoication that year and I got accepted. She anticipated maybe 30 people showing up to a presentation done by a grad student. There were 175! It was an hour and a half and I had to field questions at the end. Think on your feet.

I thought it went well though. Which is somewhat amazing because I tend to be a bit shy and reserved and all that. In one on one conversation I struggle to think of what to say. But even when I was with IV, I liked what we called dialogue teaching the best.

Any thoughts? Yes, sometimes I ramble in comment boxes. Sorry!

Hope you are having a good day.

Amy

Debbie said...

Thank you for your answers to questions. This information is very helpful to me.

Debbie

Debbie said...

Thank you for addressing all of these questions...so many that I can relate to right now. God has placed this burning passion in my heart to share "my story" of incredible healing that He has done in my life. I write a column called "Healing the Wounded Heart" for an online magazine (heartbeatthemagazine.com) and and started posting my articles on my blog. However, I really feel God is wanting me to go beyond that now -- have even had an established speaker, a published writer, and several teachers from our women's ministry tell me the same thing in just this past week. Yet, I feel stuck as to how to go past where I am right now. I think some of it is fear -- yet I don't want fear to stop me from doing what God is calling me to do.

All that to say that your answers here have helped me a lot. I do have some of my articles that I've written on my blog. I would love to get some honest input from you on them.

Debbie