Public speaking. Did you know it is actually the number one phobia in the United States? (Thank you psychology class.) I, however, have never had a problem with chatter, so I felt fully confident when we received our brief presentation assignment. We just had to talk in between a minute and a half totwo minutes and give a speech of self-introduction. I had this in the bag.
I figured out my clever introduction, I practiced it until I had it perfectly memorized and perfectly timed, I even had a visual aid for my speech. What could possibly be missing? I walked into class confident and ready to give my speech. After all, I was prepared. When it was my turn, I went to the front of the class, delivered my speech with minimal errors, and felt good about the grade I would receive.
Well, if you know me even the slightest bit, you know I can be obsessive about grades. Yes, this has gotten much better since I came to college and realized I am Elmer Fudd among some Einsteins and Sir Isaac Newtons, but it for the most part has still remained to a certain degree. Therefore, when I got my speech grade back I was horrified and infuriated that I got a 33 out of a 35. This is a little embarrassing to admit considering that if you do the math, this is 94%, but it was what the teacher wrote on my review that upset me.
"Smile, just a bit?"
I had points deducted from my speech because apparently, I did not smile and lacked enthusiasm. I have never thought of myself as an unenthusiastic person or definitely someone who won't smile. However, apparently to my teacher I am incapable of both. My first reaction was outrage. I delivered a great speech. I was 100% prepared. I mentioned Paula Dean and Rachel Ray and made corny jokes, and the class laughed. I even brought a visual aid. And the teacher has the audacity to tell me I DIDN'T SMILE. Like I said, I can be rather obsessive with grades. I would show her. I would go in the next time with eyebrows to the ceiling and a smile as big as the creepy cat in Alice and Wonderland and be the EXACT replica of June Cleaver.
After I calmed down, I began to think that maybe I didn't smile as much as I could have. Maybe I got so lost in trying to give the perfect presentation that I forgot the simple task of smiling. I was focusing on the words and not the delivery. I wanted it to be perfect but was distracted by the process of getting to perfection.
This reminds me of the two sisters Martha and Mary. Martha is a lot like me and my speech. She was scrambling around like a chicken-with-her-head-cut-off trying to have the PERFECT dinner and welcoming for Jesus. She was 100% prepared. She had it all planned out. She had the perfect delivery and felt confident about her work. Yet, Martha forgot to smile.
Yet, Mary knew how to smie. Mary was not concerned with the preparation, the delivery, memorizing all the right words to say, or being perfect, She simply just smiled. She was captivated by Jesus and was radiating in His every word. Mary had ENTHUSIASM.
I feel like we are Martha in our daily lives. We want everything to be so perfect, and we try so hard. Yet,we forget the most important aspect- ENTHUSIASM. We get caught in the preparation and forget to SMILE. We try so hard in life, and we try so hard in our daily walk. Yet, we fall so short. We cease to realize our preparations are not needed. We are called to do one thing. Show the enthusiasm of Christ through our lives. So quit worrying about your silly speech. Quit planning the perfect dinner like Martha. Quit planning what you will do tomorrow and trying to make everything fit into your 24-hour day.
Sit back, smile, and remember your enthusiasm.