If you know me at all, you know that I am very quiet, quite reserved, and don’t like speaking in public. So rewind my life a year to last years AWANA Leaders meeting, when Lois said that they needed someone to lead the singing. My first thought was “Don’t make eye contact, whatever you do, don’t make eye contact”. No one volunteered, but I still thought I was safe–surely someone will want to do it! Fast forward a week later, when I found an e-mail from Lois, “Kim, can you please think about leading the singing this year, and fear is not an excuse”. I have to admit that my stomach immediately went queasy–how could I possibly do that? Well, I thought about it and prayed about it, and told Lois that I would give it a try. But not only was it just leading the singing, it was also leading the entire opening and closing (except for the theme song, and the pledges, thank goodness Jon does that, it gives me a few minutes to compose myself!)
So there I am, Mrs. Never-Want-To-Speak-In-Public, doing the announcements and the songs and everything else that goes along with it, and the amazing thing is, by the end of the year, I was loving it! Oh, I certainly got my tongue tangled up a few times, and made some mistakes as well. (I’m sure anyone who was there will remember the no running anywhere but the gym rule, and the night I announced it as no running anywhere except the SANCTUARY–the kids were very quick to correct me on that one!) But, you know what, I learned that I could do it–not me myself, though, God was helping me every step of the way. And I learned that it’s ok to get your tongue tangled up–most of us do every now and again! And I also learned that it’s ok to admit that you don’t know the actions to every song (and also not to follow Shirley, because she’s actually doing SIGN LANGUAGE, not the actions–I was very confused that night!). So, here we are at the start of another AWANA year, and here I am again, being the song leader, and you know what? I’m looking forward to it!
I found a passage of a devotional this morning that jumped right out at me.
“God is calling each of us to a life of adventure. Remember, an adventure is not an adventure unless there is some risk involved. Are we willing to take risks in our walk with Jesus? Are we willing to look a little foolish from time to time as we seek to develop new talents? If we are, God will continue to bring us new opportunities of service.” –Hope MacDonald
It’s a learning process, and it takes practice to get good at something. If I had decided to wait until I was ready to get up in front of the kids, it wouldn’t have happened–I never would have been ready. And what a confidence booster this has been for me! When Lois asked Ray and I if we would do the puppets for the opening night council time this year, of course we agreed. We love doing the puppets for the kids! But we also like that we’re behind a stage, so it’s not really like talking to people! But when I was trying to find something to do with them for the council time, nothing was coming together for me. 20 minutes is a long time to be behind a puppet stage with your arm up in the air. So I knew that it would need to be part puppet, part real people. Still couldn’t find anything that worked. Then an idea came to me, and I immediately pushed it away. What if I did the council time, and had Harold the puppet help me. NO WAY!
Leading the singing is one thing, doing puppets BEHIND A STAGE is another thing. But being out there, giving a lesson? What if they ask a question that I don’t know the answer to? How can I possibly do that? And stand there talking to them for 20 whole LONG minutes? Can’t do it!! And my heart was saying, “I can’t make eye contact with You God, because I can’t do that, we’ll have to find some other way to make this work” Well, work and God are the key words here, because He worked on me and convicted me until finally, I decided that no, I can’t do this, but God can. I can’t do it alone, but I know that I won’t be alone, He’ll be with me. And the amazing thing is that suddenly, the entire lesson came together for me. And I’m ready!!
“Are we willing to take risks in our walk with Jesus?” I’m ready to take this risk, and believe me, for me it IS a risk–who knows how tangled up my tongue can actually get! If you think of me on Thursday, maybe you can say a little prayer for me. I may be ready to leave my comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable doing it! Although, Harold is a great ad-libber, so that’ll help!
If you have AWANA kids at your house, don’t tell them that Harold’s coming on Thursday–let’s surprise them!