I have had a tendency as a preacher, especially when I was young in the Lord, to want to say things the same way other people were saying them. I was afraid of standing out; I chose instead to be comfortable. Scared of being a voice, I was comfortable with being an echo.
Afraid to paint outside the lines. Afraid to journey into the unknown. Afraid of failure.
Fear sucks. Like a scared kid who rushes past the house with the crazy dog barking, I was terrified of preaching. The first sermon I gave, ironically, was on identity. I preached an 11 minute message, took about three and a half breaths in that time, and could not be more thankful when it was over. I was afraid.
I have come to understand being afraid is normal, especially when it comes to the unknown. Speaking before 100-plus people was unknown to me, something I had never done. When I began my journey as a preacher I was obsessed with others liking my messages. I thought for this to happen I needed to sound like popular preachers of the day. I know that might sound silly but we all have a tendency to want to be liked and to shape ourselves to what we think will be liked.
I believe when we are young in the Lord, it is okay to see how others are doing things and even model our style after them. The only problem is if we continue on this track without moving (even if it’s a slow move) away from the comfortable safety of being an echo, we do not develop our own unique voice, cutting off the creativity of the Spirit.
I have come to realize finding your voice takes time. It comes with confronting fear and being ok with being you. It comes by venturing into the unknown, making mistakes, and breaking free from the crippling worry of what others think about you. And in case you were wondering you were made to be a voice in your generation, not an echo.
Ask yourself today are you being you or are you still being someone else? The journey into the unknown is risky but without risk we can’t expect to live the life we were created for. Thankful our Creator only created one of us, and pretty sure He made us just like He wanted.
“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” (Psalms 139:14)