My friend Melanie had arranged for me to deliver a TEDx talk in Delaware on the rewards of rejection. For months ahead of time, I was challenged with the very thing about which I would be speaking: rejection. A ZOOM call last week confirmed that this assignment was far above my ability when I met the other 26 scheduled speakers.
I was to address the audience at 3:30 this past Saturday afternoon. I was allowed no notes, no power point, and I had 15 minutes allotted for my memorized speech. That was the most difficult part. (If you don’t know by now, I have a hard time shortening my stories, much less memorizing a speech.)
That ZOOM call was the first time I had seen the faces of the other speakers and realized that they all were talking about nuclear fission (or is it fusion), metaphysical instability of the planetary system, and how nucleotides relate to photosynthesis. Okay, I made those up, but they’re not far off. The other speakers had more letters after their names than I have in mine. (I mean, how many PhD’s do people need?)
A circle, 10-feet in diameter, would be on the stage floor. I was not to leave that circle or I would fall into a hole. Okay, I made that up too, but should I stray beyond the line, the camera could not film me. Fine with me, I thought.
One of the other speakers–there for a repeat performance–warned us not to use words like “energy.” And whyyyyyyy? I wanted to ask. Apparently she was referring to the word as it relates to thermodynamics or entropy and not as simpletons like me would use it (“I have no energy today.”) We also shouldn’t say anything not backed up by irrefutable facts unless we state that it is our opinion. (Do I begin my talk with “Everything you are about to hear is my opinion?”)
At the end of the ZOOM call, we were asked if we had questions. “Yes,” I wanted to say, “What do I do with my purse when I am speaking?” However, since the other questions were at a much higher academic level, I refrained.
We were told that the audience could go to the fourth floor if they weren’t interested in the topic being presented. Immediately, I pictured all the scientists and researchers in the room exiting as I am introduced. Here I would be talking about the rewards of being rejected, and I will have to demonstrate the beauty of no one listening to me.
The thought crossed my mind that this might be great fodder for my book about rejection; however, since the publisher already has the final copy, it’s too late for that. But then, as usual, God dealt with my concerns/fears/panic. In the past few days, I have spoken to four parents whose families are in trouble. Trouble that totally eclipses my petty concerns about me.
Yesterday parent number five told me about how bad her day had gone but ended with this: “I was getting worked up over things that were out of my control. God has my days planned. It’s times like this that give me an opportunity to let Him be in charge, yet I fail to see His blessings. What’s wrong with me?”
Colossians 3:15 needs to be my life verse: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. God had used Melanie to give me an opportunity of a lifetime, and I was fretting it away. Next week, I will share the miracles He provided to calm my fears, thanks to some prayer warrior friends and relatives.