In many questionnaires on peoples deepest fears, the fear of speaking in public ranked number one. This was the case even in the US where being vocal is almost part of the culture. It came surprisingly higher than even the fear of dying. Jesus prepared his disciples for the time when they too would need to be vocal in order to defend their message. His first words were ‘dont worry’. The problem with worry is that while it projects us into the future it also cuts us off from that divine provision whereby we can experience the Spirit will speaking in out hearts. Worry also projects us into that place where we can be crippled by fear of failure and making a fool of ourselves. The first discipline of speaking in public whether prepared or unprepared is therefore to be present. Then even if we still feel butterflies in our stomach we will be able to keep them flying in formation.
Fr Jim Cogley