My biggest fear, ever, was public speaking. In 8th grade I had a negative experience and I knew it would never happen again! As you may know, when you let fear take over it does! I snowballed that fear and after a while I was afraid of being in front of people - not speaking - just being in front of people! The fear continued to rule my life. I could not stand being in weddings! It got so bad that I would not go up for Communion at church. By this time I was in college and did not go to church unless I was home. In college I had to pick a speech free major and check the syllabus on day one to see if I needed to drop the class due to oral presentations.
In 1996 I was invited to attend a 72 hour spiritual retreat and I gave myself 100% to God. Little did I know that God would be sneaking some things in! Soon I was asked to give a talk on a retreat. I was not in a panic because I had no intentions of doing it. I would handle it like middle school, high school and college - not do it! Tears began and I wept all week - I did not realize I was being convicted! My dad told me I was fighting God and that is why I was crying. He said he believed the tears would stop when I committed to God. He was right. Four months later, being physically sick, I gave that talk. I am sure it went down in history as the worse presentation ever - the words were good because God gave them to me. BUT, God used that talk. Those ladies knew two things: I was facing fear in the face and I loved the Lord! For the next 23 years God nudged lots of people to ask me to do talks. ONLY for Him! He was also sneaky having me start Sunday school classes and ladies groups at church where I would have to lead or pray out loud.
I was trusting Him more and more! I knew in my head that God did not cause that fear but it took a long time for me to know it in my heart. 2 Timothy 1: 7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." I had been the one who would have never come back to Sunday school if they had called on me to read out loud or pray. Proverbs 3: 5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;" I began to understand that I really did not know what was going on but I just needed to keep trusting God. I began to want to find my will in His will.
After taking a year off from volunteering at church, when I was sick, it was time to decide where to plug back in. God laid a women’s retreat on my heart which was funny because as I told Him, “I don’t even like women’s retreats! You know my routine, I kicked and screamed and then did it. I found that I loved writing the retreat and leading it. It was still tough for me and made me physically sick but I was leaning more and more on Him and finding my gifts. Six years ago, I began writing and leading women’s retreats.
God continues to give me tasks that are bigger than what I can do in my natural power. He also gives me knowledge and wisdom that is not limited to the world. God's anointing is His power over my flesh to do what only God can do. If you have been born again, then Christ lives inside of you. I had always thought that Mother Teresa and Billy Graham were anointed by the Lord and they were righteous but not Jill! You may have felt or feel the same but as children of God, we are anointed! Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, you and me! Over ten years ago a pastor and friend told me before I had to give a talk, “Jill, don’t mistake the excitement of the Holy Spirit for nerves.” I thought, “nope, it’s nerves.” But recently, I began to think it is the Holy Spirit so excited to see me trusting God as I push myself out of my comfort zone.
As I always say, it always comes back to trust! I trust Him with my salvation and all of eternity. Why can't I trust Him for a 30 minute talk? Do you trust God with your whole life?