This morning, while enjoying my morning coffee at Dunn Brothers, I had a conversation with the gentleman waiting in line with me. He asked me a very profound question, “When did you become a speaker?” It caught me off guard and I stumbled to answer.  What I came up with in the moment was, “about 3 years ago.” This answer came from the fact that, for about 3 years, I have been trying to make a living at this.

speakingIt was a profound question for me because I struggle with my identity as a speaker, since I am not yet making my living as such. However, the more I ponder the question, I can boldly say I have been a speaker since 5th grade. It was in 5th grade, when I was asked to emcee an event at our elementary school (and several others after that), that my passion to talk to people was born. It is a part of my DNA . . . I am a speaker. I do not need to make apologies for that, and I do not need to shrink away from that title.

1  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
6  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8  if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:1, 6-8 (NIV)

I am commanded to teach and to speak. God has gifted me and equipped me to be a speaker—if I do not use or pursue the use of this gift, I am mocking the One who lit the passion within me. I am a speaker.

How about you? What gift and passion has God put in you that you struggle with? I know many people who, like me, struggle to claim the role that God has prepared for them. I know many bloggers who would never claim for themselves the title of “writer,” yet that is what they do. I did not become a speaker when I was paid to speak to my first large group. You do not become a writer when you publish your first book. Your passions and gifts enable you to claim for yourself your title.

When we lay hold of this truth, it frees us from the fear that is so easy to hide behind. I am more and more emboldened each day to declare myself a speaker and a teacher. I honor God when I do this and press on to use my gifts.

So, come out from behind the shadow of fear that you are hiding behind and own it! Claim how God has gifted and equipped you to live. When you do this, you honor your Creator. I believe this is what Jesus was talking about when He said:

let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 (NIV)