Public speaking has always terrified me in the past. There is no denying it. I would stress for weeks before the event. During the talking, fear filled my mind, and I couldn’t think straight. Next, my legs would forget how to operate. I was fighting to stay standing! The fear I experienced was so intense that even at the last minute I had thoughts of backing out. “There must be some way to get out of this!”
Unfortunately, the fear and negative thoughts I experienced weren’t limited to public speaking. I set a fitness goal of running five kilometres in twenty minutes. After over twenty weeks of progressing slowly, (taking my time from 28:00 to 24:04), I thought about giving up. I really didn’t see how it was possible to achieve my goal in any reasonable amount of time. My thoughts toward my goal were mostly negative.
Can you relate? Have you had negative thoughts stop you from achieving your goals?
In the case of public speaking, it was only recently that I realised that my fear was fake. I realised that the anxiety only exists in my mind, and to overcome it I must deny EVERY negative thought and turn it into a positive one. The result was that after being invited to speak in front of 150 people for ten minutes, the stress that usually comes was replaced with excitement and anticipation! Wait, what?! I was excited to speak! During the speaking, I still struggled to get started, but after a couple of minutes I was really confident and fired up. I spoke from my heart and overcame. I was walking around the stage, boldly and clearly speaking with the help of The Holy Spirit.
I am still yet to achieve my fitness goal, but after adopting this same thought pattern of thinking positively, I have trained daily and taken my time (running 5 km) from 24:04 to 21:37 in just three weeks!
Your success depends on the health of your mind. You are capable of so much more than what you think you are!
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 says ‘For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.‘
The Bible commands us to take every thought captive. Notice the language here: the word captive implies there is a war, and your thoughts are the enemy! Wow. This is serious. The good news is that you can overcome and win this battle by forcing each thought into surrender to God.