I was standing at the back of the room, watching it fill up with more and more men.
Speaking in front of men is no big deal normally. I actually do it pretty often. But this event was supposed to be for women. We titled the talk for women, promoted it for women, and wrote it specifically for women. My intro was filled with female-specific stories, my examples were about women, and my supporting scriptures were about Mary and Martha. So with every additional man that poured in, I began to get more and more nervous and my heart kept pounding faster with every passing minute.
Jeremy, my leader, looked concerned. I glanced at my watch. I had five minutes until they introduced me. And the audiovisual team was already getting my slides ready—slides that supported my women-specific talk.
I didn’t have time to weigh my options, think of a new strategy, or come up with a plan. All I had time to do was react.
Reacting isn’t safe, and it’s certainly not comfortable. It feels like a mixture of risky and reckless—like one of those ropes courses you do at youth camp when you’re standing on the final platform and the next step is a terrifying jump. But in moments like these, you have two choices:
- You can retreat in fear. I could have bashfully walked up to the front, given disclaimers, and made excuses. I could have said, “I really thought this would be more of a female audience, so I’m sorry if some of you don’t really connect with this…” and then proceeded to give the talk I prepared to give all along. I would have felt safe, holding tightly to my security blanket. But I would have also missed the opportunity to make an impact entirely.
- Or you can jump. I could have closed my eyes, said a little prayer, and stepped off that final platform and into the moment. It’s moments like this when God calls us to take a leap of faith. If we do, not only will we feel the incredible rush of doing something terrifying, but we’ll feel a sense of insane accomplishment when it’s over.
I chose to jump. With two minutes on the countdown clock until my name was announced, I leaned over to Jeremy and said, “I’m changing my talk. I’m going to do my EntreLeadership talk instead.” He looked slightly panicked and slightly impressed and said, “Do you have those notes?” Since I always keep my speaking notes on my iPad, I did. But I didn’t have any supporting slides. Thankfully it was a smaller room and an intimate setting, so slides weren’t really needed. I leaned over to the AV team and asked them to cut all slides. I wasn’t going to be using slides today.
Right then, the event host began reading my bio over the speaker. I was on. As I walked to the front of the room, I managed a quick prayer before heading up to give a completely different talk to a completely different audience than I had prepared for.
And it was exhilarating.
The talk I gave connected in a way that I’ve never experienced before. The energy in that room was electric. Everyone felt it and I knew God was there. When I finished speaking, I felt like I was walking on air. I got to be a part of something bigger than I had even expected.
And that’s what you can be a part of too if, when the moment arises and God calls you out, you’re not afraid to jump.