The thing about people who love show business is that, even though we all crave the limelight, when the lights are shut off we suddenly find ourselves terrified and alone in the dark with all of our personal demons around us. It takes a special breed of person to be willing to shed your own identity and try on someone else’s, wearing a face that isn’t yours, and feeling emotions that aren’t your own. That kind of escapism only appeals to people who, in one way or another, have something inside themselves they seek to disguise or escape from by assuming a new identity. I wouldn’t necessarily say that anyone who seeks the stage is a sociopath, but very often that sense of power and escapism draws out the more insecure tendencies in everyone who tastes it, like the bitter tannis that accompanies the taste of an aged wine.
A passionate and effective speaker has the ability to literally change minds. A well-delivered performance or speech has incredible power to evoke emotions and thoughts in people in ways that bypass a viewer’s natural skepticism or bias surrounding an issue. While this power has often been used in the past to both great and terrible effect, it’s important to remember that it carries with it a tremendous burden for the one who wields it. Though many have welcomed this burden gladly, and even thrived under its weight, it is a burden nonetheless.
I was recently interviewed by someone who sought to vet me before they would give permission to run one of my articles in their publication. One of her first questions, before we ever discussed the subject matter of my piece, was, “what’s your goal when you write?” I had to pause for a moment before I replied, and felt almost silly when I finally came up with what I thought was a ridiculously simplistic answer:
“Honestly, I’m just trying to make people cry.”
She laughed. While I have to admit that was a little tongue in cheek, having had more time since then to reconsider my answer, I’ve decided that that was more or less correct. The easiest way to plant a thought deep in someone’s memory is to tug on their heartstrings in a way that forever imprints that issue with an actual emotional response. When I write about an issue that I’m passionate about, my goal is not simply to share my point of view on a topic of interest or even to impart factual knowledge about the Bible, I’m actually trying to reach into your guts and change the way you feel about something.
The problem I have, as does every writer, speaker, or actor, is that your methods only matter if your message matters. I can’t ultimately convince you to achieve a lasting and effective change in your life if it’s not founded on your own desire to change, and your desire to change can only be impacted by a message of true and lasting significance. That’s why I speak so often and so strenuously about the Bible, because I believe there is no other text or message on this planet which contains the unequivocal Truth in regard to God and Jesus Christ. To use my talents for any other purpose would be to sell a lie.
The reason why I’ve chosen to betray to you the reader my diabolical plan to perform “inception” in your mind is simple: I believe that you are also capable of this same power. Every single one of us has the ability, and even the moral obligation, to use our “platform” to influence those around us. While you may not consider that you are a particularly persuasive or even noticeable person, I guarantee that God has placed someone in your life who is both willing to listen to you and also desperately in need of your message of Truth.
You don’t need to be particularly effective in your communication. Moses feared he could never be used by God due to his timidity and his speech impediment. Gideon never considered himself a warrior at all, let alone a mighty general. Yet God used both of these men, and many more like them, to do incredible things for His Kingdom. God delights in calling seemingly-underqualified people to use them for incredible works, precisely because it brings more glory to Him by showing his power through your weakness. When you allow yourself to be a willing vessel for God’s message, you become more powerful and persuasive than any President. Never forget that God has placed people in your life whom nobody else can reach, and without your bold and impassioned rhetoric in favor of God they may never hear the message that could alter their thinking even just slightly more towards the things of God.
The video below contains what is widely regarded as one of the greatest orations in modern history. What I would like you to notice is that, not only does Reverend King have a passionate message about equality, he also readily acknowledges the Bible as the source of his message.
God has given every single one of us a podium and a microphone. Our audience is our workplace, our home, and anyone and everyone in our daily lives who will listen to us. Our message is derived from both the lessons of our own life, and the message of Jesus Christ. Speak boldly for His Kingdom.