When I was in 4th grade I participated in a speech contest at school. My parents worked with me on my speech, and taught me many basic, foundational principles for public speaking. Things like pausing at key times, using hand gestures effectively, making eye contact. That sort of thing.
By the time I was in high school, I had gained a reputation for being “good at speeches”. My ability to seem confident and polished in front of an audience helped me be elected Student Body President going into my senior year.
When my senior year started, I had given several important speeches to the faculty of the school, the parents of incoming freshmen, and the student body as a whole. I felt they were all important for me in my early days of presidency, and I felt I had done a good job delivering them.
Then, the third week of my senior year rolled around. I was scheduled to make an important announcement over the intercom about a big event the school was sponsoring. I had already delivered what I thought were the important speeches, and I didn’t put any time into the intercom announcement. Then…
I blew it.
I had become over-confident. Consequently, I stuttered, rambled, and choked my way through the announcement. The next day, I had to give a speech to the freshmen during a class assembly. The same thing happened again.
I remember jokingly telling the teacher in charge of student government, “I’ve lost it. I don’t know what’s happened to me.”
But now I know what happened. I had become proud. I had stopped preparing. I had stopped recognizing Who gave me my gift. I was no longer stewarding my gift well. And when that happens, you only head in one direction.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 HCSB
What are you tempted to place your confidence in other than God today? What gifts are you using today that you’re tempted to take credit for? By doing so, you may just set yourself up for embarrassment.