Amy Carroll » Ministry Development » The Real Thing

The Real Thing

In my every day life, I think that my friends and family would use words like this to describe me–expressive, animated, passionate, perky…  You get the picture.

Sometimes it’s a different thing when I walk on to the stage, however.  At times I think I’d be described as guarded, cautious, staid…

What’s the difference?  Although I’ve come a very long way, I still recognize a sort of self-protective layer that I’m working to eradicate from my speaking.  I really believe that we’re past the days of audiences valuing a self-possessed, polished and “professional” speaker. (I put professional in quotes, because I still believe in professionalism that isn’t synonymous with “stand-offish” or “above it all”.)

I believe that audiences are dying for someone that’s the real thing.  Someone who struggles like they struggle.  Someone who is willing to be vulnerable.  Someone who teaches from a place of humanness rather than a place of authority.

So why do we as speakers hesitate to step into this place of humility?  In talking to one of my precious NSSS clients last week, I urged her to step into a place of vulnerability and true sharing of her story.  I could tell that she was holding back and not sharing fully.  (Takes one to know one!)  She blurted out, “But Amy, I don’t WANT to share opening.  I used to do that when I first started speaking, but I’ve been judged and hurt.  I don’t want to do that any more!” 

I loved her honesty.

Maybe you’re in that place as well.  I’d like to share this verse with you.  In Matthew 13:52, Jesus says this to His followers in a passage right on the heals of one about the judgement of the world, ” He said to them,’Every teacher of the law who has been taught about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house. He brings new treasures out of his storeroom as well as old ones.'”

We teachers have all been given treasures to share–some of them old, some of them new.  Some of those old places aren’t very pretty.  They are things that we’d like to relegate to the back of our storerooms, covered with dust that we hope will hide them from the world. 

Jesus asks us to dust them off and bring them into the light.  He asks us to tell the story of His redemption of those places. 

He does it for one sole purpose.

He is on a mission through us to save the world. 

Are we on the same mission?  Are we willing to be misunderstood, judged, criticized, or hurt to be on the same mission as Jesus?  Will we pull the old things out of our storerooms so that just one can know she’s not alone in her struggle but that Jesus cares and saves?  Will we make ourselves vulnerable so that one might be saved from judgement?

These are the hard questions that I’ve been asking myself as I work on my messages.

I’m so proud to give the report that my dear client made the decision to say “yes” to vulnerability.  She’s going to present the real thing to her audience this week.  I can’t wait to hear about how God moves!

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  1. Today my sister, who is also my boss so we see each other on a regular basis, told me she thought I was “jaded”. I looked up that meaning of this and it means worn out or wearied; emotionally numb. And I told her that “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” but then I got to thinking about it and maybe that’s really is the way that she sees me. And so, she believes it to be true.

    Lately we don’t have much of a relationship outside the office. Even when we talk on the phone it’s only about work. Occasionally we’ll talk about kids or family, but I don’t think we could be considered “friends”. I love my sister, don’t get me wrong and she loves me, but I think she still sees me as her little sister. The one who doesn’t have a good relationship with her parents, the one who has a controlling husband, the one who has undisciplined children.

    Now, I could counter everyone of those assumptions that she has. Just because that may be how she sees my life, it is not how I see myself. I refuse to let her lowered opinion of my choices dictate how I know God sees me. But it also opened my eyes to the fact that maybe I need to let my sister see that other side of me, what’s on the inside, in my heart.

  2. What a great and much needed post! I didn’t read it until after I got back from a lunch date with a young friend. She out of the blue texted me last night stating she needed to do lunch with me. I had not seen her in a while since she has just had a baby. We met and caught up and then with tears in her eyes she let me know why she needed so badly to talk. Marriage. Plain and simple. As she shared what was breaking her heart, I was saying why now God? Little did she know that my hubs and I were going through a “growth opportunity”. As she finished I laughed and told her what was going through my mind at the time. She said, “that is why I needed to talk to you. You don’t live behind the facade that you have a perfect marriage. The day you mentioned your struggles when you taught that class, I knew I could come to you.”

    God challenged me not to long ago to quit living with a mask on and BE REAL. I don’t always live up to that challenge but when I do, God redeems it for His glory.
    I am learning that women don’t need the polished girls walking on red carpets…they need the ones that know that the ditches are muddy sometimes.

  3. Amy,

    I come upon this blog on facebook. I needed it. I have come out of an ugly past, lived a new life with God, raised two precious children God’s way, then BOOM! My children, my only two children in their 20’s ( one being my daughter who had been so passionate for God) left God’s path, prodigals they became!
    Talking shame and pain! I thought I would not live.
    God has brought my son back to the fold and I praise His name!!!
    My daughter is still out there, in Total Rebellion , and hurting us over and over again. She has not contact with us except to send painful darts our way. The most recent is sending us an email telling us that she did marry the unsaved man that her father could not and would not approve due to it being unbiblical.
    I used to be embarrassed and ashamed to tell others of my past and of this situation. I wanted to do it , thinking it would help others to see they too could be forgiven and at peace with God.
    But I thought I was the only person in the church with a past because no one ever spoke of a past like mine. It seemed all had just been raised in good homes and always been good.

    One day after my children went astray , a lady finally stepped forward into my life and shared the story of her sinful past with me, and how God brought her out of it.
    I was shocked and yet so touched that someone would share that with me to show me that I was not the only person with a past or with struggles with family, etc.
    God gave me the courage that day to start sharing the story of my past and how God saved me; and the story of the fact that I did lose my children to the world, even after raising them God’s Way and seeing them walk His way for a season. Satan does attack homes , it is just fact, but it is also fact that we need to rise up and talk about it so others will be encouraged and get on fire to stand up and fight the enemy with God’s power, God’s word and BELIEVE what their SAVIOUR can and will have the VICTORY!

    The wonderful thing is , that God used this courage to talk, to start healing in my heart and of wounds.
    I now unashamed share these stories , not to hurt my family , but to bring God glory and to help others see they are not alone.
    I am thankful that I have been able to share now the great news of God bringing my son back to the fold!
    I hurt so much over my daughter still being a stray and now marrying an unsaved, alcoholic man, but I KNOW and have FAITH that God is hearing my prayers and the prayers of others for her, and GOD will take this ugly story and turn it into BEAUTY for His Glory! My child will be back in the fold soon and we will have a happy family again.
    Thanks for todays blog post, I was a bit down and God knew I needed it to lift me up again. You have encouraged me to GO ON with the testimonies of how God works in lives.

    “O LORD my God, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth” Psalm 8:1

  4. Love it about the treasures! Whenever I’m called to speak on something, which, yes, I’d rather hide, and still ask, “are you sure Lord?” to messages He lays on my heart, I feel His confidence in saying, “Yes..tell them what I showed you!” Which to a woman is yes, allowing myself to be vulnerable, and speak to the very things that many women struggle with. It is so freeing to know that in our weakness He is strong, and talking about those weaknesses, where He has filled in the gaps, and continues to say, “Yep. I’m still all you need.” Humility for me has been even when I think I may have “learned” the lesson for the season..having grace for those who haven’t learned that lesson, and removing the plank from my eyes in seeking the lessons He still has to teach me..and they are plenty!