Friday, April 13, 2012

On Discouragement...

I puzzle myself quite often.  I can get so excited about something and then be filled with discouragement, or worse, complacency, about the same thing a couple of days later.

I was stoked about my Original Interp.; I can't even describe it.  It wasn't the qualifying to Nationals that really got me excited about this speech, it was that every time I presented it I felt like the main character.  I've done dramatic type speeches before, but in the past I have acted like a character; I never became that person.  With my Original I came out of rooms entirely emotionally drained because I felt almost like I had just lived through the story.

The entire, twelve hour, ride home from the last tournament I couldn't keep this speech out of my mind.  I went over the lines over and over and over.  I relived each moment, each attempted tear, each sniff from the audience, each dramatic pause...everything.  I've never done that with a speech before; it was really strange.  Part of me was thrilled that I was able to become the character so completely, and part of me was sort of concerned that I was so dreadfully, addicted.

I have known since I first competed in speech four years ago that practicing at club is much harder than competing at a tournament, but last night really made me wonder why.

I presented my two favorite speeches, my Persuasive and my Original, at club on Tuesday.  It was ridiculous.  The people who watched said that they were fine (except for two very close friends, who could tell that I wasn't on my game), but I felt horrible about both speeches.  I felt like I was reciting my Persuasive, which is dreadful, because it's a really important speech.  I felt like I was trying hard to be the character in my Original, but I just wasn't.  I was trying to be someone, but I wasn't feeling anything at all.

My point is, it's so easy to become discouraged.  I went from feeling grand about these speeches and being madly in love with each of them to feeling like a total failure in about an hour.  I felt like I don't even deserve my Nationals slot (yes, I am great at beating myself up, but if I perform like I did at club at Regionals, then I definitely don't deserve to go to Nats.).

Then, instead of not being able to get my Original out of my head, I don't even want to think about it.  First, I'm a baby.  Really.  Typing this I feel like a total dork.  Like, what, I do poorly at club and it's the end of the world, or something?  Seriously?  But that's how it feels.  It's not that I want so desperately to place well with these speeches, and it's not even that I feel I'll do poorly at the next tournament, it's just that I'm realizing more and more how I'm a lousy speaker, and God is the only reason I ever do well at all.  Second, I highly doubt any of you really care all that much about any of this...sorry, I'm totally just venting here.

I had a lovely conversation with a friend last night, and it all sort of made sense.  Why is it that there is such a dramatic change in performance quality at club and at tournaments?


That's the answer, I think.  Tournaments are so completely covered in prayer, it's hard to even imagine.  People are praying for every little, minute detail of the whole tournament for weeks before we even show up, and the prayer only increases from then on.  The competitors have hundreds of people praying for them to do their best, and it works.  Whether we break or not, we almost always have at least one totally amazing round, and it only happens because of prayer.

I'm not nearly so discouraged as I was on Tuesday, because I know that God is totally in control of every speech going to Regionals, and Nationals.  He is in control.

He is in control.

Yet in my heart, the battle was still raging
Not all prisoners of war had come home
These were battlefields of my own making
I didn't know that the war had been won
Then I heard the King of ages
Had fought all the battles for me
And victory was mine for the claiming
Now praise His name, I am free!

It is finished, the battle is over
It is finished, there'll be no more war
It is finished, the end of conflict
It is finished and Jesus is Lord

(It is Finished, Bill and Gloria Gaither)


Over and out,


P.S. Thank you so much for sending these lyrics to me, Colleen, that's exactly what I needed, right when I needed it!  God's timing is always perfect.  Love you!  =)


  1. It is so cool that you're into giving speeches! I could never in a million years do it! But strangely despite that this is really encouraging :) And yes, I agree to the importance of prayer! :) Xx

    1. Four years ago I said I could never do this, either, but God had much better plans! I remember telling my mom that I would never, NEVER, give a speech. I still get really nervous about it, almost as nervous as when I first started, but the reward is indescribable. I can't imagine how different my life, and my faith, would be were it not for speech and debate. =)

  2. Very inspiring stuff! Sometimes, as in the poem, it really is just better to let God as fight our battles for us, as there in no-one way in a million years that we're gonna make it out of there alive!
    Your words were perfect for me today :) x

    1. I'm so glad, Eve! Yes, the more I experience the more I realize that God is the only one who can fight our battles, and our job is just to submit to Him and bring Him glory.