Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The King's Speech

The King’s Speech, nominated for a number of film awards, tells the true shame-to-fame story of King George VI of England, who overcame a debilitating stammer to powerfully, verbally, stir his country to stand up to the encroaching evil of Nazism. How did King George overcome the humiliation that had kept him cowering in the background most of his life? He submitted to unorthodox techniques of an unorthodox speech coach. Granted, he was desperate—other speech therapists hadn’t worked and he was suddenly thrust into the limelight by family circumstances. He had to do something, so he tried the new guy. As the movie unfolds, we see how difficult the process was. Submitting was difficult. Exercising was difficult. Believing the exercises might help was difficult. Confronting his impediment’s emotional roots was difficult. Practicing was difficult. Making public speeches was absolutely terrifying. He had to wonder if the pain of this retraining process wasn’t worse than the pain of his humiliating stammer.

This week, two friends challenged me to discover what keeps me cowering in the background instead of boldly pursuing success in one of my cherished goals. I’m asking God about this and awaiting His answer. But in the meantime, I see myself in the beginning stages of King George’s process—admitting old lies, submitting to new truth, exercising, and practicing. I can picture sunlit cerulean sky above the mountaintop that I believe God wants me to jump from, trusting Him to fly me atop His wings to wherever He deems success is. But below on the hillside, I see myself stuck in a bush, ankles tangled in vines, preventing me from walking freely up to that breathtaking precipice. Today one friend suggested that perhaps God has already loosened the vines around my ankles and I’m willfully lingering in the safety of the bush. Ouch. I admit the bush’s leafy branches have shaped themselves into a comfy chair and if I don’t flex my legs, the thorns in the vines don’t hurt too much. What’s this trickle of blood on my shins? Am I going to tuck up my legs again, or step out?

The King’s Speech reminds me of my ancestor Moses. His fourth expression of fear about undertaking the task the Lord had called him to was this: “Oh Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” [Exodus 4:10] His fifth was asking God to send someone else to deliver God’s people from slavery to the Egyptians. Moses knew the goal was beyond him; he submitted to the Lord’s request by trusting God to use him, to guide him, and to help him. The exodus story unfolds in ways Moses could not predict. He jumped; God caught him and carried him to His goal, in His way, in His timing. I need to do the same. My thundering heart squeezes the breath from my lungs even as I write this.  


Michelle Van Loon said...

Beautiful description of what it means to take a leap of faith - whether it is of the "trying yet another speech therapist" or the "stepping out of the bush" variety. Risk is terrifying, but the certainty of a protected, unchanged life has it's own variety of unforeseen consequences, too.

Thank you so much for taking the risk to share this. :)

Charlotte said...

Beautifully written...

Jane - I'd love to share your post on the sidebar of my blog so that others could read this. If your not comfortable with this, then that's fine too. Just let me know.


Mary Sorrentino said...

Courage - You've described it beautifully here! It's not about not being afraid. It's about taking the step of faith and obedience even when our knees are knocking and our hearts are pounding and only God knows what the "success" will look like at the other end! You my dear - faith filled friend, are a testament to the courage of Joshua 1:7-9. I'm so glad God decided to let our paths cross so many years ago! :o) Me