For the last 4 years (it’s actually 3, I took last year off) I have participated in homeschool speech and debate competitions around Southern California. I have learned so much about effective communication, writing speeches (writing period!), performing for others, how to handle stress, how to think clearly on my feet and much more. This year, because of my heavy academic load and basketball, I am only competing in three events, one of which I perform alongside my sister.
I have to admit, at the beginning of the year I was not very enthusiastic about participating. My priorities really fell more in line with school, maybe a job and my basketball team. As much as I enjoyed the tournaments and my friends in the league, my heart was just not in it. Then, after a lot of prayer and discussion with my parents I decided to stick it out for my senior year—if only for my little sister. I know that in the next 5 years she has to compete she is going to be incredible, and by taking the time to do a speech with her gives her the motivation she needs. I also had an idea for another speech (an original script for a dramatic piece) that I knew could be a lot of fun to work with.
Yet, in the 6 months since I made the final decision to compete, I still have those occasional moments of “I really don’t want to do this.” This week I have had that feeling…majorly…and there is a tournament tomorrow. Then, I think of an attribute I admire in my dear friend Gabby—a deep commitment to whatever she is doing wherever she is. It does not matter if the “whatever” is a paper, a basketball game, a test, a job or a conversation, her full attention and all of her energy is focused on completing, competing and doing well. She is all. there. Nothing keeps her from doing what God has put before her. (Thanks Gabby. I love you.)
All there. God never tells me to go half way, does he? In his word he does not call me to kinda, sorta maybe put some effort into what he has called me to do. Ever. No, he has given me clear instructions to follow where the Spirit leads and then just go hard through whatever might come my way. Then I take a step back, look at my speeches, and realize that I a passive attitude is not appropriate. It does not mean that my goals have to be to win, no! My goal for my duo (the speech with my sister) is simply to have fun, to make people laugh and to spend quality time with my little sister. My goal for my original/open interpretation is to portray a message of the love God has for us through a simple story, to grow in my ability as a speaker and to conquer some of my own personal pride. If I “do well” by making it to quarterfinals, semifinals and beyond….cool! If not, I will be content, because I know that each time I give a speech in the next 2-3 days, I will be all there, because that is what I am called to do.