Is it possible to stutter boldly? On the surface, stuttering and boldness seem almost incompatible with one another. We often use the word stuttering in passing to describe the speech of someone who is paralyzed by fear, anxiety, or uncertainty–which, of course, is not the same as stuttering because of a neurological issue. My heart’s desire is to live boldly, never missing a single opportunity to proclaim Christ or to speak life into someone. But is boldness even possible when pauses and hesitations often mark my words? This is the topic I would like to explore today.
Many people who stutter may seem timid or unsure of themselves, merely because of the mannerisms that stuttering produces. Understandably, a listener may interpret the pauses, hesitations, nervous gestures, and blocks as classic signs that the speaker lacks confidence both in himself and in his message. While people who stutter often do struggle with underlying insecurity, this assumption is not necessarily true for everyone. A person who stutters may be bold at heart; but the shaky words seem to transform the message in his heart from one of boldness into one of timidity on the way out, leaving him wondering if his words even reflected what was really in his heart. If I had to pick the most confusing aspect of stuttering, I think it would be how it affects the world’s perception of your message.
Stuttering is a constant battle between two identities~the person you are inside and the person people sometimes perceive you to be. Stuttering might make an extroverted person at heart seem shy or a confident person seem somewhat timid. However, I ultimately have an important choice to make. I can choose either to hide behind my stutter or to humbly praise the Lord for it, embrace it, and be who He really made me to be.
This is where the whole idea of stuttering boldly comes in. I am naturally a shy person, but I have often let stuttering silence me much more than just my quiet nature alone ever would have. Sadly, when I let my stutter silence me, I am choosing to be a victim of something that I believe in my heart God intended for good. I become so worried about how I sound that I let precious opportunities to be bold for Christ or to reach out to someone slip through my fingers. Only as I continue to cultivate humble gratitude and acceptance in my heart for my stutter will I be able to speak boldly.
Stuttering boldly is all about stuttering openly with a peace of mind that can only come from the Lord. It is about being okay with your words not always coming out the first time. I am not 100% there yet, but it definitely takes some time. When I get my first job, I will have to learn how to confidently ask questions, talk to customers, and express concerns, most likely stuttering on words here and there the whole time. But with boldness from the Lord flowing through my words, stuttering does not have to weaken the message.
Living with a stutter requires you to redefine what boldness means. Maybe… true boldness is more about what we say than how we say it. God can take any message, no matter how feebly delivered, and use it for His glory.
I once watched a video of someone who smiled the whole time they stuttered. That image has never left me. To me, that is one of the most beautiful pictures of stuttering boldly I have ever seen.
Much love, Makenzie