Too Nervous to Speak Up
August 2000

“Too Nervous to Speak Up,” Ensign, Aug. 2000, 66–67

Too Nervous to Speak Up

Shyness and nervousness have always made my life difficult. High school and college were trying because I was too afraid to answer questions verbally. Job interviews were equally hard, and it was difficult for me to secure employment.

After I joined the Church, sometimes I did not go to Church meetings for fear of being asked to offer a prayer. I felt bad having a testimony and not sharing it with my fellow brothers and sisters, but I was too nervous to speak up. One Sunday I was asked to offer a spiritual thought the next week. As I walked home after church that Sunday, I thought seriously of never returning.

That afternoon I decided to have a nap. Before I dozed off, my six-year-old son, David, walked into the bedroom holding a copy of the Pearl of Great Price. He had opened the book to Moses, chapter 6, and he asked me to read it to him. Reluctantly I told him I was tired, and I closed the book. He pleaded, “Please, Mommy, just read here.” He again opened to Moses, chapter 6, and pointed to verse 31. I started to read about Enoch:

“He bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?

“And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good” (Moses 6:31–32).

Even before David asked me to explain these scriptures, I had a new feeling within me. In the best and simplest way I could, I spoke to him in Kiswahili, our native tongue, and explained that the Lord promised to help Enoch and to make his weaknesses his strengths (see Ether 12:27). David smiled at me and told me to continue resting.

I did not go to sleep but spent the time pondering the realization that I am a special child of God and that He had a purpose in sending me to earth.

The next Sunday I was nervous, but I gave the spiritual thought. I was later called as a Relief Society teacher, and with the help of the other sisters and my loving Heavenly Father I was able to teach the lessons. I was subsequently called as first counselor in the branch Relief Society presidency.

It is amazing how the scriptures can bring light into our lives, both spiritually and temporally.

  • Pamela Akinyi Obaro is a member of the Parklands Branch, Nairobi Kenya Stake.

Illustrated by Brian Call