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“DAMAGING NORMAL” – May 3

May 4, 2013

“O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! ”  Psalm 84:12

National Christian Forensics and Communication...

National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am on the last day of a four-day, National Christian Forensics and Communications association (NCFCA), Regional tournament.  I believe I am on the verge of a severe speech and debate overdose and may need an extended recovery period.  However, my over-exposure to so many excellent speech and debate competitors has provided me with a unique perspective that has led to a startling conclusion.

Based on my observation, I am resolved that prolonged exposure to NCFCA will result in permanent brain damage.

Fact No.1The typical brain responds to public speaking with a fear induced adrenaline dump resulting in flight.

Fact No. 2The severity of the typical brain’s fear response increases inversely with a decrease in speech preparation time.

Fact No. 3The typical brain will become inoperable when public speaking is combined with the reality that other people are actually judging their speaking performance.

Over the last couple days, I have observed students that do not exhibit any of the common and expected manifestations of a normally functioning brain.  The common denominator among these students is exposure to the NCFCA.

I have watched young people get up in front of their peers and do fairy tale interpretations, complete with silly voices and actions – that should be scary.

I have seen some competitors deliver speeches on current event topics, with limited preparation.  I don’t think that some of these competitors were prepared for their selected topic but they got up to deliver their speech in spite of this – that should have sent them to the bathroom for a good purge.

I have seen adolescents tackle deep theological questions in front of stern looking adults – what could be more terrifying for a teenager?

These NCFCA students do not exhibit normal responses.  The ease at which these students accomplished these activities demonstrates that there is something abnormal about their brains.

Those who have been in NCFCA for extended durations often enter multiple events.  These are the students who do what is called the Ironman of speech and debate.  The Ironman competitors enter at least five speech competitions and the debate competition.  The result of this particular malady is that these competitors often can give more the 24 speeches in a day and still enjoy the process.

That is conclusive evidence of a completely damaged brain.  Their exposure to NCFCA has probably damaged them for the rest of their lives.

They will most likely suffer from an annoying ease in standing in front of other people and communicating effectively and persuasively.

This is an example where damaging normal is a good thing.  There are so many other areas in our lives where normal needs to be likewise damaged.

It can take a long time for the fear response of our brains to be sufficiently broken.  In my opinion, it is best for a person to face their fears in small controlled events that irradiate their natural fear response from one degree to a lesser degree.  These NCFCA students have successfully killed the debilitating fear of public speaking by doing what most people would never consider doing.  They typically started speaking in small classes; then moved onto broader groups in the clubs; then they enter one event at a competition; and then more, until they are orating three days of more than twenty speeches per day.  The more often they submit their fears to action, the easier it has become to overcome.  In addition, they have surrounded themselves with doers.  They are encouraged by their peers and coaches to do more and improve.

NCFCA is a fear killing organization that is permanently changing how our children communicate with the world they live in.

I have meditated on the successfulness of the NCFCA.  I am convinced that we need various forms of NCFCA-like organizations in our lives.  Our spiritual lives are so often inhibited by fear.  Consider our apprehension – fear – of fully trusting God.  We can be so fearful of trusting God that we live in the adrenaline induced world of the control-freak.  We try to control our little worlds through a deception created by fear.

The majority of people find it a fearful activity to trust God with all that they value.  That is not considered normal by this world.  Trusting in the sovereignty of God is considered strange and weird by many.  It is considered irresponsible due to fear.

We need to work at killing this fear by the same principles of the NCFCA.  We kill our inner control freak by doing – trusting God.  When we trust God in the small way, then we will realize that He is trustworthy.  When we trust God in close and trusted environments, then we will discover that He knows what we need.  The longer we are engaged in the action of actually trusting God and being around those who trust God the more we discover that there is nothing to fear.  The sovereignty of God is a reality that we experience when we trust God.

The apprehension of trusting God can be killed by facing our fear and going forward in faith, despite our fear.

Step out in faith and your brain will be changed permanently from the normal and prepared for the extraordinary.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for transforming our hearts.  Thank you for changing how we think.  Thank you for killing fear.  Lord, you have been so good to me.  You have been so faithful.  Forgive me for not trusting you like I should.  Show me those areas in my life where I am not trusting you.  Help me to step out in faith; my your Spirit kill my sin of fear.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

6 comments

  1. […] “DAMAGING NORMAL” – May 3 […]


  2. […] « “DAMAGING NORMAL” – May 3 […]


  3. I was a speech and debate coach (in the public school system) for 15 years and now work for a company that helps facilitate the activity nationwide for public schools, colleges, private schools and homeschool groups. I think the kids learning to do the activity with NFCFA and STOA are very blessed. From my experience and observations across the nation, I’m forever impressed at the ability of these teens to put their fears aside and get up there to compete, perform or speak so maturely and professionally. I think that the students that have these Christian organizations to help them tap into the Holy Spirit to rid fear will go much further than the student without that “secret”. Great article. Love this! Hope you recover from your stint of listening to all these performances. These kids are blessed to have you.


  4. “Step out in faith and your brain will be changed permanently from the normal and prepared for the extraordinary.” Love that, JD! What an exciting possibility!


  5. My concern (regarding public speaking about Christ) is that in losing our fear of speaking, we risk losing our fear of (reverence for) the God we talk about. We might be prepared, we might be correct, but we might also be wrong in our attitudes and objectives. Boldness is good only if it is from the Holy Spirit.


  6. This is an amazing post. You are so right in your observation. It was also very interesting to read about the NCFCA. Thanks for sharing.



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