How God showed up at the Toastmasters District 40 Spring Conference

Have you ever visited someone and felt like royalty?  Where they did everything they could to make you feel special, welcomed and treasured?

I just returned from Toastmaster’s District 40 Spring Conference.  I’m in District 10 (Northeast Ohio) and D40 is our neighbor to the south…southern Ohio, parts of Kentucky and West Virginia.  The conference was held in Columbus, Ohio, a short 1hr, 45min drive for me.  I have quite a few TM buddies in D40, and I was looking forward to attending.  Plus, the bonus that really drew me in was that David Henderson, the 2010 World Champion of Public Speaking was the keynote speaker.  We’re Facebook friends, but we’ve never met face to face.  I wanted to meet him.

D40 invited me to also conduct an educational workshop at the conference.  I was THRILLED to do it:  I always jump at the chance to speak and teach and pass on to others the knowledge I’ve gained in Toastmasters.  I gave a session called “Organize! Vocalize! Energize!” which focused on three aspects of speaking skills:  structure, vocal variety and body movement.

To summarize the weekend in one word I think I’d say “remarkable.”  As a Christian, I’m always on the lookout for how God is showing up in circumstances.  And he did.  At least he did for me.

I won’t go into a lot of details, but there were snafus with the hotel, schedule issues, and a fairly large number of walk-ins…all of these threw big flailing curve balls to the conference organizers.  But they never flinched.  They took every obstacle, every roadblock with grace, humor and a get-it-done attitude.  And in the midst of it, they made me, a visiting presenter, feel like a rock star.  I’m sure they did the same for the other presenters.  They were so accommodating, even in the face of things that could have really sent them into the orbit of grumpiness.

Do you get irritated when things go wrong?  I do.  I struggle to maintain my composure and simply keep my mouth shut.  But the nice folks of D40 barely made a peep about it to people outside their circle of conference committee members.  That was remarkable to me.  They could have poisoned the whole feel of the conference, and oozed some yuck into an already stressed situation.  But they didn’t.  That was cool.

James 1: 19-20 says:  “My dear brothers, take note of this.  Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires“. Whoa.  Getting angry doesn’t make a terrible situation right.  Crabbing and complaining doesn’t either.  It doesn’t put you on any moral high ground, even though it sure feels like it does.   Instead, being quick to listen…being a problem- solver, a bridge-builder, a dignity-protector…those do.

So, that’s how God showed up for me.  I was challenged to be more like that when I’m faced with irritations and setbacks.  How about you?

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