-As promised, this is a rough transcript of my podcast episode. I will be following along this as my script, minor changes may occur as I speak and stumble over words. If you would prefer to listen, please subscribe on Spotify, or iTunes! –
Hello everyone, my name is Sharon! Thank you for joining me on this week’s episode of UNASHAMED (to be Asian). I know the past few weeks have been much heavier in terms of content, so I wanted to bring something a little cutesier and fun this week that is relatable to anyone listening in, Asian or not. As you can probably already tell from the title, this episode talks a little bit about being tongue-tied. It could happen if you’re facing your crush, or an anxious situation, or just in every day life. I know that I for one get tongue-tied all the time. Just for fun, I’m going to not edit out any of my tongue-tie moments for this episode, and you’ll be surprised how many slip-ups I have just in reading my own words! Maybe that will get a little laughter out of everyone. Laughter is the best medicine after all, and these past months really need a lot of healing for a lot of us.
What inspired this episode was actually a series of typos that happened as a result of auto-correct during a kind-of-serious conversation with a friend. While that isn’t necessarily verbally being tongue-tied, it made me think of all the times I struggle with speaking. I do come from an immigrant family, and though a native to speaking English, English was not my first language. Growing up, I’ve had my fair share of forgetting what “the right word” is in either English or Cantonese, but I don’t think this phenomenon is particular to people who speak multiple languages. In day to day conversation, there are multitudes of moments where I or whom I’m speaking with stumble over words. I remember when I was younger, I would get really embarrassed and scared any time I had to speak out loud in class, because I was super afraid of getting tongue tied. For that reason, I almost never volunteered to answer, and I spoke with such a soft voice so that if I made any mistakes, no one would ever hear it.
Now that I’m a little (or a lot) older, my ears still turn red when I’m talking, and I still notice my nervous tick of kicking my feet while I’m speaking. It’s nerve wracking! And to be honest, I’m not sure which came first: my introversion, or my fear of speaking. I can’t really pinpoint for you the moment that I became ashamed of the sheer possibility of saying the wrong thing, and it’s honestly a little silly, because as aforementioned, lots of tongue-tied moments happen in daily life to even some of the most eloquent people. Now in my regular daily conversations, if you know me personally, then you know I usually just insert some silly gibberish to offset my tongue-tied moment. It serves as a nice way to reset my mouth and interjection to awkward feelings from my verbal blunder, but to be honest, it’s still hard. Does anyone else feel this way about speaking? Is this an introversion issue? Or is this just a Sharon issue? Please let me know, because I have been wondering this all my life if I just have extreme social anxiety in regards to speaking.
And if I were to be honest, I think that fear escalated when I first became a Christian. I remember being asked to pray out loud for the first time – I don’t even remember what I said! I actually posted a guide to prayer in my SSEWAN blog, (so here’s a shameless plug-in for those of you who may be interested, please check it out at www.SSEWAN.com) and in that guide, I talk about this fear. And even now, sometimes as I’m sharing my thoughts and reflections, I get scared that I mixed up a name, or somehow in explaining myself I’ve somehow fallen away from theology or rubbed someone the wrong way. But why is that? Ultimately, it still comes back to fear of mankind and judgement of others. If I were to say or believe something that had theological fallacy, I should allow others to peer into my thoughts and ask for clarification so that we can grow together in faith. However, in my fear, I limit those opportunities. Ephesians 4:29 says this: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” I think for a lot of us, we focus on trying to make sure we aren’t speaking in corruption, but ultimately that negates the rest of this verse: we forget that there’s room for building one another up and grace. We are not perfect people, and therefore we need God’s provision of Christ – and the body of Christ is found in each other.
To be honest, hosting this podcast is excruciatingly scary for me. Not only am I speaking, but I am interlacing my devotionals and sharing God’s Word. I am certain that some people may disagree with my beliefs – both from the perspective of believers and non-believers. I continually have to be in prayer and remind myself that I am still a student. I am constantly in a place where I need to learn more from non-believers and believers alike, and to expand my perspective and horizons to become more understanding and a better steward to serve God through serving you.
So I implore you to think on what are some things that you’re afraid of sharing to the world? What flaws might you have that logically shouldn’t be scary to reveal, but you’re scared of being judged for it anyways? I think it’s funny how much we allow Satan to lie to us and tell us that we have so much to be ashamed of, when really a lot of it is just our own personal fears. Maybe you can relate with me in terms of speaking – but even Obama has had a tongue-tied moment in front of the whole world! He is probably one of the most eloquent speakers of our time, and if he can get tongue-tied, it’s definitely a normal thing! It’s not something to be freaked out about, and yet, it was one of the biggest fears I had growing up. in Christ, we’re called to keep one another accountable without a judgmental heart; Romans 14:13 tells us“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” We aren’t to pass judgement on each other, and in all things, we should do and say with the intention to help one another in our spiritual walk.
And even for those of you who aren’t believers, I hope you can take away from this episode that:
A. I’m a horrible speaker and somehow run a podcast, so sometimes our flaws really don’t mean that much.
B. Our fears are often just lies we believe within ourselves that hold us back or make us do silly, superstitious things (like talk so softly the teachers think you need speech therapy)
and C. That conquering your fears is a matter of confidence and believing.
As a Christian, I believe God has created us for a specific path and equips us even in our weaknesses to do things we might not have the confidence to do in every day life. God gives us strength and victory over sin and any obstacles we may encounter… and that the strength and confidence and hope needed in these battles come from knowing that He lovingly created us and has a plan for us – so much so that he would sacrifice His Son for our sins, so that we would have a fighting chance against sin. We see this in the story of Moses – he challenges God’s appointment of him with the fact that he sucks at speaking (probably even worse than me), and yet God reminds him that it’s not about what he can do, but what God can do in him. I hope that you can consider that what you do in this world and what you do it for – the fears you conquer, and the struggles you go through – don’t have to be your sole burden to bear. That you can let go of whatever burdens you, and trust that God will work through you and in you.
And as usual, thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode of UNASHAMED (to be Asian). As I shared earlier, if you’d like to read more of my content through SSEWAN, you can also visit http://www.SSEWAN.com. I post my devotionals, and sometimes sporadically also share random insights about fashion, travel (pre-COVID of course), and budgeting as well. Or, if you’ really loved this episode and would like to continue on a conversation, I post reflections on Wednesday, and you can also DM me on instagram @unashamd.space . As I’m transitioning into self-employment, donations in support of this podcast and my blog are greatly appreciated, but not required! You can support me through www.paypal.me/sharonsewan (or the DONATE button on the main page).