I was recently invited to speak at a women’s conference, bringing a message from my book, More Beauty, Less Beast. I was preceded onstage by a highly regarded teaching matriarch of the church. Someone the ladies all knew and loved.

As I sat there listening, I was stunned. She was stealing my show, covering almost all the points from my own carefully plotted out presentation.

How could I fix this? I couldn’t come up with an entirely new presentation at the last minute. 

My best friend Jan, sitting beside me, whispered, “What’s wrong?”

I confided with tears in my eyes, “She just covered my presentation. What am I going to do?”

Jan seriously considered the question. I knew she would. She’s that kind of wonderful friend.

Jan, who is widely known for her extraordinary children’s programs, said that once she spent countless hours coming up with an idea for a big VBS presentation with elaborate staging and costuming details. She’d described her ideas to the leader and then spent weeks creating the details.

When Jan arrived on the first day of VBS, she was shocked to find that the leader had heisted all her ideas and used them as the central set. Her massive efforts had been hijacked.

“So, what did you do?” I asked, eager to hear her solution, for Jan is one of the godliest people I’ve ever known.

“Well, at first, I was mad, but I realized that anger was the wrong attitude if we were both doing all we could in the name of the Lord. I couldn’t change the physical material. So, I prayed for a different attitude, and I heard a still, small voice speak to my heart: ‘Go ahead and do the same presentation, just do it your way. I’ll make My message completely different through your specific gifts and abilities and it will minister to the audience in an entirely unique way.’”

So, I heeded Jan’s advice.

Amazingly, my attitude morphed into one of praise. I prefaced my presentation with thanks to the previous speaker, who “laid the perfect groundwork by presenting many of the same biblical points I’ll be expanding upon.”

Then the Almighty showed up and stole the show from both of us. Exactly the way it should be.

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Debora M. Coty is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of over 40 books, including including the best-selling Too Blessed to Be Stressed series. Visit Debora at www.DeboraCoty.com