In church this past weekend, I wanted to bring up a prayer request and I had two options: tell the minister before the service and let him include it when it came time, or speak up in front of everyone with it.
What I did was this: I flagged down the minister before the service and told him I had a prayer request, then laid out my options and asked him, 'which do you vote for?' He told me to speak up during the service and that if I didn't raise my hand, he'd be sure to ask me directly.
Kinda sounds like I got an answer I didn't want, but it's quite the opposite: I knew that he'd encourage me to speak up and the whole point of talking to him about it first was to make sure he'd give me the opportunity to do so by making time in the service this week. It was just a bonus motivation having him ready to ensure I followed through with my intention by picking on me if I didn't raise my hand.
I'm happy to say that although my heartrate sped up prior to that part of the service and I felt the clamp of anxiety as I worried that I'd speak too quietly and nobody would be able to hear, I bravely raised my hand when he opened up the floor to our requests and got mine in first, speaking slowly and clearly. Nothing horrible happened: nobody stared at me, I didn't feel my face turn hot, I wasn't asked to repeat myself or speak up, and I didn't stumble over my words. Just goes to show that the anxiety and catastrophizing thoughts were liars - I COULD do it afterall. :)