As I mentioned earlier, I am preaching my first sermon in a few weeks’ time. When I was asked to preach several months ago, I freaked out. I stopped breathing for at least 20 seconds. I cried a little. I asked several wise people if I should do it (they all said yes). I thought about it for a long time. I prayed. I eventually said I would.
Over the following months, I read lots and lots and lots of books. I was told that was a good thing to do, and I like to read, so I did. I also filled up half a journal with my notes. It’s so pretty to look at, all that nice, neat handwriting. The big day was ages away, and I was feeling a bit proud of myself for being SO prepared. I wasn’t going to be one of those people who pull an all-nighter or finish their powerpoint slides on the church computer an hour before the service. No way.
But now, it is nearly the end of June. We all know what comes after June. JULY.
The big day is getting closer and I am overwhelmed, people. It’s rather daunting, trying to think about how to order all those beautiful handwritten notes of mine into a logical, interesting, Spirit-led, Bible-based, worthwhile, 30-minute message. I haven’t been to Bible College and I’m not a Pastor and I’M STILL SO YOUNG. Aren’t I? Maybe not. But still, HELP! I’m. NOT. READY!
Of course, I decided to do what I always do when I’m nervous or scared about something I’ve agreed to do because I thought I wanted to and then I realise I don’t really want to but it’s far too late get out of it.
I totally should have prayed (more), but I turned to the internet. Yes, I do know how ridiculous that sounds. Hey, at least I’m up wit’ the play, kickin’ it with the young ‘uns. I’m like my favourite TV Dad, Phil Dunphy: “I’m hip, I surf the web, I text.”
L-O-L is right.
Before my first 5K race, I typed “fastest 5K time ever” into Google. Not a wise move. To undo the resulting damage, I had to spend a good hour on Pinterest looking for motivational quotes about how I might be slow, but I am still faster than people on the couch, bla bla bla. Then I could finally breathe again. (And the next day, I ran my race. Slowly).
I’m a slow runner, but I’m an even slower learner. The night before shooting my first wedding, I decided to read articles entitled “Ten Mistakes Couples Make When Hiring a Wedding Photographer” and “Common Wedding Photography Mistakes And How to Avoid Them“. FYI, if you Google “shooting my first wedding tomorrow, HELP!” you will not get the help you desire. You will just get a bunch of professionals telling you that you have NO place photographing a wedding without decent equipment and lots of experience. Some bad things followed. Hyperventilating, wanting to have a car accident, lots of crying and a temper tantrum. Thank goodness my husband has a steady head on his shoulders and was able to sort me out. (And the next day, I photographed my first wedding. And I survived).
Alas, I still did not learn my lesson; it’s like I just can’t help myself. And so, I have been reading all kinds of ‘enlightening’ articles. Things like:
“What I Wish I’d Known Before Preaching My First Sermon” (not particularly helpful, despite reading it at the correct time (ie. before as opposed to after))
“First Sermon Jitters: Help For Aspiring Preachers” (only mildly helpful)
“Top 10 Preaching Mistakes” (this actually gave me more things to worry about)
Okay, there isn’t even a point to this blog post. The truth is, I am totally procrastinating. Something I don’t ordinarily do. My Monday-to-Friday job involves working with tight deadlines, which I thrive on. I always get stuff done on time, and I never leave things to the last minute. WHAT AM I DOING? It’s well and truly time to get this thing written, and not just so I have more time to worry about the actual delivery of it.
I must get OFF the internet, and stuck into some serious sermon writing. And then, once it’s written, you’ll probably find me looking up more unhelpful things online. Maybe “Your First Sermon Will Always Be Bad”. Hang on, I’ve already read that one. It contained helpful gems such as “If you think your first few sermons are great, you’re probably self-deceived. If the folks in your home church think your first few sermons are great, it’s probably because they love you and they’re proud of you … Your sermons will be critiqued. You want them to be critiqued, and harshly.” Do I? Do I really??
Truth be told, I’m more worried about the writing part than I am about the speaking part. I’m used to speaking up the front in church, since I lead worship regularly. So I am hoping that once I get the words down on paper – preferably in the right order – I will feel slightly less nervous. Sounds reasonable to me!
The big day is July 28th. Just over a month away. Until then, please pray for me if you’re the praying kind. Otherwise, you can just wish me luck. I might let you know how it goes …