It’s been an eventful week. Not eventful in terms of “stuff happening”, but eventful meaning I’ve been busy. I spent last week waffling between thinking/working like crazy to edit the sermon and put together a power-point picture show, and trying to avoid it altogether. I came up with some pretty slick procrastination techniques, which you will learn about if you keep reading my highly instructive post.
1. I paid dearly for my euphoric completion to the final rough draft last week, the following day being one dragged from the bottom of the barrel. I have not had such cranky children since I don’t know when. I suspect I was no sweet-pea either.
2. I painted my laundry room. Not the whole thing, just the dark corner where the washing machine & dryer stand. So now there’s a beautiful cream-colored corner and the rest of the room is dark lavender. Just like the whole house used to be. Painting the laundry room took up at least 3 mornings. Painting is excellent for taking up many hours of valuable time, and you have something wonderful to show at the end of it. I really felt like I’d done something useful.
3. I baked something with each of my kids. Again, this is a useful thing for taking up extra time that you’d rather not spend on something else. Baking with my kids tends to double the time it takes to get a batch of muffins in the oven. Again, I didn’t feel that this was a waste of time. My kids love to bake, and I don’t spend enough time with them one-on-one. Each day I felt that I’d done something important.
4. We hosted company for supper one night. That was enjoyable and worth the extra effort cleaning the house took. It also meant I didn’t have to worry about writing that evening. 🙂
5. My dear husband and I worked all morning on Saturday to switch around our family room and living room. That felt good too.
6. I also worked 2 evenings at my part-time job. It’s not an intense thing – I think my official title must be “convenience store clerk” – but it usually sucks a lot of energy and leaves me pretty drained the next day.
I don’t usually have so much energy for accomplishing “stuff” during the week. Perhaps my list of procrastination activities is really a demonstration of how much energy I received from the sermon-writing process. And I wouldn’t say it was just “writing” either. It was a spiritual exercise and required a lot of prayer, quiet, and focus that I don’t usually allow myself to indulge in. And, finally, I really did get up in front of the churchful of people (“full” being a relative term since fully half the regular attendees were absent since the weekend was nice) and speak my message.
It was easier than I thought. I’d practiced it 3 times before the real deal, and halfway through I realized I’d zoned out and was reading on auto-pilot. It was, quite possibly, the effect of feeling terribly out-of-place.
Preaching was also harder than I thought. I poured my soul and spirit into that sermon; swung between worried excessively about making deep theological errors and being sure I was the next Frederick Buechner; and was definite that what I had to say was what I was meant to say. Afterwards the most anyone had to say was “Thanks, that was great.” That’s what people say when I bake something for potluck!
I realized that there had been more of my pride involved than I’d been aware of, and that this was one more step on my pilgrim-journey. It was a privilege to have the time to read, write, pray, and think in order to focus on something specific. It was a blessing to be allowed the experience of preaching when first-time sermons likely aren’t high on anyone’s list of reasons to come to church on Sunday morning. I am so thankful to belong to a church that enthusiastically supports people trying their wings.
And so perhaps the point of the whole process was for me to try my hand at something new. I still have no idea if what I spoke was worth anything to anyone listening, but it was life-changing for me.
*A side note: I sure appreciate what the pastor of our church does each week, although I expect it comes easier for him, having more experience than I. Somehow, he always comes up with something edifying each week. Amazing!