Thursday, May 31, 2012

That'll preach

I have a sermon to write, so for the past few days I've been relentlessly checking Facebook, browsing Pinterest, volunteering to help with other's projects, and generally finding any other way to distract myself from the work that needs to be done.  My ultimate downfall is having the fabulous university library right next to my office.  I promised myself I would wait until I finished...but alas, the draw proved too strong.  I came back loaded down with 3 DVDs and 4 books (2 of which were on my wish list for when I finish the other 6 books waiting patiently on my nightstand).

My name is Jenny, and I am a procrastinator.  But my particular block only comes when writing sermons.  With any other project, you'll find me digging in, eager to clear my desk of anything that might cross its surface, lest it become part of a dreaded pile (eek!).  With sermons, my way has always been to spend much time analyzing the passage, making copious notes, doing some research, and then making some more notes.  Then comes the overwhelming point where I see the pile (yikes!) of notes, and decide I need a break.  I may come back to write an outline, then a paragraph, and then I'm spent...or distracted.  You would think that after being in ministry for over a decade I would have become better at this.  The thing is that I don't write a traditional sermon all that often.  I do studies and meditations and devotions and reflections that are thought out, but not meticulously written into pages of witty, insightful, theological prose (okay, that never really happens...even with my completed sermons).

For a while, I blamed it on motherhood.  It does deserve some of the flack for turning my once organized brain into a pile of mush.  I now feel ADD as I can't (or I'm not allowed) to focus on any one task at a time, but am expected (demanded) by my little minions to bounce from order to order at their beck and call (cry, whine).

You might think that writing itself is what I detest, but look at me, taking a break from writing to WRITE about it.  Ironic, huh?  I've always had a part of me that feels like a writer and dream of someday doing more.  I feel a call to write and reflect and process through the written (typed, blogged) word.

Perhaps it's ministry itself that has me hesitant to stop and devote the time to a sermon.  With the impromptu office visits, the emergency calls, the important and numerous meetings, and the need to be with those whom I serve, it feels like a superfluous luxury to sit in the office and focus on the Word of God and my own thoughts, especially when I may be interrupted at any moment.  And yet, all of these tasks and the expectation to be available are part of the unseen work of a minister.  It's funny to me when I ask my kids for their impression of what I do at work.  Maryn says that I play on the computer and eat candy all day (as that's what she does when she comes to visit me).  Some days, like today, that's not far from the truth!  :)

(Maryn pretending to be me at work)

What else could be causing my hesitance?  Maybe it's the holy fear of speaking on behalf of God...and getting it wrong.  It is a sacred and holy task, when I often feel irreverent and informal.  It's a reminder of the BIGness of this calling and the accountability that is inherent within it.  Again, it's the fear of leaning on myself (and my weaknesses and insecurities) instead of on God.

Whatever may be the causes, I'm running low on candy and time, so I'd better get to work!

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