Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Get Nervous Before I Preach

Every time I preach at Redeemer, or other places, I feel nervous. I feel nervous before every class I teach at our community college. I rarely perform musically anymore, but every time I did I felt nervous before stepping onto the stage. I see this as a gift, not a hindrance.

My nervousness tells me I am not taking the opportunity to speak, before others, for granted. I do not think I am God's gift to people. I need to get out of the way so God's Spirit can bring his gifts. I am confident but not overconfident.

My nervousness tells me I don't know what is going to happen. I do not repeat sermons at Redeemer, at funerals, at weddings, or, for by far the most part, anywhere. Every message for me is new, like preparing a meal I've never cooked before. I don't know how it's going to turn out.

My nervousness tells me I am expecting God to show up. I want more than anything to discern correctly, to get the God-moments right. I want to listen correctly. From my tiny POV I cannot predict what things will look like when God makes his moves.

My nervousness tells me that I have faith in God. Every time I preach I feel like I'm jumping off a high cliff and trusting that God will catch me.

My nervousness tells me I have an awareness of what is at stake. The issues for me are nothing less than life and death. At every wedding. At every funeral. On every Sunday morning.

Thank you, God, for the gift of nervousness.