I used to take notes whilst listening to sermons.
You see, I attend a church that uses the three-point method of preaching. The pastor spends 35 minutes going through their teaching on that day’s scripture passage. Reader, that’s a long time to try and keep people’s attention. So, they tend to divide their message into three points. Since it’s a sermon, the last point is always Jesus.
As a communicator, I have my own thoughts about this style of preaching and 35-minute sermons in general. But this is not the space for those soap boxes.
For me, taking notes was as much about learning as it was about getting my rambling mind to focus.
It started to feel like work or school, so I slowly dropped the habit. Until this week.
This week, one of our pastors, Hector Sanchez, preached about rest. I’d imagine it’s a tricky message to relay to a room full of over-achieving, hyper-busy New Yorkers. And yet, it’s a message we need to hear. Repeatedly.
We were still somewhere in point one when Hector asked a question that got me reaching for a pen and notebook for the first time in a couple of years. “How do I [subconsciously] try to prove my life matters?”
The question gave me pause as I listened to the rest of the message. And I’ve been chewing on it ever since.
For me, and maybe for you as well, I notice this desire to prove myself creeping into my actions almost daily. It’s in the moments when I feel like I can’t step away from work, even though I know I need to. It’s in my anxiety over not feeling needed by friends. It’s even in some of my spiritual rituals.
Without realizing it, the impulse to prove myself slithers through my brain, firing neurons to send messages to my hands as they type a frantic text. It whispers in my ears that no matter what I do, it will never be enough or that I am shouting into the void.
Brains are funny that way.
One of my favorite things to notice about Jesus is how he doesn’t seem to operate this way. When I examine how he moves around in the world, his actions and inactions scream presence, if such a thing is possible. Instead of scrambling to do more, he retreats. Instead of appeasing the elite, he calls them white-washed tombs. Instead of proving his righteousness via ritual cleanliness, he touches lepers.
In the November 1 podcast episode with Elizabeth Moore and Audrey Elledge, I posed my signature sign-off question to them. “Tell me one thing that’s hard right now and one thing that’s great.” Elizabeth talked about learning not to be ashamed of herself. She said, “Right now I’m actively fighting kind of my tendency toward like negative self-image, thoughts that just completely waylay me, and I am kind of for the first time standing up to myself for myself.”
As we make our way through the beginning of the new year, are there areas where you feel the frantic pull to prove? Are there areas where you can stand up for yourself to yourself?
Check out my recent blog posts!
3 Tips to Help Singles Survive Wedding Season
It’s wedding season! Let’s be real, is it ever not wedding season? If you’re like me, weddings inspire a maelstrom of emotions. We are happy for our friend(s). At the same time, a number of murkier emotions rise to the surface. A wedding represents a lot of lovely...