Preaching, Fear, Anxiety, Faith and Science

Twice this week I have woken up before 4 AM. The first time was in a severe anxiety attack but I have the tools to calm it quicker than I used to. Just cannot return to sleep after it happens. The second time, this morning, I am a lot more at peace. I find I love this time of day. I have written several FB posts that I want to put into this blog so I am copying and pasting them. Don’t judge the grammar and edits. I like FB for the freedom from all of that. 🙂

July 14, 2021

I woke up having an anxiety attack this morning. I have a sermon to record today and I have all the feelings about it. I woke up at 3:30 with my heart racing so I knew sleep was over at this point, so I came outside where my anxiety has always been held gently. I listened to @glennondoyle ‘a podcast: We Can Do Hard Things. I watched the sunrise. Looked at my beautiful butterfly 🦋 solar light and saw a sweet spider hanging seemingly in midair on a web I couldn’t see without the spider bc I ran right into it later. Ugh! Sorry, spider. Listening to Glennon felt like going back to my earlier days when my world was not necessarily simpler but certainly different. She’s comfort to me. Now I know why I connect to her so much. We both have anxiety and depression. She’s right it’s like being Tigger and Eeyore every day. We fear losing people all the time and sometimes that anxiety sends us into high alert and we can’t move and what we are processing isn’t necessarily true. Neurotypical usually experience stress that matches the situation; we do not. I also had never thought about how we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that our anxiety is how we experience love. Then she got to this part. It’s true we are going to lose each other at some point. We may fail or get hurt, but we let life happen anyway. We can do the hard things. I can preach this sermon.This love is so beautiful and so real….so stay and breathe.

July 13, 2021

Something I learned yesterday as I was struggling to write this sermon, and I’m even using one of my sermons from school but it has completely changed—It’s a completely new sermon, I can use an app and transcribe my natural flow of thoughts. It’s way different than what I wrote down. I’m going to check this to my sermon notes. But the funniest thing happened. Well, two things. Jake came out at the very end of my recording to tell me something. He did not know I was still recording, although done. He said: All right! 😂. Now all right is listed at the bottom of my sermon. Much better than Amen, I think. Lol. Then my candle randomly broke and the candle wax pouring onto the floor. Several thoughts come to mind since this candle is Frankincense and myrrh: 1) mic drop from Jesus. (I like this one) 2) Did I break Jesus’ toys 😢. (Don’t like) 3) or is the candle breaking an actual visual of the jar breaking by the unnamed woman we are supposed to remember?! 😱❄️❄️❄️❄️

July 15, 2021

Here’s the wax still on my table today from the day my candle randomly broke post-sermon practice. (It didn’t fall. It just busted open from the side- and that has a lot of theological reflection in and of itself). I’ve gotten lots of amazing feedback about the spooky cool occurrence, but today I’m looking at the wax on the table and laughing. Doesn’t this look like a footprint on the beach. Only one. God is carrying me on one foot. 😂😇❄️. The wax on the ground makes me think of the crowd yelling: why this waste! My candle is reminding me nothing is ever wasted and I’m keeping it forever.

July 15, 2021

The effects of an anxiety attack hits the hardest the day after. Of course I worked so hard yesterday not to feel it. I feel it today. My body feels like complete deadweight today. Glad I have two days to recover for Sunday.

July 15, 2021

Watching “Raya and the Last Dragon” with this dude. We are 10 min in and blake said: “Wow, he is just saying everything the Bible says” (Ba). I stopped everything to enjoy Blake noticing Bible wisdom that is in everything. Earlier I told him I wanted to watch Patch Adams again (joking, sort of). I told him that movie guides my life. I want to be PA. Blake: except for the flashing party. Y’all, Blake’s watched the movie once, me-lost count. I think of the wisdom, never the flashing. He’s 13 after all. 😂

July 16, 2021

It is another 4 AM morning, but at least no anxiety or panic attack this time. I went to bed at 10 PM last night and am feeling a sense of calm this morning. I am also finding myself better able to relax at 4 AM than any other time of day I am awake. I am laying outside on my gym mat and listening to an annoying bug buzzing-I think it is a locust. . My dogs are next to me and the breeze is nice. On Wednesday I was overcome with nerves about recording my sermon, way more anxious about that than I am for Sunday. It is probably b/c the recording is what people will see online. I am ready for the conversation in person where I think I settle better. Doing a recording I am trying to be so perfect and it never is perfect, so I finally just sent the damn thing. Good for my soul.I talked to my therapist, thankfully I had a session with her on the morning of my anxiety attack, about how the recording is making me the most anxious. She kept prodding me as to why b/c my breath was definitely different about the recording than the actual preaching in the pulpit. She finally got me to say that I am nervous about people I know watching the sermon. My world is full of amazing preachers and I am nervous to show who I am. And no one in my world is making me feel this way but me. My therapist and I both know this and are working on it. Then, yesterday, a story came to me through my amazing friends on Twitter that made me feel so much better. God seems to care how I feel even when it is full of things that are not true. In Acts 20 Paul preached a sermon that was so boring and long a boy named Eutychus fell asleep. He was sitting in a window and fell to the ground three floors down and died. Paul goes to him and says he is not dead and then goes back to preaching. 😂 Okay, I am quite certain that my experience will be nothing like that. Pressure off. LOL

July 16, 2021 Post #2

Also, I have been thinking about the opening for my sermon–the candle that broke. I knew it was science that caused it, but this was a moment that science and faith work together so well. I did not think about this for my recording, but I think I will say it on Sunday in person. We could look at the candle breaking and say it was heat and nothing out of the ordinary. We could ignore science and call it a mystical experience and take power away from the ordinary. Why can it not be both? Both explanations by themselves lack a deeper seeing/knowing. And honestly, kind of boring by themselves. One of my friend’s dad once said that God is science too. The timing of the breaking and how it broke was so illustrative of the story I was telling. First I was shocked, then felt like my fave candle was wasted, then I saw the wax pouring out all over the table and the ground and felt like I was in the story with the woman and Jesus at that moment. Why this is important. Last night watching “Raya and the Last Dragon” with Blake, Sisu who is a dragon became a human for a bit. She noticed it is really hard being a human. Raya said the world is broken and you can’t trust anybody. Sisu said: I think that is why it is so hard–b/c you don’t trust each other.

Blake: #blakeisdom That is deep

Me: Truly. This is what I am working on in my own life.

Science and religion have been at odds for far too long. I am glad to know in our Baptist history there have been professors saying that faith is experiential and it is not stuck in time. Our faith is better served when it is formed by the revelations of science. Science has not figured out everything there is to know. Faith is our trust in something more (I call it God). This makes me think about vaccines. How we are an under-vaccinated society with the means to get the vaccine (a whole other discussion on wealth and distribution) and too many said no. We do not trust the vaccine. This lack of trust has made the world harder. More people are going to die and new Covid cases are on the rise. Lack of trust has serious consequences. Your religious beliefs do not exempt you from what is actually happening on the ground on planet earth. Science and faith go hand in hand.

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