Anxiety 1000 : Me 1

Last Sunday I took a leap out of my comfort zone and did something out of the ordinary for myself. I’m on the board of the church we attend as a family and the pastor was going to be away for 2 weeks holiday. In November we discussed who might do a sermon on the days he was away and in a spur of the moment spark of insanity I said I’d do one of the days.

Yeah I know I must be crazy, after all someone with anxiety doing public speaking is probably not the wisest of ideas. However the die was cast and I had to roll with it. I felt the topic I had chosen would be meaningful to everyone and I was trying to put my thoughts into words when things started to get a bit shakey. 

First there came the over analysing. Did I have enough content? What if I put this here and then that there but wait it could go this way… What images can I use? Do these bible verses match what I’m talking about?  While all of this was going on, up crept the doubt cat and pounced on all my thoughts. It’s not good enough. Totally disjointed and will make no sense unless people can see inside my head.  I’m going to stutter and stammer through this aren’t I?

While the mental war in my head raged on I did spend the 5 days before the Sunday moving house with the family. Note to self – plan better packing and moving routine next time. So combine exhaustion, both physical and mental, with all the joys anxiety and depression like to bring to a party and I should have been a bit of a mess. So one quick finish off of my slides for the display and scribbling of notes the evening before and I was all ready…I hoped.

Reasonable length sermon short, the feed back I got from my talk was positive. People appreciated my views and perspective, which also sparked some conversations of positive debate amongst some of the other parishioners. I had kept to the point, some of my jokes were a little out of the ordinary due to generational knowledge, I spoke with confidence and knowledge. I was a little stunned by this but perhaps the biggest bit of feedback was the most noticeable and obvious as I recognised it while I was speaking.

“Never apologise or bring attention to any mistakes you make during a speech” During my sermon I apologised several times for my disjointed and perhaps convoluted way of explaining things. My mind has a habit of getting side tracked as it latches onto new thoughts that shoot through the memory exchange of thoughts. By bringing attention to these inconsequential things, I shifted the focus away from what I was talking about for no reason. It’s like telling people about a stain on your shirt that they never noticed because it wasn’t obvious, it soon becomes all they can focus on. 

I’ve been considering putting it into a more coherent form to post on here but at the moment it’s on the back burner while I focus on getting life at our new home tidy. However I have learned a new skill and realise that I can tame the anxiety beast more than I figured I could. So at the moment we have a win in the positive column against anxiety which is by far the best outcome I could have hoped for.


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