Sunday School

cognitive overload;, organization, resting brain, stress

I attend a Sunday School class at Grace Covenant Presbyterian called Knowing and Applying the Bible Every Day. We are studying a book on Matthew by Alyce M. McKenzie and different members of the class take two weeks to lead each chapter. I enjoy discussing the Scripture passage and we have some wonderful thinkers and teachers in the class. As a result, sometimes we spend the whole hour “knowing” and not much time “applying.” For this reason, the facilitator suggested we watch the clock and at 10:15 if we haven’t spent time “applying” we need to shift to this.

Since I’ve been pretty vocal about my concerns I thought I’d lead the class myself in order to model my vision. This sounds good , doesn’t it? The problem is, it is difficult for me to lead a class. Since I have trouble thinking on my feet, facilitating is pretty impossible. Before my brain injury, I used to be a good facilitator but this is another loss I must learn to accept. As a result, I spent quite a bit of time planning and worrying!

The passage I have is a long one – Matthew 26:47-56 which leads up to the crucifixion. I used to love spending hours studying the fine points of scripture. I can no longer do this without experiencing “cognitive overload.” When this happens I can’t think of anything at all.

Since I now have difficulty with organizing my thoughts, trying to organize a study session is a bit of a challenge. I started a few weeks ago. I used to do things for long periods of time until it was finished. I can’t do this now so instead, I began working on it a few weeks ago and worked on it in short spurts. I planned when I would work on it so I wouldn’t worry needlessly.

Then I typed out an outline so I would have something to use. Of course this took time since it is difficult for me to organize anything. After a few rough drafts of my outline I settled on something I thought I could use. I knew I would be nervous since doing any sort of leading, speaking or preaching makes me nervous. I decided to see if I could handle this nervousness without losing any sleep. I prayed and even asked a few folks to pray for me.

Yes, I was stressed a bit. Yes, I lost my place a couple of times. But I learned that God can use me even if I’m not perfect. We didn’t spend too much time “knowing” but spent time “applying” and this was my hope. God was there and did use me to allow God to speak to us. For this I am grateful.

So what did I learn? I need to trust God and stop worrying. I have to do much preparation to do anything but sometimes it is worth it. I knew this would stress me out but it was a choice I made because I thought it was important.

If you have a TBI do you have difficulty organizing your thoughts? Do you stress out more now than before? How do you choose what is important for you to do and what you must give up?

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