preaching, stress

I’m going to preach at Circle of Mercy congregation on May 1. As I wrote earlier, I like to preach but I never was able to get into a groove so writing a sermon is always difficult for me. A neuropsycologist once told me that I’d never be able to write them because of all my challenges but I’ve written and preached several since my accident.

I’ve learned that is easier to write one when I have an idea already. Preaching from the lectionary is tough since I have difficulty putting structure on something which is one of my TBI challenges. I do better if I already have thoughts about a particular passage. Sermons are difficult for me to write and and I get stressed out over them but I think I have some skill in preaching. I’ve decided with enough lead time, I’m able to preach one.

Last year, we studied Encounters with Jesus: Studies in the Gospel of John by Frances Taylor Gench in a Sunday School class at Grace Covenant. I got excited about her interpretation of John 4:1-41, the woman at the well, and thought it would be a great passage to use for a first person sermon. I did some research on Samaria but I never wrote the sermon and I can’t remember where I put those notes! Ah well. I’ll be okay without them.

I’ve learned to set aside specific time to work on a project and then put it in a folder to contain it. I used to spend hours and hours right before I had to preach but I can’t do this now. So this morning I spent an hour reading the chapter in the book and coming up with some ideas. On Wednesday, I’m going to begin writing it and then I’ll put it away for a few days. This should help me not worry about it so much.

It will probably take me several short spurts of time to write it but my goal is to have something written in two weeks. It’s too stressful for me to write a sermon right before I must preach it so once it is written, I’ll practice it a few times and then put it away.

I’m using everything I know about my stress to manage it. I’ll probably write this several times in this blog but it is an important concept for me to remember. “When you feel anxious, the brain releases chemicals that cause you to have difficulty thinking as clearly. This can make things especially difficult for someone with a brain injury.”

However, I do have a plan. I already have a first person sermon on Hagar that I can preach if this one doesn’t work out. This takes some of the pressure off me.

Do you have difficulty with stress or containing your thoughts as I do? It helps me to write them down and then put them away. I also plan to swim some laps this afternoon which will take my mind off my thoughts and it will help relieve stress. See above right for commenting instructions or contact me directly at

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