Who would think it's easier to sing at church than to speak? Of course, by now I should realize that speaking publicly, at least for me, is not as easy at it looks when others do it.
On a recent church survey of areas where members would be interested in serving, I guess I indicated I'd be willing to serve as the lay liturgist on a Sunday morning. So, on Saturday night, I got my call. And guess what? I wanted to opt out. I let the pastor know my excuses: I've had sinus congestion, runny nose, watery eyes and sore or itchy throat all week; I didn't even know for sure whether I'd be able to talk in the morning. But I didn't hear him responding with understanding and sympathy. I guess I took that to mean he thought I could manage it. So, I said I would do it.
I know I tend to overthink things, but the tendency comes from vast experience. I can't count the times I've stood up to speak or lead -- to do something I've watched others do numerous times (and I thought I was paying attention and that it looked simple) -- but when it's my time to say the words, my mind goes blank. (This is funny to me: I originally, accidentally, typed "my mind goes bland." And I guess to me that would be about the worst thing. Who wants to be boring?) So I made sure I knew exactly what would be expected of me this time, and I wrote down notes for prompting. And, of course, I prayed to be of humble service to God. And it went fine. I didn't have a coughing or sneezing fit, nor did I have to blow my nose too loudly! I especially felt privileged to read the Gospel message, John 21:1-14. It was a good experience for me.
Between when the pastor called and when worship was over (followed by a brief coughing fit), I found myself thinking again about how I constantly second-guess and overthink my decisions. As I've written before, sometimes I'm not sure whether that is a blessing or a curse. But after worship today, I had a moment of clarity in which it seemed like a blessing. For now, I think there is purpose in my trying to consider all the angles before I proceed. The problem is when I let that keep me from taking action. As I get older, I know I won't always have a chance for a do-over if I let an opportunity slip by.
I guess maybe it's time to take a closer look at a growing list of things I've been thinking about and not acting on. If I can be a liturgist and sing in the choir when I didn't even know if I'd be able to talk, who knows what else might be possible? I guess I might as well try to find out.