Taking so long

It was spring break this week. Since I was home most of the week, my parents checked in on me in my room every now and then. One of the things they’ve been telling me is to not spend so much time preparing for church. Let me explain. I told my dad a few weeks ago that the sermons were taking so long to prepare and that I had no time to do anything else on the weekends. He told me not to write too much and keep the message short, to 15, 20 minutes. But as I sat down to prepare for Acts 7 this week, I found the message again taking a long time to write. I wish it could finish itself faster, I really do.  I wish my school papers would finish themselves faster, too. But I’m not going to turn in crap to my professors. I’m going to spend the time it takes to produce something of quality. It’s easy to BS a paper when you know it’s the last thing you turn in for your class and your professor won’t talk to you about it in-person after he grades it, but when you’re standing in front of the congregation, delivering the Word of God, BSing is just not an option. I do have time to prepare something of value, but if I really devoted the time that I needed to make something I thought was “good,” I would spend all week doing research, looking up verses, coming up with an outline, coming up with examples and quotes, deciding what words to emphasize and what kind of tone to say them in. And even then I would probably think I would have to put more time into it. School is easy enough where I can do that if I wanted to. I really don’t mind the time I spend doing what I need to do, namely, take care of my responsibilities for church.

The problem is, I also need to study for the LSAT (which has its own problems at the moment…it would take too long to explain). I also need to look for a job. I also need to do my class work (because GPA matters a lot for law school). I also need to spend time with people and enjoy my last few months of college. When I realize I’ve spent probably close to 10 hours a week preparing for praise (I thank God that my brother and I can practice just 30 minutes and still be more or less prepared), preparing for Bible study (reading the chapter, taking notes, anticipating questions, writing down my answers to the discussion questions so I can keep things going if no one participates), and preparing for the message (listening to sermons, taking notes, reading and re-reading the passage, underlining key verses, coming up with an outline with key points and transitions and examples, writing out what I will say [because I will fail miserably with only a bare outline], and finding cross-references), I wonder how I can fit everything else in there.

I need to manage my time well. Only now, it’s not to get school work done. It’s to get life work done. In the past, getting school work done was a non-negotiable. If I had a paper to finish, I would stay up to do it (and I would hate it). Now, the non-negotiable is church work. If it’s midnight and I still need to work on my message, I will do it. Sometimes I will give in and leave the last minute on Sunday morning to force me to finish. But if it’s midnight and I didn’t write a cover letter or work on my personal statement, then I will go to sleep because I will listen to my body when it tells me I’m tired. Something needs to give. I really wish the sermon preparation wouldn’t take so long. Pray for me. I feel like such a sinner when I don’t get things done. You don’t need to tell me that it’s not a sin to let some things stay undone. I know when the Spirit is showing me my laziness. Just pray for me.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by sy on March 21, 2009 at 11:37 PM

    Sam! Your perseverance is such an encouragement to me. I feel you– trying to keep up in school, prepping for recomm, leader’s meetings, church, kcm WHILE trying to enjoy the last few semesters seem all so overwhelming.. And sometimes I feel like I can’t do it– and then I read this post and see that my schedule is completely weaksauce compared to yours.

    Keep on running, my brotha!! You can do it!

  2. Posted by sy on March 21, 2009 at 11:37 PM

    last few *months, hah. =)

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