This coming week I’ve realised I’ve committed to do too many things. It all started on Thursday. I help out at our church youth club on a Thursday night and part of the night includes a talk on a story from the bible. I wanted to teach the topic of Peter denying Jesus. I love that story. I love that even Jesus’ closest disciple got it wrong. It makes me realise every single one of us is human and we make mistakes and Jesus loves us anyway. But the date for this talk, well, the weekend before I was off gallivanting in London at a country music festival. Not somewhere I could write and prepare a talk. But I figured, it was fine, if I prepared early enough I would be OK. But of course, things came up, and I wasn’t prepared before I got on the Megabus to London.
So this is the story of my re-telling of Peter denying Jesus…
I took everything I needed with me to London, except my Life Study Application Bible which is huge and would’ve broken my back. Turns out, I rely on that bible more than anything else.
I was trying to work out what clip I could use. So I was brainstorming with my dad and my sister what Disney film do the characters deny knowing someone. No one denies knowing Beast, nor does anyone deny knowing Robin Hood. Suddenly it hit me, Mike and Sully deny knowing Boo! And best of all, our holiday club last year was called ‘Monsters Stink!’ and we watched a bit of Monsters Inc everyday. Brilliant. So I’d use a clip from that.
I’d ask them why Mike and Sully were hiding the fact that they knew Boo. Hopefully the word ‘scared’ would come up. Then I’d tell them about Peter. Maybe get them to read the lines out, get someone to play Peter etc. Sorted. That was the bare bones done.
But I felt uneasy. I don’t like preparing something like this without having someone check it. And I realised I didn’t have a message. What was the point of me telling this story? So I emailed my youth leader when I got back on Monday. Our schedules meant we couldn’t meet up, but email works just as well, so i emailed him my bare bones structure and asked him to help me with the message.
He emailed me back and told me the bones looked good, and what he considered the message… which I didn’t understand. Maybe I’m a bit stupid (kind of a given), maybe I wasn’t reading it right, but his email just didn’t make any sense. So I asked him to clarify. He never responded.
I also discovered my Monsters Inc DVD case was empty. I never ever put empty DVD cases back on my shelf. I can’t even begin to work out where the disc was. But I figured it was fine, everyone has Monsters Inc, right? Ha, nope. I asked everyone I saw from the moment I realised it was missing, church and work alike. Only 2 people had it, and on Blu-ray which I can’t play at church. Disaster. I found a reasonable clip on YouTube, but it wasn’t really what I wanted.
We’re now on Tuesday. I had a bible study in the morning with another youth leader and youth worker and asked their opinion. Their message was different to the other youth leaders, I wasn’t too keen on it, but it was a message nonetheless. I then had work all day til late. No chance to put pen to paper.
I wake up on Weds, the day before the talk, with nothing. Nothing except the bones I’d worked out over the weekend. I think it’s fair to say I entered panic mode. Emailed the youth leader again. He explained his message again and it was clearer this time. But I couldn’t work out how to word it as me. Every time I put pen to paper, I sounded like I was accusing the kids of forgetting Jesus as soon as they walked out the doors on a Thursday night. I just couldn’t sound like me and effectively share this message. I wrote out the rest of the talk and emailed the youth leader again and asked him to help me write the ending before the kids turned up on the Thursday night.
That’s right, on Thursday, I turned up without having written the talk in its entirety, let alone run through it. All day Thursday I was surprisingly calm. But as soon as I got to the church, I started to worry. The youth leader helped me with the ending, but I still wasn’t sure. I still felt accusing when I opened my mouth. I wasn’t sure of what I had written.
I stayed in the hall instead of hanging out with the kids beforehand, I prayed, a lot. When I’m nervous, I sing. Subconsciously, I started singing one of the acts I’d seen on the weekend, The Band Perry… their big hit “If I Die Young” little did I know, I was going to have my confidence murdered in minutes. Then the youth leader came in before he bought the kids in, and he prayed for me. Turns out, all the prayer in the world wouldn’t have changed the course of actions. Ironically, just like Jesus praying to his father to remove the burden of death from him. This talk was going to be a disaster, and no amount of prayer was going to change that, because I deserved it.
So the kids came rushing in. And love them, one of them shouted “Let’s give Amy a round of applause before she starts!” Well, it only went downhill from there. I couldn’t read my own notes, I literally blanked out what I was doing at one point. Couldn’t remember what I’d just said, so got confused. I had like an outer body experience and could see myself not having a clue. And the kids saw it too. They talked non stop. They weren’t interested, and I don’t blame them. It was like watching a car crash in slow motion. You so badly want to do something to save it, but you just can’t. You have to watch it fall apart, you have to watch as your mistakes ruin everything.
Then came the message. It was garbled and awful, and I ended up making a “Dear God, HELP ME!” face at the youth leader who was sat in with me, and he took over.
It was the worst experience ever. My feeble attempt at preparation just totally fell apart, and it taught me a painful lesson that I need to put so much more time in. I’ve always been a “I’ll do it on the night” kind of a girl, but I put a lot of preparation into my Sunday school lessons, my bible studies and the last youth club talk. But this time, in the back of my head I was cocky enough to think I’d be fine. I think I convinced myself to make myself feel better that I hadn’t had time to prepare but it was all going to be fine. I’d epically conned myself. And God wasn’t about to let me get away with that with His word. I totally deserved what I got.
The thing is though, I did this all to myself. I picked this talk, even though I knew I wouldn’t have enough time… because I loved the message. Re-read the first paragraph. I had a message. In some sort of blind moment, I forgot why I wanted to do this and it unravelled from there. But it’s safe to say, I’ve learnt my lesson. I need time to write, no matter what.