Hopefully the first part of this story didn’t bore you to death.
If you’re still breathing and wondering what happened next, read on…
The final First Step session of the year came and went, and our team had a lunch meeting in late January. (Team = Greg, me, Shelly the Office Admin, and Jeff and Kathy who coordinate another aspect of this ministry.) During that meeting, Pastor Greg said he wanted to expand the First Step Experience teaching team and asked if any of us would like to teach portions of the class.
Call me crazy, but I piped up (which I think surprised everyone) saying that I would really love to since I wanted to start practicing what I was trying to learn in terms of speaking to groups. Real-life experience is pretty much the only way to improve on this, you know? After all was said and done, there were portions of each class set aside for other teachers, and I got to be one of them. 🙂
So far this year (2014),
we have completed one full round of First Step Experience and are approaching completion of a second later this month we have completed two full rounds of First Step Experience and are halfway through a third one. I am not on the teaching team again until the Fall session, but I was on it for both of the earlier sessions this year so I had lots of opportunities to get hands-on with this and I am thrilled at how much I’ve improved in it.
(Side note that was not [even possibly] included in the original writing of this story is that I ended up telling this tale [by reading and ad-libbing the formal paper] at our completion ceremony to a room full of people that I both did and did not know. It felt like a little testament to the success of the whole first half of this nonsense. Hooray for small wins!)
Anyway – the first few times I taught a portion of the class were scary. I definitely fumbled with my notes, stumbled over words, and forgot what to say during some of the presentation slides. BUT, I kept doing it. (And thankfully, the First Steppers are a really encouraging and sweet bunch of people, who didn’t seem to mind me being new to this.) After doing it a few times, I began to realize that I could actually accomplish this. I was getting a little better each time. I was able to slow down a bit, stop shuffling papers, and be confident in knowing what I needed to say. (As well I should, considering I’ve heard the material a couple dozen times at least.) I’m by no means ready to hop on a main stage or anything like that, but I can comfortably hold a mic and deliver a short message to 25-75 people, which is a giant step forward from where I was last year at this time.
Now meanwhile, over the months that all of this was taking place, I was getting kind of weary and tired. In hindsight, it isn’t at all surprising considering that I work full-time during the week, have two school-age children, was serving on both weekend days at church, had school on Tuesday nights, while hosting a small group on Wednesday nights, and doing a bowling league with my dad and husband on Thursday nights. With two rounds of First Step Experience running back-to-back, things had become very busy for me. TOO BUSY.
Don’t get me wrong though – I absolutely felt like my life was full of goodness and impact, and I personally felt needed and valued. So it seemed strange to me when I also started to feel bogged down and depleted. It didn’t make sense because I truly valued the things that were happening in my life (with the exception of bowling, but that’s neither here nor there) and I didn’t understand how things that I loved so much could possibly make me feel run-down. So I just kind of overlooked the issue, chalking it up to moments of weakness.
I didn’t realize what exactly was happening, but there was more than one occasion where I broke down crying to my husband about how badly I just wanted a vacation.
Even still, after those moments of panic had passed, I would brush it off like nothing happened and go about my business. This continued on for about three months, until it finally reached a tipping point on March 23rd – totally unexpectedly…
Stay tuned for Part 3!
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