A Simple Look at a Not-So-Simple Life

Anxiety Dream

I am a dreamer. A vivid dreamer. A dreamer that frequently remembers even the most minute details of the most outrageous dreams. Sometimes I think it is a gift. Other times I think it is a curse.

I dreamed last night that I was preaching in a new church. It was supposed to be the church where my friend is serving as interim. In my dream, the church was huge – in facilities, in number, in intimidation factors. I arrived at the church to find a very full parking lot. I hiked in from the far reaches of the lot carrying a load of stuff, a change of clothes, my sermon, Bible, pocketbook, etc. No one was there to greet me, so I found an empty room, put my stuff down, and wound my way through the maze of halls to find the sanctuary.

I like to make sure that everything in the pulpit is in order before worship – text marked in the pulpit Bible, manuscript in place, hymns marked, etc. That is what I was planning to do. But when I opened the sanctuary door, I heard music, saw full pews, and realized that the service was about to start. And there I stood in front of everyone wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

I turned and ran to the room where I left my stuff. I remember being scolded by a man in the hallway, “No running in the church!” I ran anyway and quickly changed into dress clothes. It was then that I realized I had left my robe in the car. It was too late to get it since I was parked so far away. Oh well.

I returned to the sanctuary and walked in carrying my Bible and sermon manuscript. At first there was a gasp, which I assumed was because I did not wear a robe. Then everything became silent and all eyes were on me. I had no bulletin, no prior instruction of the particulars of their worship. Nothing.

The pulpit was huge and fancy. You had to climb a long spiral staircase to get to it. As soon as I stepped on the staircase, everyone stood – much like a court stands when the judge enters.

When I reached the top, I saw that the pulpit had obviously been built for a very tall man. Someone had stacked some decorative boxes of various shapes to serve as my stepping stool. The large ones were on the bottom and they got smaller and smaller. The one on top – the one I had to balance on – was star-shaped. (Not a good shape to offer a foundation for heels!) I had to lean on the pulpit and hold on tightly just to keep from toppling over. There was no pulpit Bible, so I flipped (and flipped, and flipped) in my own Bible until I found my text. I read it aloud as boldly as I could, but to me I sounded like a scared little girl.

I got ready to launch into my sermon when music started playing. I looked over and saw that the organist was my childhood piano teacher. (A wonderful woman, talented beyond belief on all keyboards, but intimidating to me.) Apparently there was a liturgical dance that was to take place before I preached. A chubby teenage girl came out in a skimpy leotard to dance to music I had never heard – and must say didn’t sound like it belonged in church. Once part of her dance involved lying on the floor and putting both feet behind her head.

Finally the dance was over. I began preaching my sermon, which happened to be the same one I preached at my own church last Sunday. As I got into it, I realized that some parts of the sermon had to be revised in order to mean anything to a different congregation. I tried to muddle my way through the changes as I went along. Because I had to hold onto the pulpit so tightly to keep my balance, there was no way to gracefully move the pages of my manuscript. A few of the pages floated down the long drop to the floor.

As soon as I started preaching, people started talking. And moving around. And walking out the door to see where the firetruck that was passing by was headed. It was chaos!

It was at this point of the dream that I began to wake up, so further details are fuzzy. It seems like at one point I abandoned my manuscript and the gigantic pulpit and walked down to floor level to preach to those who were still there.

I had the privilege of waking slowly this morning since the little ones spent the night with grandparents. I kept trying to re-enter my dream to make it work out a little better, but to no avail.

Gee, think I have a few insecurities that reared their ugly heads last night??!!


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6 thoughts on “Anxiety Dream

  1. (hug)I relate. I actually DO stand on boxes sometimes to see over the pulpit.Breathe in breathe out and remember that All Will Be Well. Really.

  2. wow. you do hang on to details-impressive. are you feeling intimidated by the act of leading worship these days? not a profound analysis, but… so many intimidation factors in that dream…

  3. Or intimidated by the thought of doing it in a new place? That pulpit is certainly an authoritative image. Feeling too small for it and having to balance to be in it would seem to be a very important aspect of the imagery, or so I would think if it were my dream.

  4. I think that the truth concerning my doubts about being qualified for a new/larger church are coming to the surface. And I haven’t even finished my PIF! Wonder what I can expect when I really do begin conversations one day with another church!

  5. Oh horrible, horrible! In my version, I’m wearing my son’s pyjamas, but apart from that can identify with virtually every element of this….The next stage involves my former vicar, the first woman minister I had encountered, telling me that anyone as unprepared as I should never think of entering ministry…Hyperventilating in sympathy!

  6. Anonymous on said:

    I guess you and I are on the same stressy wavelength these days… if you want someone to read your PIF, please let me know. Maybe you and I should take a co-pastorate somewhere???? 🙂

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