So I go to an interview yesterday and my brain can’t connect with my mouth. Or vice versa.
What is it about three ordained ministers asking me simple questions that turns my brain to jelly and my tongue to mush? I could have answered more coherently with a shot of Novocain numbing my mouth, for all I remember answering is, “malsdjapoifskldfmaosidfkjskljfosijlkspfoiskdj“. What is this nervousness that encroaches in seemingly simple situations? It’s the brain taking a hike…
It was okay when they asked non imposing questions like “So how is Mike doing?”, “When are you scheduled to go back?” and “What is the meaning of life?” (maybe that last one wasn’t asked…). But when they said, “We have to ask you Theological questions now: What are the four cardinal doctrines?”, my mind began to whirl and spin like a dryer with nothing in it but hot air. Being nervous temporarily sucks out your brain cells. I’m convinced of that. I read that either in a copy of the Journal of American Medicine or The Enquirer or something like that. Either or, it’s when the brain takes a hike…
Now I know well the four cardinal doctrines, and the Scriptures to support that. I even know the sixteen fundamental truths that our fellowship stands on. I took a written test on all these and passed with a solid “A”.
Give me anything in ink on paper and I thrive: a book to read, a course to study, a test to take, or an essay to write. Or give me a real life situation with real hurting people, and I can apply those truths in simple conversation. Put me in front of living breathing humans with degrees behind their name who give me an unexpected oral test, and I’m a goner. My brain took a hike and I couldn’t do it.
After I left, I pondered the irony that:
- I’ve walked through a sprawling apple orchard and climbed through barbed wire (and got stuck!) to preach the Gospel….and I said to myself, “I can do this!“
- I’ve driven through the Chihuahua desert alone with my kids through a wicked sandstorm with tumbleweed smacking into our car…and I said to myself, “I can do this!“
- I’ve driven down a dry gully and had a bull charge my van while on my way to hold a women’s Bible study in a place that some would consider the end of the world…and I said to myself, “I can do this!“
- Home alone, I kept a Mexican beggar who had snuck into our house at bay until others came home…and I said to myself, scratch that; I said to God, “okay, you gotta help me” (but my brain cells stayed intact)
- I went in to the Mexican hospital to deliver my baby girl when suddenly they tell me, “We have to perform an emergency C-Section to save your baby” and with no one to call for urgent prayer and a hubby who drops at the site of blood….I said to myself, “I can do this!”
- I’ve been stranded in the middle of nowhere after my engine died trying to cross a stream, keeping an eye out for scorpions and rattlesnakes and without cell phone service – all on my way home from making two visits – one to a widow and another to an abandoned woman with kids – and I said “I can do this!“
So why is it that when I got into that room with those men and that question pulled out of a hat, I couldn’t do it?
My brain came back as soon as I left that room. Now I have to figure out how I’ll keep it in place for my next interview.