Remembering “When my brain took a hike…”

It was when my friend sent a prayer request for her daughter, who interviewed today for her ministerial credentials, that BAM! it hit me: the memory of me doing the same thing.

Except I was a complete ninny.

I did pray for my friend’s daughter today, and have every confidence she did well. Unlike yours truly. Here’s what I wrote four years ago, after my self-effacing encounter:

“When My Brain Took a Hike…”

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 Novocaine 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 on my way to hold a women’s Bible study in a place that some would consider the end of the world when a bull charged my van…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 a visit to a widow and 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.

6 thoughts on “Remembering “When my brain took a hike…”

    1. Glad you’re intrigued. I always welcome thoughts and comments. It helps me learn and grow.

      BTW, you may not remember me (us) but we’ve known the Cillo family for a long time. We were youth pastors at Immanuel in the Cleveland area, and once on a trip to Southeastern we met you when you and Vanderly were still dating.

      Praying for you as you also walk the global missions path.

  1. Please tell me WHY on earth I read this as i just completed my life experience paper to start my ordination process?????? I am SERIOUS!!! I printed my paper. Sat down, and pulled up your post. I saw it earlier this afternoon and would not let myself read it until I finished my paper. I said, “Self, this will be your reward for finishing! You canNOT read Ilona’s post until AFTER you finish your paper!”

    Now, I’m scared SPITLESS!!!! ha! I will let you know what stupid thing I do when I go in for my interview!!!! I usually fall down stairs on top of people, spit on myself, or others- you know those really really embarrasing things that my whole family likes to bring up at the dinner table and laugh at OVER AND OVER AND oOOOOVER again.

    But… I WILL have the four Cardinal doctrines listed on my hand during the interview just in case!

    I LOVE your blog!

    1. Dorinda – you are hilarious! Thanks for the laugh. And your four cardinal doctrine cheat sheet is a secret between us. BTW, when is your interview?

  2. I feel that way quite frequently when trying to communicate in Spanish. If I leave the situation, I can put together what I wanted to say. If I’m writing, I’m fine. But, put me in the conversation, in the moment and my brain goes _____________________!

    1. Yeah, but this was in English! Can it get any worse? Well, it’s good to remember and laugh at ourselves, regardless of what language we flounder in! And btw, your Spanish has improved remarkably. Kudos!


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