Darlings, I found an old post that addresses one of the aspects of ministry I find particularly challenging in recent years, and especially since the Lord of Chaos took over the White House: http://www.peacebang.com/2007/09/24/transitions/
Let’s talk about this some more.
I know we have in the recent past but I know I can’t be the only one whose prayer life is steadily evolving from peaceful listening for God’s wisdom more to desperate petition to not spin out and lose my shit. My head burbles and bubbles with fear and worry and I don’t know if that is a function of having moved to an urban environment where I am not sheltered from the realities that were much more conceptual when I lived in the suburbs, or of age and diminishing mental and physical energy, or the rapid rise of fascism in America or WHAT.
Don’t try to answer that: I know it’s all of those things.
And I don’t feel totally desperate all the time, but I most certainly find that I cannot pivot swiftly between ministerial functions as I once did.
I cannot zip from a pastoral visit to administrative work. I work on worship (ALWAYS a joy, always a source of inspiration unless the Holy Spirit blows me off during sermon preparation) and then I just cannot shift gears to organize my board report. I get my thoughts together to meet with staff and then find myself mentally befuddled at the social justice organizing meeting an hour later.
The only thing I know to do about this is to get enough rest, have fair expectations of myself, carefully guard thinking and prayer time, and maybe eat more salmon? No, really, are there any brain foods or supplements that work for you? I used to hear a lot of good things about flax seed oil. I’m going to get some. I took it a long time ago and it certainly can’t hurt.
One thing that helps immensely is a good long walk in fresh air — two things I haven’t had much lately due to a bad season of health, a strained groin muscle (slipped on the ice), and Arctic temps.
Connecting with beloved and respected colleagues is hugely beneficial, too. And I’m talking about a select group of people whose judgment and wisdom and ministerial gifts I trust.
And — we don’t talk about this nearly often enough and it makes me crazy that we don’t — I am held steady by my lay leaders whose vision and courage and intelligence and humor help me to stay clear. We are doing a lot right now institutionally and they’re holding the road map firm and we’re all up front in the driver’s seat going, “Don’t miss that turn! Okay, let’s stop for snacks!”
I’d love to hear how you’re doing moving with grace (or not) between the many functions of the modern ministry. Got any hot tips?