I have periods in my life, stretches of time, where things feel more chaotic and disorganized than usual. Where I am right on the edge of “overwhelmed”. I think of a few specific times where it felt like I couldn’t keep up or pay enough attention to the different balls I was trying to keep in the air. After a recent stretch of that time, I finally pulled the trigger and went to a doctor to get some guidance. I had a suspicion but I wanted to leave it to the professionals.
“Anxiety issues, stemming from perfectionism”
It fit. It really did. I just didn’t buy it. I didn’t feel stressed out. I didn’t feel anxious. It simply felt like I wasn’t keeping up with stuff.
But the longer I wore it, the more I saw the truth of it.
Turns out the reason I couldn’t keep up or pay attention to everything in my life wasn’t because I had too little attention. It was because I have too many “voices” (self expectations, others’ expectations, ‘what ifs’, etc) telling me what to do. So now I’m on a journey to start “quieting” those voices. Continue reading
A few years ago, I was training to run a marathon when I came across an interesting technique for getting through the race. Most experienced coaches were advising that you have a “rest plan” or strategy for pacing and recovering during the race. Among planning on trying to drink water and gatorade early on and eat some fruit along the way, they advised that you plan on times where you intentionally back off your pace. It was a way of building rest into the race.
It’s tempting to live life like a sprint, where you dash as fast as you can from one task to the next, trying to get everything finished. And there are definitely times when you just have to push through and get stuff done. But it’s also been shown that having something to look forward too, a “rest day” of sorts, is also critical. It turns out that life is much more like a marathon than a sprint, and we may need to dangle some carrots along the way to help us get through.
So here are three ways to dangle a carrot (and hopefully get some rest along the way)
I enjoy being creative. Whether it’s wood working, writing stories, or some other outlet, I like to create stuff. It often times helps me process and express some of what is going on emotionally internally.
Today I wrote a story to help me process and talk about some of the difficulties that come with chaplaincy and pastoring. Namely those most intimate moments and conversations that I’ve been invited in to. Names and details have been changed to protect privacy. This isn’t an attempt to justify or judge anything that’s been expressed.
It’s a rough draft. The “world” is not fully built, and the narrative isn’t quite what I’d want it to be. Some of the imagery isn’t as subtle as I’d like, and I’m sure some of what I intended to express isn’t readily noticeable.
That said, I still want to share what I can. So here is my first pass…
A visit with Jim
In my last post, I compared becoming a church’s pastor to inheriting a workshop. You have a lot of tools and materials to help make disciples, you just may not understand the set up of the workshop yet. It will take you a little bit of time to learn the organization.
Today I wanted to talk about one of the things I wish I had done when I had arrived at both of my two churches – an ‘inventory’ of ministries. Going back to the workshop imagery, imagine that you have dozens of tools, an entire room full of lumber, and what seem like a countless supply of nails, screws, glue, and so on. At some point, you’re going to want to know what you’re working with. So here are a few thoughts and questions to ask as you inventory your church’s ministries:
Imagine that you receive a phone call or email one day, explaining that your uncle passed away and left you their workshop in the will. “That’s great”, you might think. You kind of always wanted your uncles shop.
That is, until you get there, and it looks like this:
Now sure, your uncle knew the system for the shop, but it just looks like chaotic clutter to you. You know that you have a lot of tools and materials in there that you could use. You just need to organize it all a little bit.
Getting appointed or assigned to a church can be a lot like inheriting a workshop. There are a lot of tools and materials for doing ministry. And some people know the system. But looking from the outside in, you can’t see it right away. So here are a few thoughts to help you out when you inherit a workshop. Continue reading