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Choosing a Direction

Our WebDiva dared me to consider writing a blog based on a photo she would send. I agreed, looking forward to stretching my meditative pondering and perhaps even strengthening my writing applicability. What follows is Dare #1.

Pulled in Many Different Directions

I could hardly believe what I was hearing; in a meeting with our Finance Chairperson, I said, “I’m realizing I just can’t do everything!”
I laughed aloud, shook my head, and recognized that I was being pulled in many different directions. In addition to the regular ministry tasks, I was exhausted by the stress of extra meetings and report deadlines, serious pastoral care needs, dramatic personality conflicts between a couple of church leaders, and my family’s extra-full schedule and their personal needs, all the while trying to regain strength and stamina following a rough bout with Covid.

Being sick right after Christmas forced me to reflect on my life–my schedule, priorities, choices, and especially my tendency to “push through” as I was being pulled in many different directions.

I know that many of you–no matter your age or season in life–also experience this pull, often from your own “shoulds, ought tos and have tos,” as well as the needs of friends, family members, and colleagues, or by society’s expectation of efficiency, progress, and contribution to our community, or a personal desire to be more loving, kind, and courteous, and to make a difference. We can easily find ourselves pulled in many directions, stretched thin, worn out, exhausted … DONE–and that is NOT the abundant life that Jesus wants for us!

So, what can we do? Theologian and author Nadia Bolz-Weber shared excellent advice last summer:
Every day of my life I ask myself three discernment questions I learned from one of my teachers, Suzanne Stabile;
What’s MINE to do, and what’s NOT mine to do?
What’s MINE to say and what’s NOT mine to say?
And the third one is harder: What’s MINE to care about and what’s NOT mine to care about?

To be clear–that is not to say that it is not worthy to be cared about by SOMEONE, only that my effectiveness in the world cannot extend to every worthy to be cared about event and situation.  It’s ok to do what is YOURS to do. Say what’s yours to say. Care about what’s yours to care about. That’s enough.
You can read the full piece here

Looking at the photo again, the pole that holds everything together reminds me to stay rooted, established in the faith, and built up in Christ Jesus our Lord, for it is in Him that I live, move, and have our very being.
(Colossians 2:7 and Acts 17:28)

And what is working for me these days?

  • Embracing silence and solitude; prioritizing my own “non-negotiable” daily spiritual practices.
  • Allowing flexibility by recognizing and choosing what my body, soul, and spirit needs and wants on any given day (Centering Prayer, mindfulness, yoga, journaling, an exercise walk, a nap, a conversation with my best friend, a special meal, a glass of wine on the porch, watching the birds, listening to the wind chimes, playing with my granddaughter, reading a novel, etc).
  • Granting myself more space and recovery time between appointments and meetings (I am an Empath and an Introvert; need I say more)?
  • Identifying daily and weekly tasks and giving myself grace to leave things undone.
  • Setting boundaries and honoring Self (the oxygen mask mindset–putting the mask on myself first, before taking care of others)
  • Asking “What would bring me joy?” and then doing it!