...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Be Where You're Not Needed

"The God who made the world and everything in it, he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things." Acts 17: 24-25, NRSV

If we are in a profession that makes a business out of helping people, and clergy are prime suspects, then the reason our health and wholeness are at risk on a massive scale is because we have learned how to keep everything looking good even though we ourselves are EMPTY. Compassion fatigue? Not me! Go, go power ranger!

Appearances are valued in this culture of ours and churches only magnify the importance of looking good. You could call it an addiction -- driven to be needed and liked and wanted. It doesn't take long for us to develop a God complex, functioning as though our supply is unlimited, ignoring or denying our real needs for rest, renewal, and sanity. All the while telling others to rely on God's resources. Really!

But the rush of being needed and liked usually runs counter to being with God. It's just that God is the One who doesn't NEED anything. God will always be completely happy being God! Could that be the reason why we find it so hard listening to and breathing in the Holy Spirit? Because we are so filled with the toxin of being needed?

Awareness of our real need is the healthier posture from which to offer whatever we have to give. How freeing- and absolutely liberating- it is to be in this Presence that doesn't sap us, but offers life and love in fullness.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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