...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

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Moravian: Of Gifts and Grids

Watchword for this Week:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same
Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord.
1 Corinthians 12:4,5

When fitting into the grid becomes the goal, the grace of the Spirit's gifts challenge us. The gift that I have may not be the one that I wanted. Or, there may not be room for my gift to fully function. A combination of these concerns, complaints, and doubts could easily be underneath Paul's words here in Corinthians. As "basic" as we might think these words are, if we truly claimed and accepted our giftedness as from Holy Spirit, we would be different people.

Holy Spirit gives the vast array as the Lord, the Giver of Life, will. Instead of asking people to seek God in that giftedness, we often give them a form to fill out or a test to be scored. Pray about it maybe too. Thus, we classify people and call it equipping. We "plug people in," with all things neat & tidy.

In Quitting Church, Julia Duin suggests that many who feel they are spinning their wheels in our churches may be doing so because we have turned to inventories- and away from the Spirit- in discerning our true gifts. We then make "purpose driven" clergy and laity who fit the right containers. No wonder there's burn out! We spend our energy trying on the equipment of others and never bother to see which armor fits for ourselves. We then try to "purpose" or "re-purpose" others into roles that don't fit them either.

The God we worship doesn't live in schemes made by human hands. While some questionnaires may be more helpful than others, especially those that further more self awareness and acceptance than self -concern, all the surveys in the world do not replace the gift giving of the Holy Spirit received in prayer. The Lord is in the gift that the Spirit has willed for me and Christ's body, a gift that I first receive from God in prayer.

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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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