...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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

To Entangle, Enable or Empower

Why does it matter? Enabling keeps us in ruts, wastes time, drains energy and, ultimately robs life of our direction.

If you answer yes to most of these you may be more of an enabler:
  1. Do I do for others what they can and should do for themselves?
  2. Have I reminded them to do what was their responsibility?
  3. Have I commented even to myself on how another has fulfilled a task?
  4. Have I tried to change someone's feelings?
  5. Do I often find it easier to just say yes when I really need to say no?

Enabling others prevents people from knowing God's will and using their spiritual gifts. Being "entangled" with others does sap your energy, verve, and purpose. If you are functioning too much as an enabler, it may be a struggle being your own person, to stand on your own two feet. You may even "love too much" or try to get from others what you really need to give to yourself: respect, patience, and self-acceptance. Clergy are especially susceptible to wanting everyone to like them.

Equipping and empowering others is different than enabling. Empowering others frees and supports others to do what God is calling them to do and be. It encourages us to use our gifts rather than to deny them. We aspire to fulfill the highest vision, not just to please others. The courage to be your own best self is connected, on the deepest level, to be a faithful steward of what God has given you, in love, to be and do. That in itself requires strength, clear thinking, and attention.

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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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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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