...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

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wake Me Up When December's Gone

I'm guessing that's the unspoken plea of thousands, maybe millions.

Most of us really hope that this Christmas will be different. That this year, we'll experience a deeper sense of ministry and love. I need the hope to become an intention, or else happenstance will determine the movements for me. And that just leaves me with the experience of having missed the chance to live more fully. Just to survive, we could surrender to the "this too shall pass" approach, but dangling by a thread is not conducive to any measure of abundant life.

The dance of ministry these some sixty days requires more than looking with resignation to the surrealistic schedule of events. The grueling demands of the season are framed as always, by the unplanned crisis that can turn life on a dime. So the case is stronger to make some choices, if I haven't already done so. What do I need to receive from the loving Holy Trinity? Is there one activity or practice that I can engage in a way that will equip me to receive this continuing gift?

The joy of a deepening spiritual life in community is what brought us here! Yet, when we open that door today, we might find a dark, cold, and damp room, very much like the night of Scrooge's own ghostly time travel. However we have gotten to this point of wake me up when it's 2012, whether it's the dirge-like refrain of more and more results of the Ecclesiastical Ebenezer-s, or our own turning away from the one, the only Lord and Giver of Life, the choice is ours to do something about it.

Choose a book you want to read to just enjoy this season. Journal your Advent-Epiphany days. Write down your intentions in the journal. Go out and hear some live music, Christmas concert, or see a performance. See some great art. Enjoy an evening with your family. Visit, reconnect with a home-bound person. Take time out with a friend. Look into finding a spiritual director, someone you can visit with confidentially about your spiritual life and ministry.

You cannot share what you do not receive, and everything we have we have first received. (I Corinthians 4:7) Receive the Lord, your King! The Lord bless your spirit.

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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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