Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ministry Check-up

I have been lamenting my recent silence in the blog-o-sphere, but being out of town at least every other week for the past month and a half has been less than condusive to regular blogging, not to mention the fact that I am exhausted, which generally puts me into survival mode--also not condusive to blogging. Anyway, today as I read my brother's blog and those he mentioned, I came across these check-up questions and figured they were worth the time and energy to answer....

In one article, Nancy Beach asks the following "Ministry Check-Up Questions":

1. How are you emotionally?
My first reaction is to say emotionally I am good. Relatively, I am doing well. No major downs and lots of things that are going well (successful cancer removal for my grandma, awesome week at summer camp, plans and vision for the future, vacation on the horizon!) But if I am really honest here, I am spent. I feel guilty for being away so much this summer, even though I have been away at conference/district things--annual conference, a two week course for hispanic ministries, a week of summer camp, youth camping trip this week...., I don't feel like "my people" see me as working when I am away, they just see me as absent. And now, at the end of the month, in just one more week, I am taking 9 days of vacation. Granted, I NEED the vacation and I am dying to see my goddaughter and her parents for her baptism and then my sister and her family--I want to go on vacation, but I don't want to leave again, not so soon. AND, if I am honest beyond that, it has been a really emotional month--lots of hospital visits, CPS/DFACS reports, abuse situations, Domestic Violence situations, death of church members, and loved ones with cancer. And I haven't had the chance to process all of those emotions, so I know that deep down somewhere all of that is going to bubble up--probably when I least expect and DO NOT need it to rear its ugly face! Can anyone say self care?

2. How are your key relationships?
Good. Check. This one I feel I can answer honestly as going well. I feel solid with those who are my core support system. But where I will admit I am not as strong as I would like is in making friends here in the desert. I talked with M from Atlanta today and she asked if I was making new, not so much. I have a clergy couple I do dinner and lectionary study with, a pastor I walk with, my neighbors from Bombay who are like a surrogate family, and one young adult couple I have dinner and play games with on occasion, but that's about it, and for me, that's not a whole lot of folks. And I definitely don't have ANY local, regular, everyday call-'em-up, 'let's-hang-out' friends...

3. Are you having fun?
Yeah....let's just say I'm at the same spot as I was the last time I wrote about this particular subject...

4. What's your attitude towards people?
I like people. I generally think the best of them. I expect good things from them. I like spending time with people. Recognizing we are all fallible/fallen/sinful/a work-in-progress, I am hopeful for the ways people can be transformed, can change, can progress. Yep. I like people, like working with them, like helping them, like challenging them.

5. Are you hearing God?
God's presence and actions have been very obvious to me over the last 3-4 months. I have been seeing the fruits of God's labor in clear and evident ways all around me--from miraculous healings, to changed hearts, to church growth, to an amazing church camp--God's presence has been more than apparent. I have been seeing God in clear ways. And, over the past few months, since mid-April really, I have had to use the process of discernment for a variety of decisions and for those, I have been hearing God. I hear God guiding me, directing me, urging me, warning me, I have heard God. Now, as a goal/hope, I wish to hear God in more creative ways--for preaching, praying, creating works of arts; and I know for that I need to offer more space in which God can speak and I am receptive/listening.

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