I usually have plenty to say. and I would probably broach this subject myself, but Sarah does so beautifully and honestly. it is an experience we’ve all had at one time or another. a heart hurt, making its way up the throat, over the vocal chords, and finding voice. the words seem received. compassion seems to be birthed. but the one we’ve trusted with this pain suddenly says, “I know exactly what you mean…” or in some similar way cuts across our pain and inserts their own.
our stories are so very different, but at the core, in the painful places, Sarah says it so much better…
oh, that we would give each other the grace and compassion to meet in the pain and walk it together, holding, instead of hurting one another with careless words, inserting ourselves into their pain, allowing it to remain theirs and become instead, partners on the journey…
there is a question that should be asked of everyone.
your answer to this one question, if honest, reveals more than almost any other.
I ask it frequently.
I wish someone had asked me more often.
how are you and Jesus?
I applied for a ministry position this week.
Aside from the usual resume and cover letter, there was also an application to fill out and return. Not a difficult application. But I stumbled through one question, thinking about it for days before putting pen to paper.
What is your chief weakness?
My immediate response startled me and I rebelled against it strongly. And rightly so. It is not a weakness and can actually be a strength for many. It is not a mistake to be corrected or something to apologize for.
I am an introvert.
I like alone. Quiet soothes me. Sometimes I need to talk to process, but mostly I write and think. Retreat is one of the most comfortable disciplines.
Being an introvert in ministry can be difficult. People are not like a business project. They cannot be checked off a to do list. Their lives cannot be contained in regular office hours. There are few neat little boxes to put ministry into and say the “job” is complete. Ministry is relationships, and that means people.Tasks are involved, to be sure. But the heart of ministry is people and their relationship with Christ.
Balance. I struggle to balance the needs of my family, ministry, and self.
Being an introvert is not my weakness. Balance is.
I have been in that place, that lonely place, where the body and heart and soul are worn to nothing. Burnout. It is not alone-ness. It is loneliness on many levels. We often liken burnout to frostbite when describing it. Once the damage has been done, that place is more sensitive. It needs more specialized care. Like a rubber band stretched to the almost-breaking point, there is a fear of being stretched that thin again.There is a remembrance of the pain. A fear of irreparable damage if it happens again.
It swings both ways. Run too hard for too long and risk burnout. Or become almost reclusive and miss the ministry, the rich relationships before me, the lessons God wants to teach me and using others to do it.
What helps you maintain balance?