Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent Retreat Today

The RevGals blogring is sponsoring an advent retreat today.

I'll be posting over there later in the day, but in the meantime I'm thinking about Kathryn's post from England. "God is speaking," she says, "in the situation of your greatest anxiety." For goodness sake. Talk about the mountains being knocked down...

What IS my greatest anxiety, anyway? My pat answer for many years has been "that someone wont like me." I dont know whether it's approaching 40 (I mean REALLY approaching - in less than 2 weeks now!) or whether it's working full time in ministry, but I seem to have given that one up. I mean, it's pretty clear most days that there are at least a few people who dont like me, and I cant really do anything about that.

Anyway, I still dont know what my greatest anxiety is now. I think it has something to do with competence, with making sure that I can get done everything that needs doing. The reason it's an anxiety, of course, is -like the being likeable thing - that it's totally impossible. There's never any way to get everything done that needs doing, and I just have to get to a place of being ok with that.

That said, on this long-scheduled advent retreat day, I also have dentist appointments for me and E, and will be leading a morning Bible study that I havent EXACTLY prepared for. Someone has to do a load of laundry or two, and there are still dirty dishes in the sink from yesterday and I should walk the dog, read this book on leadership someone recommended, give some more careful thought to the worship services that are upcoming, and make some soup with the ham I got this weekend, and call the VA about a guy, and make time to pray and.....

...And I really cant do everything that needs to do. In some ways, this is still an astonishing revelation. But I can do some practices to makes the knowledge of this easier. One time, Sue over at Inner Dorothy talked about beginning each work day by sitting at her desk, saying a prayer and then making a list for the day. I try to do that, and then I try to let that list go when it becomes clear that the day is headed in a different direction.

What's happening with you today?


Purple said...

Very true Juniper, very true. My internship pastor said this to me, "every day I wake up and have to decide what I must say no to in the life/ministry of the church". I remember does not mean all the "things" are unimportant...just that I cannot do them all.

Blessings on you day as you travel about.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

it is tempting to want everyone to like us... so tempting and so impossible. sometimes i just have to remind myself that i like me (mostly) and God likes me... augh...

may your day not be too crazy for you and may the trip to the dentist not be painful!

Kathryn said...

Oh, thou and I both dear Juniper. In the need to be liked and in the efforts to do it all and then some.
I'm going to try and adopt the practice that you and Sue suggest. Maybe my day will feel less out of control if I begin it thus.
Thank you.

She Rev said...

Duh! My to do list can be part of my spiritual life and ministry. Maybe that will help me actually make it more regularly, and, thus, not forget the important things that should be on it when I get caught up in the less important things that don't need to be.

My greatest anxiety comes when I let my doubts get the best of me. What if this is all for nothing? What if I have misheard God's call and I'm really leading people down the wrong path when someone could be leading them the right way? What if I'm not as cut out for this as I should be? What if (in all honesty) none of it is true? Have I wasted a lifetime?

When those questions are allowed to set in, that's when I feel the greatest anxiety.

Reverend Irreverent said...

Hi Juniper,
It is good to get some cross-pollination going between our blogs. I so appreciate the wisdom of your reflections.
As I was doing my necessary two loads of laundry today, I was just musing on Our God, the Great Practical Joker, who calls people with perfectionistic and people-pleasing personalities into ministry where, as you rightly note, we will never quite match up.
Haha. Very funny, God.

Juniper said...

purple - I help my people practice saying NO, but then it's so hard to do it myself. I've been beset by health problems lately, and I think it might be my body's way of saying "no" for I'm trying to stop before I make myself sick. Harder than it seems.

HCL - evidentally I have three cavities. Three! So I'm going to get those filled next week. So not painful today, except for the knowledge of all that dental work upcoming.

Kathryn - the days I can do the list thing do go much better. I often think of Sue and thank her in my prayer when I do that.

SheRev - Oh man, do I hear you about the doubts - that is just how Satan works in my life (even tho I come from a very nice mainline denomination taht doesnt really talk about Satan, I have no other explanation for those cosmic doubt onsets...)

RI - Good to get to your place too. Thanks for stopping by!

Songbird said...

My resistance to lists is all tied up in my mother issues...and guess who makes lists now? My daughter. Sigh.

Juniper said...

Songbird - maybe list making skips a generation, like blue eyes or something ::would like to put a little winking emoticon here but suddenly cant remember how. unfortunately, ditziness also skips a generation....::