The thing that keeps sticking with me as I think about my work is the bizarre tension of my job around activity and reflection, motion and rest.
At one level, I’m a leader of an institution. The church is (both/and) an organization of its own / a collection of individuals that claim an identity partly around specific tasks, goals, actions. As a leader within the church… part of my job is to help try, do, accomplish various strategies and tasks of our life together. Doing isn’t bad, in and of itself.
At another level altogether, I am a leader called to invite individuals and groups into reflection, rest, and renewal. This seems like the harder part of the work now for most of the world and the church. We’re like all those other community organizations: strapped for cash, struggling to justify our existence to the largely apathetic culture around us. And so we do. Lots.
I find most people in my life, both church and not, ordained and not… are exhausted. I’m getting troubled by watching the vast majority of clergy model behavior for the people they work with that mirrors this. We look run ragged. We are (no joke) one of–if not the–sickest professions running. We connect our self-worth with the success of programs, we run insane schedules. We do, often frantically, while so often failing to be still… just as we throw up our hands at our people’s rejection yet again of our invitation to stillness, reflection, prayer, quietness of mind and spirit. We insist at constant growth and inspiration in our own programs, while wondering why our communities have become terrified of experimentation and failure. Are we really surprised?
I try a lot more these days to think about how I will model a life that invites people into more balance. Because we’re all tired. And I want to work for the one who promises to give us rest.
So, sometimes I might just talk about good things in life that help me do that. Sometimes I might talk about tech that helps me do that. Mainly, I’ll just take time and write some. Because I need some balance, too.