The end of one year and the transition into the next offers time for reflection as well as hope for what the future holds. However, the holiday season, traveling, projects, and other demands for your time may seem overwhelming. The good news is that something as easy as being mindful can help you trudge your way through.
Do you ever feel like you need a break? How would you like to take two or three days just to relax, refresh or do what you really want to do? You can. We had a chance to do just that recently, thanks to a new ministry available to all of our IGRC clergy and spouses.
Pastoral Care and Counseling would like to initiate a conversation about how can we can best support ministry spouses and how clergy and their spouses can best help each other. Research reliably demonstrates that talking with others who face similar challenges can make us feel less alone, more supported, and understood without judgment. Only when we feel “safe” will we share our deepest hurts and scariest challenge.
Christian Yoga class at Wesley UMC provides a safe atmosphere to do yoga in Christian faith. This class is intended to help people practice yoga that is centered onto Christ. It encourages people to be calm, focused, and renewed in the presence of God. Through conscious breathing, movement, and meditation, people can appreciate that their body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. This ministry may reach more people and diverse people that we could not reach without it. I pray this ministry may help people to set aside the time for self-care, to be away from daily busyness, to be calm, to be relaxed, and to feel God’s presence and His Spirit.
Setting mini-goals is the best way to achieve your goals. Achievable goals also provide positive feedback, increase your self-confidence, and help you attain your final goal. If you do fall short, accept that you are human and try again tomorrow. Every day is an opportunity for a new start.
Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference (IGRC) or its predecessor bodies, the former Central Illinois and Southern Illinois conferences and their lay, clergy and episcopal leaders have earned a good name around Africa University. With God’s help and yours, we will finish this campaign on time.
From the kindergarten through the eighth grade, I attended a Catholic school run by Benedictine nuns. We learned a lot. For example, along with Catholic kids, Protestant children learned catechism. Catechism was religious instruction about the Catholic faith in a question and answer format. Of the prayers they made us pray, the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary were repeated constantly. I left St. John’s over 60 years ago. But I haven’t forgotten Hail Mary.
As pastors, leading a congregation who willingly serves, loves Jesus, and gives of themselves generously is the goal. Sometimes, when any of us want something (that isn’t happening the way we would like it to) so badly, we rationalize and mislead ourselves into a “people pleasing” thought process that tells us that if we work hard enough to please the misguided sheep, they will see the light. But, that doesn’t necessarily happen. When we move from healthy ‘people pleasing’ to unhealthy ‘people pleasing’ it tends to be because our motivation for saying ‘yes’ has changed.
Stress, and the way we perceive stress, are the primary reasons we aren’t all 100% healthy. Stress can build us up such as with a new baby or a marriage, or stress can be perceived as negative or harmful to us. Harmful stress slowly breaks us down like boulders being broken down into sand whereas positive stress strengthens our foundation and builds us up. When stress breaks us down faster than life can build us back up, we lose function and therefore we lose health. It may not feel like we have a choice in how stress affects us, when in reality, we have quite a bit of control.
Our behavior is driven by our belief system. If we believe we MUST be loved and accepted by others and it is unacceptable to NOT be loved and accepted our beliefs will motivate us to bend over backwards in order to avoid rejection. To change our behavior we must change our negative pattern of thinking.