Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A difficult commitment

I'm heading towards a slew of serious commitments-in April I will commit to a seminary, a three to four-year commitment not to be sneezed at. Shortly thereafter, I will be committing to a life of service in ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church (assuming that the United Methodist Church commits to me!). In May, I will be making the biggest commitment of my life, by marrying my fiance of four months. It's strange, then, that the hardest commitment to make this semester, is the commitment to a day off!

Like many who work in a service career, I find it very hard to make myself unavailable to those who ask for help. My personality is over-sensitive, over-empathetic, to the point that I find it very hard to take time to care for myself. Unfortunately, this means that my life has become overworked and over-stressed. Lately, I've been finding that I am less and less able to care for those around me.

As my colleague Kate Rogers mentioned in her post this week, we spent last Saturday watching an ethics training video geared towards spiritual leaders. This video series was filled with memorable stories and advice from a wide variety of leaders, but the quote that stuck with me the most was a statement made by a Methodist pastor in the section dealing with self-care. He countered the spiritual leader's tendency to want to be perfect in love, saying "we are not called to be perfect care-givers; we are called to be healthy human beings, helping other human beings to be healthy."

Still, it took a relaxing and stress-free visit from my mom, along with several mother-daughter heart-to-hearts, to prepare me emotionally to a commitment to one day a week in which I will not touch school work, chapel work, or wedding preparations, and will instead focus on nourishing my own mind, body and spirit.

So, Saturday is my new day off for the rest of the semester. I will turn off my phone; I will tune into the health of my body; I will reconnect with my spirit. I will rest.

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