Monday, 28 July 2014

Serving and receiving #church #pioneer #ministry #god

When I was trained in the art and theology and practice of being an LLM there was a lot of focus on the gift we would be giving to our churches and communities, we were being prepared to serve people in our ministries.

I was licensed three years ago and threw myself into my journey of ministry with the kids and families of my church and community.  I gave and gave and gave, I served and I enjoyed it, it was amazing.  And then I crashed!

I crashed big style with a really awful depressive episode which left me unable to do very much at all.  I was crippled with anxiety and self doubt and awful thoughts of failure and uselessness.  I was on my knees.

How did I respond?
I beat myself up and valued myself less in my ministry because I wasn't able to serve and give of myself as I thought I should.  So I kept on as much as I could and I desperately tried to earn my value as an LLM..

Did it help?
Yes and no.
Yes, because it kept me getting out of bed and it kept me moving forward.
No, because it allowed me to keep valuing myself by my actions and achievements rather than my being me as God called me to be.

A year went past and the depression lifted and I kept on keeping on, giving and serving and putting myself second or even third or fourth in the pecking order. I wasn't looking after myself.  And guess what; I crashed again.  Harder, faster and further than before I crashed.

How did I respond?
This time I had crashed through the floor and there was nothing I could do or give or serve with. This time I had to hold my hands up and hating myself every minute I had to give in.  So I did, I gave in, I finally listened to everyone around me and stopped giving and started receiving.

Did it help?
Yes and yes.
Boy did it help!
It was amazing and it's taught me so much.

I had to receive, from my vicar, from Mike, from my friends and astoundingly from the very people I had been serving.  These amazing families who I ministered to, off their own backs, got together and took over the events and services I had started for them.  They seized the reigns and they kept the horse and cart going in the right direction.  They insisted that I receive from them and they've made it so much more than I could ever have imagined and so much more than I ever could have done on my own.

I had to stop serving.
I had no choice.
And when I stopped I created space for those I was serving to serve others, they served me and they served others.
When I got out of the way, they were there, God was there.

Serving and receiving; there's a healthy mix which I hope I can learn to live and minister in.  A mix of serving and receiving, for me, for them, for those they will minister to and for God.

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