My word for 2022 is release.
I have been in some form of ministry since I was 17 years old. So, for over half of my life, I’ve served the Church in various forms – music, missions, youth or children’s ministry, Christian education, outreach, event-planning, volunteer recruitment, etc. It is a holy privilege; something that I would never have chosen on my own, but am called to – note the present tense “am.” That said, it has been incredibly exhausting, especially the past few years.
Many of my colleagues have left professional ministry because of the demands of covid, which required us to reinvent how we do things and to not only figure out how to survive personally, but to hold space for others as they question and grieve what is going on in the world (both due to covid and political divisions, etc.).
Even before covid, I took on way more responsibility and stress than a “normal” person would. Due to covid, I, along with many ministry professionals, took on even more. Ministry tasks that would have normally been done by people in the congregation were left undone or relegated to church staff/clergy. Job responsibilities shifted even among staff, to where we were doing over twice the load as normal. All while trying to figure out how to keep people engaged virtually or in other ways.
Exhaustion, mental illness, and disillusionment, and a realignment of priorities led many clergy out of ministry; many lay ministers out of the church; and many congregants to stay home. Articles from various sources say they won’t come back…which leads to even more stress and insecurity-based-overproduction in hopes that the next best idea will draw people back in. The struggle continues….
As an Enneagram One I feel like it’s my responsibility to fix the world; to perfect imperfections; to name things that aren’t right and (usually) to do something about it. For way too long I’ve neglected my physical health and resorted to unhealthy habits of dealing with the stress of taking on too much.
So – for 2022 – my word is release. I release my need to be in control. I release my need to fix everything that isn’t how I think it should be. I release my need to untie the hairballs that the institution of the church has become. I release my unhealthy habits of dealing with stress. I release it all to God as a prayer, believing that God can transform anything into good, even me.
What this has looked like for the first week of 2022:
-exercising at least thirty minutes every day (a mixture of bike, pilates, yoga, walking, exercise videos, etc.)
-setting boundaries with people I love
-forming new habits such as deep breathing when I feel myself holding on to stress instead of letting it go
-staying hydrated & paying attention to what my body needs (i.e. not eating when I’m not hungry; not overindulging, drinking green tea, taking vitamins, getting outside more often)
What do you need to release?
What is your word for 2022?
How do you see God transforming things into good?