Taking Care of One’s Health

Dear Friend in Christ,

I thought that I was managing well as I navigated through the stresses, challenges and changes that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to ministry. Until I wasn’t. In the past week, something snapped within me and I am not able to function as I have been. I don’t have any medical diagnosis, but I describe it as burnout. I have a greatly diminished capacity for compassion, completing tasks and making decisions. I tend to feel overwhelmed much easier than I did before.

On Sunday night, March 14, I accessed the Employee Assistance Plan and requested counseling. A counselor is supposed to get back to me sometime in the next couple days. To create space for me to rest and recover, I am paring back my work responsibilities to the bare minimum: Sunday worship and supporting the Senior Ministry Team and Governing Board.

I realize that I need to change how I function. My old way of doing things was not healthy and it didn’t really work. I am only starting the journey of learning how to function in a new way and I don’t know what it will look like yet. I’m asking for grace from you as I do that. I can no longer do what I use to do, and some things I will be choosing to not do in the future because, while they may have been good, they were not essential. Sometimes doing good things can take time and energy away from doing what is best.

I ask that you not be worried about me. I think that God has allowed this to happen to me for my good and I look forward to living a healthy and fruitful life on the other side of this. This is a Kairos moment for me, so there are false things of which I need to repent, and true things from Jesus which I need to believe and incorporate into my life. Kairos moments are always somewhat unnerving and uncomfortable, yet this is how Jesus helps us to learn and grow.

My prayer is that what has happened in my life would be an encouragement to you to take good care of your emotional, physical and spiritual health. Life in this world is a wonderful and precious gift from God.

[Jesus said,] “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

God’s blessings,

Pastor James

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