Wednesday, May 29, 2013

June Newsletter Piece

How do you feed your Spirit?
A month ago I attended a continuing-education event developing spiritual leadership. One of the points being made was that to provide spiritual leadership one needs to develop and feed one's own spirituality.

Coincidentally, at yesterday's meeting of the Grande Prairie ministerial the devotion was about dealing with or avoiding exhaustion and burn-out. And the proposition was that one reason church leaders end up exhausted is that in the pressure to live out the commandment to love our neighbours as ourselves we neglect the commandment to love God with our whole being. And then we fail to take care of the relationship with the One in whom, to quote St. Paul, we live and move and have our being.

So, in the midst of the busy-ness of the world, how do you feed your Spirit?
As I have told many people over the years, it is my firm belief that all people have a spiritual side that needs to be fed. Some people meet that need through yoga, or Tai Chi, or walking along the lake/seashore, or through artistic endeavours, or through participation in a faith community [note that this is a sample list, there are many other possibilities]. Some people (maybe most people) use a combination of things. Some people are not aware of the need at all – until something goes wrong. But my bias is that we all have this need and that if we do not meet it we will pay a price.

So how do you feed your spirit?
What price might we pay if we do not take care of our spiritual side? What happens if life becomes unbalanced in this way?

I suggest we might find our energy and passion failing us. I suggest we might lose sight of what is important in our lives. I suggest that our quality of life feels lower. I suggest that in the end it will start to impact our physical and mental health, that it impacts how able we are to do our daily tasks.

So how do you feed your spirit?
When I have this sort of discussion with couples preparing to get married I make it clear that this is not the “come to church” bit of the process. Because after all, I am talking to adults who can (and will) make their own choices. But I have the discussion because it is my firm belief (and I share my obvious bias that this work is best done in community) that caring for our whole selves makes us healthier individuals, healthier spouses, healthier parents, etc. And so I have an ethical responsibility to bring it up. Now I have a further question for you:

How does/could being part of THIS faith community feed your spirit? How do we support each other in developing as spiritual beings? How might we do it better? Too often, in my experience anyway, United Church folk become too rational, too focused on practical matters. I think we can do far better at helping each other grow spiritually. And I want us to find ways to do that. Starting in the fall. Who's with me?

In the meantime, over the summer, be sure to take time to feed your spirit!

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