Well Update - Sister Joan Freewrite Follow Up
So here is the Well Update
Heart/Soul - I am emotionally on a very even keel lately. I am well-rested. Balance has been restored after the end of May - Early June realization that I had become a bit out of kilter. I am so thankful for Sister Joan, and her words of wisdom for me. I was reacting to other people rather than responding to the Lord. That always gets me in a bit of trouble. I think it started with feeling low-ebb with allergies and progressed from there. The rudeness of the man in the class after mine also contributed. The ongoing negativity of another person that I had to see at the end of my mostly positive class day on Mondays and Wednesdays also contributed. Negative people are toxic people.
Here is a list that I was reminded of again this morning:
Here is a list of Sister Joan's wise words:
1) Give self permission to say "no" - I realize that I am pretty good at saying "no" to the big things now. That is growth, but it is the little nagging things everyday. "Carol, can you connect me with this little thing? Can you post this little thing for me? What do I do with this international student? Do you know these international students, can we partner with you? Can you lead this little one day thing? Here is her number (instead of them calling and putting it all on me to make the call). Can I get a ride down to Portland and stay with you? I think I need an implant in Corvallis. Where can I go? Can I send a 10-15 page paper to you to edit? When are you coming to visit me? Can we meet in Portland? Can we meet in July to chat about some things? Can you teach Pilates to such and such group? Where do you get this particular product? This is all "little" questions and request that happened in the last couple of days, but they all add up.
I also say "yes" to things that people are so dead set on doing but don't want to have any part in making it happen, and then they don't even show up for it. One particular person was very rude when they said that we have to have this prayer time on this particular day because of this particular reason, and her words were, "Get to it!" Like I was her slave or something. Then, she IS NOT EVEN COMING! That really surprised me and made me realize that I need to just say, "YOU GET TO IT THEN if you are so dead set on having it this day! I am not your slave." The next time she does something like this, I really need to reflect back to her how she comes across to people when she says things like "GET TO IT!"
That same person and another person had heard a message on prayer in September 2014, and they were saying, "We need to pray more! Why don't we pray more?" Then, when I made a lot of effort to create more opportunities to pray, THEY DID NOT EVEN SHOW UP. It is one thing to pray more, it is another thing to look at the practicalities of praying more in terms of involvement of other people.
So, I am resolved to GIVE BACK TO PEOPLE the responsibility of fulfilling their own dreams rather than me expecting to do it for them. CHECK! (Boy, this is really good to type this out. Thus why I freewrite!)
I have progressed at saying, "NO" more, but I can always grow in this area.
One of Sister Joan's questions to ask myself: How does "no" minister?
I am not sure what she meant by this question. I think saying "no" ministers to others in them seeing that I set good boundaries, and they can do the same. The sabbatical has been really good because some people had seen how tired I was (Lorraine in particular) even more than I had. Joanne said it was so good. I don't feel like I really do that much, but I think I do. I think saying "no" also ministers to the people who make demands of me (like the particular person above) because they see how they are coming across, and they begin to see the other person as a human being with capacities rather than an object they can use to manipulate and boss around.
How does it minister to me? I think it makes me less tired! That is one really good way that it ministers to me. It helps me to see that I can make choices. I need to explore that with Sister Joan more. I am not sure I understand the question's aim.
2) Progressions of Life Stages - I realize that I am in a very different life stage from most of the people I hang out with. I am an empty-nester (even though both the kids are home for the summer from college). I have "embraced the empty nest and have found great joy in a new career. So, my life is in a different season today than it was a year ago.
3) Sabbatical - Sister Joan reminded me of the word God had given me just two hours earlier. I had forgotten it. I am loving this sabbatical, even though it has not been devoid of ministry. The last full sabbatical that George and I took was in our first year of marriage, and, boy, did we ever get flack for that! People were counting the days when our year was up (that was when we were at the "suck all the life out of you, use you and spit you out as worthless" church). The year sabbatical ended up being the year where we did what we were passionate about: spending time with our dear friends, Dang and Kak, and helping them to grasp who Jesus is and this walk of faith. We also studied the life of David together as a couple. The man with a life of devotion, which has characterized our marriage. Intimacy leads to impact. PERIOD. So, that was nothing but a positive time. My mistake was going back into ministry and being on the missions council at church, confirming my life-long dislike of MEETINGS that never go anywhere! That is sort of what I feel like with the meetings for training team. I love knowing what is going on in each other's lives, but it is too much of that and not enough moving forward. I cannot do them anymore, especially remotely where I cannot see people face-to-face. It just is not my cup of tea.
4) No is a complete sentence - I think not explaining why I cannot go to something is a discipline. Too many words, transgression is unavoidable. If they want to know why, they can ask, but I will not volunteer the information. Most of the time I know when something is not something I want or need to do for another person, but how do you not say, "Figure it out for yourself" without coming across rude and not helpful? Such a difficult balance for me. My boundaries and "no" takes a lot of courage, and they come out more emotional than they need to.
5) The better you are, the more you are asked. SO TRUE! I know that is. I also know when I am truly good at something. So, I am flattered but have to remain focused and "keep the main thing, the main thing."
6) Introverting - I don't care one iota if someone does not believe I am an introvert, but I AM. PERIOD. QUIT ARGUING WITH ME ABOUT IT. I know who I am and where I am going. So, just take me as not being an idiot and know my own personality pretty darn well. I always fool people because I love people (strong "F") so I will deny introverting because of my love for people and relationships. They are two very different things. I pay the price later on if I spend too much time with people. That is the truth! So, Sister Joan says to take time to be an introvert. I will. I am. I love it so much. Along with that introverted side is the gift of intercession that I love to nurture and grow.
7) Words that describe me: shepherding, cheerleader, intercessory, worshiper, counselor, spiritual director, listener. With that, Sister Joan asked:
Who listens to the listener? That is so changing. I am getting back some balance in that regard. I am walking with Kim on Tuesday nights now, and that has been so good for my soul. With us, it is a mutual exchange back and forth between us. No one listens more than the other.
8) Retreat - Yes, I am taking more retreats.
9) Process - not product - I think I pretty much have that one down. I learned a long time ago that when I expect a particular product out of my effort, it is always different. I am product when it comes to tangible things like finishing a book or a project. But when it comes to people and life transformation, I have learned to be all about process rather than product. I cannot make choices for others, just myself.
10) Nature heals - so agree! I have been taking worship bike rides, and that has been less about product and more about he process of enjoying God's beauty as I ride around this beautiful city.
11) Minister to the minister - That was eye-opening. I have few that minister to me or even offer to ask me how I am doing. I have come to accept that, but the walks with Kim are good. I am also going to go see Sister Joan one time a month. I do have somewhat of that with the Wellspring group, but I am the oldest now by 15 years, so there is a big gap between us in many ways. I love those girls though. I am trying to find more people who can be that way for me. I definitely have intercessors in my life! Nancy has been great!
12) Enjoying your own company - CHECK! I really like being alone and being my own company. Actually, just me and the Lord is a great thing!
13) Humor? I am not sure this is what this one says, but I love to laugh! That is why I love reading and watching things. So fun! George is my main humor machine, and when we are all together as a family, we laugh a lot!
14) Church Story? I have no idea what this one means. Hmmm.
15) Not your job description - I don't have a job description for the training team. I do TOAG. That is all I really want to do. Then I am going to shepherd grads of TOAG who want it, prioritizing with those going with our group. I am also totally willing and able to lead workshops as they relate to storytelling, DBS, fitness, balanced life, and Spiritual Formation. I think when J wanted MORE, I was a little bit flabbergasted. I cannot do any more and remain true to the next point that Sister Joan pointed out.
16) Her help with words for how to set sabbatical boundaries, "I have been called by the Spirit and have discerned the I need time to integrate" - I think my biggest thing is the realization (as I was sure of last July, really - or even as far back as when we took three days off to go to a six hour meeting, ugh!) that I need to not be involved with the training team on a regular basis. We are volunteers. We just do reimbursement. That is it. It just is in the middle of my only fully free day in the week. So, I bowing out. I have discerned, and it is loud and clear. I want more time to do what I am passionate about.
17) Spiritual self-care - Yes, that is what I am doing. :)
18) Chronically Hurtful People - I am still trying to discern what to do about the person who follows me in my room at OSU. It is one negative thing in a SEA OF POSITIVE PILATES! So she recommended the book title above. She also called them "psychic vampires." The guy is a "rock in my shoe."
In regard to sabbatical, she said,
TRUST SELF (my Spirit-filled self)
TRUST OTHER PEOPLE to deal with it! (Including J, who is probably the person I am most afraid of misunderstanding my exit)
That was really good to review what she said to me. I had not gone over the sheet of paper she gave me. I should give a sheet of paper to the people I see! (Which is something I have missed and hope to get back to soon.)