One of the things I love about writing is that it puts me in touch with truths that I need to face that I might otherwise avoid and/or miss. Yesterday’s entry, for example, put me in touch with the fact that since I have returned from my summer sabbatical I have regressed greatly in terms of dealing with my codependence issues.
During the three months I was away, I forgot about some of the challenging realities of parish ministry. One of those is that some folks treat the pastor like they treat a parent when they were younger: they think the pastor (their parental figure) has the magical power to control all aspects of the universe. So when they encounter an aspect of the universe they do not like, they sometimes take it out on the pastor.
Since I have returned to daily ministry, there have been those who have laid into me for a number of things for which I have no control or responsibility. I could give you a partial list of things, but if I did, you wouldn’t believe it anyway. It’s no wonder there have been days when I’ve been tempted to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head!
Over the summer, I lost my sense of perspective about what it takes to serve a congregation and slipped into my old codependent thinking: “If they are complaining to me, then it must be my fault and – therefore – my responsibility to fix it.”
So what will I do to regain my sense of perspective?
A couple things. First, I will recommit myself to the spiritual disciplines that matter most to me including time for centering prayer and daily devotions. Second, I will continue to nurture my relationship with my spiritual director and therapist. Third, I will make sure I will return to the writings of Melody Beattie – a woman whose writings on co-dependence have been critical to my growth over the years.
With that said, I was particularly touched by the words Melodie wrote in today’s entry from The Language of Letting Go. “One of our choices in recovery is choosing what we want to think,” Beattie began. The choices we make are important, she continued, because “whatever we give energy to, we empower.”
Those words helped me regain my footing. I realized I wasn’t frustrated with folks who were raising issues or concerns about things that were beyond my control. I was really frustrated with myself for letting those things get to me.
It is time that I shift my energy away from the negativity that some folks consistently feed me and back toward the positive – the place where I choose to live.
As you read this, I know your issues may not be exactly like mine. Chance are, however, that you have circumstances around you which might have caused you to give energy to something you would otherwise not have given energy to. Things like anger, resentment, or bitterness.
Today, I would encourage you to reclaim your power and chose where to invest your energy. I wish both of us the loving support and encouragement of our Creator as we continue on our journeys toward health and wholeness.
See you next time…