By Ruth Haley Barton.
This is a book that was given to me at Christmas and I am very slowly reading through it. it is really speaking to me. The complete title is:
"Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry"
On the cruise last week I would read a little bit, write a little bit and often share it with Susan as we sat and talked together. There is one chapter about living within your limits and how easy it is to become depleted because we have overreached. She quotes Richard Swenson:
"When you reach the limits of your resources or abilities, you have no margin left. yet because we don't even know what margin is, we don't realize it is gone. We know that something is not right but we can't solve the puzzle beyond that. Our pain is palpable but our assailant remains unnamed."
Here are the symptoms that might manifest themselves when we are dangerously depleted:
= Irritability or hypersensitivity
= compulsive overworking
= Emotional numbness
= Escapist behaviors
= Disconnected from our identity and calling
- not able to attend to human needs (our own)
= hoarding energy
= slippage in our spiritual practices
It is good to be home and feel fresh and centered again and truly ready to step into the life of ministry that is mine. My prayer for myself is that I might "know the difference between being driven by grandiose visions and responding faithfully to the expansion of God's work in and through me"
Here is a wonderful prayer from the book (by Ted Loder)
O Eternal One
it would be easier for me to pray
if I were clear
and of a single mind and pure heart,
if I could be done hiding from myself
and from you, even in my prayers,
But I am who I am,
mixture of motives and excuses,
blur of memories
quiver of hopes,
knot of fear,
tangle of confusion,
and restless with love
Come, find me, Lord,
Be with me exactly as I am
Help me find me, Lord
Help me accept what i am
So I can begin to be yours.