32 replies, 9 voices Last updated by Lesgonzales 1 year, 6 months ago
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    • #5684

      Rick Underwood
      Moderator
      @RickUnderwood

      Please post your thoughts, questions, reflection for week 2 here.

      Rick

    • #5686

      Peter Wong
      Member
      @pwongs

      Some 4 hours ago, the government of Malaysia had just imposed the precautionary measures to close all non-essential businesses, schools and universities until March 31 to prevent further spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country. While this may cause inconvenience to many of my countrymen and women, I am taking this period as a retreat for myself… (our local time is 4.00 a.m.).

      Sanford’s writing on “Thoughts on Ministry Burnout” is intriguing, even though it’s only based on a summary. By linking Elijah to the Exhausted Ego, I’m reminded how human nature has played an important part in salvation history since the beginning of God’s creation but I don’t intend to go as far as the fallen nature since the time of Adam and Eve. Elijah, a prophet who lived in ninth century B.C. was devastated by Israel’s infidelity and as he complained to God his desire to resign from his mission, Elisha was finally named as his successor (1 Kgs 19: 13-16).

      I can relate more easily with Carl Jung than Sigmund Freud as the issue of religion and spirituality fits well into the former’s theories. Allow me to share one of Jung’s essays, The Philosophical Tree. He writes: “A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions…” (p. 335). Whether I’m a minister, missioner, therapist, social worker, administrator or any professional or helper, I may begin as a young, energetic, promising lad as I’m being commissioned into the field, but can I persevere and serve faithfully with passion after 20, 30 years? When we are no longer effective, we too can easily become the man who is no longer conscious of himself.

      As the Ego (literally ‘I’) negotiates between the Id (innate basic drives) and the Superego (the conscience, simply), it’s important to have a sense of purpose to strike a balance. I find it’s essential that I find meaning in myself and in what I do. I experienced Exhausted Ego some years ago when my wife was going through depression. I had to juggle between my family and the job of a faculty member for some three years! Imagine how relieved each one of us were in the family when my wife finally recovered.

      No one is spared of the Exhausted Ego, and some of us already go through this before long in our vocation. This is real. My bishop who was ordained at the age of 50 experienced just that before he turned 53! Among the four main things I do to prevent Exhausted Ego on a regular basis are: 1. Have a supportive structure, God, family and friends; 2. Practicing mindfulness and meditation, besides my daily prayer; 3. Cycling, stretching and gym exercise, and 4. Continue to have meaning and purpose in what I do. They resemble much of what Sanford wrote.

      peter

       

       

       

    • #5714

      Paul C. Edwards
      Participant
      @pedwards

      Hello all:-

      It goes without saying that all of us are extremely stretched right now. I have been struggling to keep up with the daily flood of e-mails as the leadership of our health system make constant changes regarding protocols in light of COVID-19. My department has almost come to a halt as we’ve had to suspend some critical ministry functions in an effort to limit patient interactions and inadvertent exposure to what is a potent but still largely “an unknown” attacker.

      So, I have been struggling to focus on the readings for this week. (I suspect the same for the rest of you).

      Anyway, having just finally completed the assignment, I’m going to share some reflections. The Compassion Fatigue article mentioned the need for a support system, in order to address the natural” phenomenon of compassion fatigue. I recall the days when I was fortunate to be a part of a department where I had peers to share with. I also lament the loss of colleagues who’ve retired and moved away, and who’ve passed away. That circle is just about gone and that was painful to read, but at the same time, strangely affirming. I do connect with non-Chaplain folks, from time to time. That has been helpful. I would go on to say that all helping professions need some group therapy and peer support system to maintain passion and energy as the work we do can be so energy-depleting.

      The summary of Sanford’s book listed some pretty helpful tips, and that was the take-away for me. Too many caregivers don’t take the time, for example, to do something outside of, and different from work. For me, it’s repairing computers and gardening, for example. I deliberately move away from ministry functions when I am away from my facility. The longer I’ve been in ministry, the more self-aware I’ve become, and feel that if I don’t engage in that practice, I might not be able to recharge and go back to continue doing what I’m doing in ministry.

      As for the Exhausted Ego, as referred in the Sander’s book review, I’m not so sure I’m completely convinced that Elijah suffered from an exhausted ego, although I see the point. I’d say, personally, and professionally, I might fall more on the side of being mentally exhausted. I suppose the degree to which an exhausted ego occurs is dependent upon how one views and claims one’s identity. Having come into ministry with a sense of a calling to the more pastoral care/counseling end, I tend not to see myself in the same light as some colleagues who sensed a call to the more traditional ministry roles.

      Just some rambling thoughts……

      I hope everyone is faring well. We are in God’s hands and God is in control. Let’s all keep those prayers going for our medical folks all over the globe who are in the trenches, and who are just as scared as everyone else is.

       

       

    • #5717

      Laura Broadwater
      Participant
      @Laura

      My thoughts are slow.  The week was stressful to watch the iron gates go up over the entrance to the hospital, the doors close with walls, the tables go up to screen the 1 visitor who is allowed to be with the patient, the screening of employees.  All of the normal life saving interventions go on in the hospital.  I pray for those who cannot be with loved ones during such trying times.  I also pray for staff with all the changes in process, it is challenging to figure everything out.  I hope to be able to read about burnout instead of fire extinguishing.

    • #5718

      Laura Broadwater
      Participant
      @Laura

      These are dense materials to wade through…maybe I see the world differently.  Emotions are energy in my way of thinking and can be channeled.  Those emotions make us happy, sad, and everything in the middle.  Figley’s emotional list can seemed exhausting, but I am about reframing.  As I pour compassion into situations and people, it seems renewing a situation is like pouring oil into a dried surface.  I acknowledge that I am part of a chaplain team and when support is needed, it is available. I would imagine that given some of the situations I have read about with several of you, there needs to be a place, a wilderness where you retreat to renew.  Perhaps for me that is coming home each day to find my family.  Those smiles and jokes, the spirit of being with these precious folks fills my heart full.  The empty nest will come in time, but thanks to the coronavirus, that is not now.  Even with added groceries, laundry, life experiences, we joy in being family.

      As I read, I was struck with the word: soul sadness.  I have used “soul wound” but not soul sadness and want to sit with that term in relationship to those I have worked with Major Depressive Disorder. I also see that term from working in the trauma center, triage nurses seemed to reflect this term.  They became numb to the gun-shot wound victim and those who arrived with emotional reactivity; they became numb to the trauma because it protected their own ability work in such challenging situations.  There seemed like a callous growing over the heart of the care-giver due to repeated weariness.  Perhaps there were adrenaline highs but no resolve to see the outcome.  Sometimes I wish E.D. staff would receive the patients that really taxed their energy return later to show them the healing process and to thank the E.D. staff so the staff could breathe in renewed purpose from seeing the healing health process full-circle.  Perhaps caregivers are numb because the boundaries are fuzzy.  As the article states, borders create an awareness of identity.  As a chaplain I seek to help each patient quest for wholeness: dignity, theodicy struggles, there is the incredible sense of powerlessness that arises from vulnerability, and the longing heart for healing.  Each of these is a tough space to be in and walk along with one struggling to discern meaning and value. Thanks for the timely reading!

    • #5720

      Laura Broadwater
      Participant
      @Laura

      Peter, I appreciate your self care.  May peace fill your heart.

    • #5722

      Peter Wong
      Member
      @pwongs

      Laura, thanks for your kind words. As you said, boundaries are fuzzy. I found it stressful to work with clients who were attempting suicide and I wished boundaries were more straightforward. Middleton mentions in trauma recovery to “manage your emotions” and “keep yourself open…” among other things. It’s good to remind ourselves that we are human beings with feelings and emotions.We are not robots.

      We are not God, as Rick says. It’s good to be aware of my limitations, no matter how qualified or how experienced I am. Having done the best I can, I simply turn to God.

    • #5725

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      Grace and Peace from The Mohawk River Valley of New York State.  The sun is shining.  My newly planted pumpkin and flower seeds sitting on my parlor table near two windows are giving me joy as in the morning,they lean toward the east facing window.  In the afternoon, they have moved to the south facing window.

      Before responding to your thoughts, I want to respond to the excellent and highly academic article on  compassion fatigue.  Much to digest.  The helpful element for me was the difference between burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious victimization.

      To simplify for me Burnout–too many vicarious traumas over time that lead to compassion fatigue that wasn’t addressed and the person is out of fuel, energy, purpose.  Sometimes we as spiritual care givers can help other professionals deal with a traumatic often ER situation.  Hopefully we can decompress some how (other chaplains, family a friend, a self care routine.  It happened, it’s over and done.  Reframe and move on. Compassion fatigue is the natural response of people who pour themselves out for others esp. at a spiritual level.  AGape love, love that ispooured out,  we are a living sacrifice.  But we can be refilled with power/love form the surce of love if we take the time to do so. ( Retreat)  Burnout–end reslut of not dealing with the first two.  To tired and empty to go on.  We give up on running the race.  My self advice here is to practice what I have learned about self care.  One priest gives the image of going into a room with an emotional/spirtual sponge–soaking up what you can, leaving the situation and then squeezing the content of the sponge into God’s hands. to not won it.  Also to allow myself to pull back to the office to chart or chapel to pray after a series of visits–it sort of feels like hiding or avoidance, but I need it to recharge.  After really tough cases, I try to get outside, breathe deep, take a walk.

      Another way I found to recharge is to gratefully partake of the cookies, candy treats sent by patients families to the nurses station or staff lounge.  I think of the work with their loved one and enjoy the gratitude in the food.  I try to practice the self care I preach.  I remember on somedays, that Jesus only healed one person at the pool of Siloam.  I also remember that even Jesus was powerless to stop Judas’ betrayal.  I can’t help all people with all things, but by God’s Spirit I can help some people with some things.  The refreshment that comes from the person’s uplifted sense of God or the Holy during or after a visit keeps me coming back.  More on suffering after I make brunch for my family. 🙂

    • #5726

      Laura Broadwater
      Participant
      @Laura

      The sponge is a great metaphor.  I saw more people taking brisk walks last week as the hospital changed, closing to the public.  I have often shared that taking a break is essential.  Thank you for your vision of spring breaking forth in the seeds that produce wonderful joy in the fall.  It is like planting a tree, you see the future, not necessarily the current space because trees often take years to grow and mature.

    • #5728

      Angel
      Participant
      @Angel

      Laura it is a challenging time.  We are experiencing a life that no one ever imagined, however as long as we vow to stick together my pray is that we will not go back to how we were prior to this, but we will be a better nation of people.  Stay well; physically, spiritually and mentally.

    • #5729

      Angel
      Participant
      @Angel

      I agree, it is so important to have something that feeds your soul outside of your call as a Chaplain/Minister.  I love photography and it is a spiritual practice for me.  Over the years, I have kept solid boundaries and I truly believe in keeping those boundaries,it has sustained me and has given me longevity in my call.  My boundaries are not always welcomed by others, however I understand that has more to do with the other person than myself.  I am finding in this New World Order as I am calling it, that it is even more needed to have a spiritual practice, something that feeds your soul, because now the everyday task of going outside of your house can become stressful in addition to the everyday work stress, which we encounter.

    • #5730

      Laura Broadwater
      Participant
      @Laura

      Your words are true and prophetic as well.  I agree, we cannot go back to where we were.  I have great joy in working with spinal cord injury patients.  When the longing to return to what was before ceases, the healing to journey to what can be… begins.  One thing is certain, we have reached a new world where people explore fear as never before, and hygiene like never before.

    • #5731

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      Brunch was refreshing.  Mr. Louw’s reflection on suffering was also interesting.

      Jesus the suffering servant who asks God why am I forsaken and the idea that our sufferings are somehow united with Christ.  Over simplified.  No pain, no gain.

      We as care givers want to remove reduce or make suffering manageable, but yet suffering has a point.  There has been some new research about grief that points to how sometimes a death of a loved one can make an individual stronger, better and more resilient.  Going places they wouldn’t have without the death.  Like MADD or other charitable foundations began in response to a specific kind of loss.  Or being free from an abusive relationship.  But also, people often express their deeper selves as death nears.

    • #5732

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      Thoughts on Father John’s  summarized reflections.

      How to stay fresh, energized, full of the Spirit, on task, at the helm…

      REcognizing that we leak, because we are expending lots of physical, emotional and spiritual energy even during the most routine of calls and much more so during the traumatic ones.  Fear of failure was mentioned in the Compassion fatigue article and is also part of Father John’s thoughts—“The ministering person cannot always tell if his/her work is having any results.”

      We want to be helpful, to not do harm, to serve, make a difference which many times happens in the mystery of God’s presence in and through us somehow.  But we don’t always know if it was helpful or harmful or if we made a difference other than our own intuitive sense.  I like the example of Elijah–eat, sleep, repeat, reframe Being reminded that he was not alone or abandoned but mostly tired, hungry and in need of a retreat, food and rest.recognizing that we are not super heroes, but people called to come alongside others and also to retreat from doing so to refresh and refill.  Like our cars need fuel we need refreshing self care.  Jesus took time away.  Jesus needed ministering angels after His temptation.  He often fed people.  May each of us find time to breathe deeply, to refresh and have our souls restored.  There is a reason we have a sabbath.  When I am in the right frame of mind, it helps to focus on what I can do and not what Ican’t

       

    • #5741

      Rick Underwood
      Moderator
      @RickUnderwood

      Thanks to all who have shared your reflections on the resources as well as your practices that have helped in preventing burnout.  We will be posting some final resources and week 3 assignments on Tue that will focus more on what we can do to help others such as medical personnel during these stressful times. In the mean time, please continue this collaborative learning experience by sharing resources you have found helpful.

      Keep up the sharing. I am learning and being inspired by each of you.

      Rick @ Oates

       

    • #5744

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      Greetings from the Pacific Northwest this Sunday. I had hoped to send comments last week however so many changes here. On Thursday my hospice has transitioned to mostly making phone calls to patients, families and our team. We are able to see patients, only when they are truly at the end of life. I am really missing the face to face contact not only with the patients but with my co-workers as well. Also we have canceled worship services as well. This leads me to my comments on burnout.
      Burnout certainly can happen with too much contact and not enough self care yet I think it can also happen when we are too isolated. Maybe that’s where the ego gets us into trouble. If all of this depends on one person meaning me, I will burn out. My gifts, talents, etc… are limited as is all of ours. We need each other.
      Maybe the isolation enforced on us due to this virus will allow us to appreciate the uniqueness we all have and work better together thus helping us realize the whole doesn’t just depend on us. Will post more later. Just initial thoughts. Dianna

    • #5746

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      Wally,
      I so appreciate your comment about not being able to see our results. I think that contributes to burn out. This work in many ways is hard to see results unlike work that has specific tasks, so often we don’t know if we made a difference. Our culture is so focused on productivity we can often miss the real connection we make.

    • #5747

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      Angel,
      It so important to have something other than work. I actually love to cook. It truly is very therapeutic, the chopping of vegetables, creating a new dish, slow simmering a sauce helps me slow down see a tangible result and enjoying a good meal. Sometimes I even amaze myself how good my food tastes. The hard part right now because of the virus I am not able to share it with others which is very hard for me. While I enjoy the food, the company is equally enjoyable.

    • #5762

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      I am so grateful for the timing of this course. What a gift to be connected with a group of like minded care givers.  To be able to process our work, personal lives and the Corona virus with people who get us has helped me.

      I apologize if this is an obvious self care practice for you, but as I read some of your self care/refreshing reframing practices I also think of taking a mini vacation to your happy places bu just closing one’s eyes.  I close my eyes, take a deep breath and I am in the mountains on a fire tower hike with family and friends.  Or I am in a bike ride again in the mountains or running a mountain trail from my college days.  It sounds like many of you have so many added stressors: isolation more responsibilities, less face to face visits, curtailed visits, staff and visitor screening  My biggest stressor has been as the new guy Hospice Spiritual Care Coordinator–learning a new system of complicated charting and the visit protocol with the added pressure of medicaid or is it medicare reimbursements tied to my visits.  That is new.  The limited visiting and screening has been weird.  We are all working from home and will be making phone calls and possible visits.  Tele-chaplaining may happen which another learning curve. Laura, I appreciate your mentioning Soul sadness.  It is a term that describes so many people behind there mask.  I love the quote attributed to many on the internet but most like the Scottish minister Ian MacClaren..Be kind. everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.  Or Josh Groban.

      When I am down and oh my soul so weary  When troubles come and my heart burdened be.  Then I am still and wait here in the silence until you come and sit awhile with me.  You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.  You raise me up to walk on stormy seas  I am strong when I am on your shoulders  You raise me up to more than I can be.

      I have an image that helps me as we sit awhile with people in soul pain, sorrow or sadness.  Hopefully they are refreshed at some level by our non-anxious (holy ) presence.  We are like a refreshing spring rain.  It  cleanses, refreshes and  renews the earth, but when the sun comes it is probably forgotten, but its nourishing influence is part of the  flowers, plants, trees, fruit.  It has helped me realize that I am part of something bigger.  Everyday we GET to sit with hurting people and hear their story, witness their tears, maybe bind a little of their broken heart.  And like the rain we need to be drawn by the sun back into the sky to be strengthened and renewed so we are ready to refresh the next person whose soul is wounded.  God’s mercies are new every morning and God is singing over you.  God rejoices in you He will renew you with His love.  Blessings, Wally

      My prayers are with you as
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    • #5763

      Peter Wong
      Member
      @pwongs

      Wally, I miss biking since the lockdown amid COVID-19 pandemic. It was not only a form of exercise I have always enjoyed but sweating it out in the sun  kept my stamina going. At the same time, I get this feeling of ‘getting away’ as Paul mentioned.

      Dianna, I cook from time to time which I do that as an art as much as the sharing of food, until my wife took over upon her retirement. Some years ago when she was in the recovery process from depression, I used to ask her to help out with cleaning and chopping of the vegetables. Eventually she took on the task of actually cooking and she’s doing it on a daily basis now. Whenever we have guests at home, our husband-wife team work out very well. Cooking has been therapeutic for both of us.

       

    • #5766

      Paul C. Edwards
      Participant
      @pedwards

      As many of you have noted, COVID-19 has brought additional layers of stress to caregivers of all ilk, due to the many changes that have occurred (social distancing, visitation policies in institutions, etc.). We are reeling here, having experienced the first death in our county (at our facility) a few days ago. I’ve witnessed the heroic efforts of my colleagues as they worked hard to save that patient’s life. Then, I learned of the familial relationship of the patient to folks that I’m very close to and that hit home. It has been a very surreal time for me.

      How I cope, as Peter noted, and so many of you as well, has been extremely modified. I enjoy a bit of antiquing on Saturdays – not for long hours, just a few hours to “discover hidden gems”. I can’t do that right now, because of restrictions on large gatherings and my favorite place is closed until further notice.

      I’ve tried to use my time to catch up on reading, but…..too much is on my mind to really focus long. It took me quite a while to get through this week’s readings. I pretty much had to force myself, because I had to get it done.

    • #5767

      Paul C. Edwards
      Participant
      @pedwards

      Another way I cope with diminishing energy is to plan PTO, not to get busy on projects or on going and doing, but to rest.

      Ironically, I had planned some PTO for last week (I took one day off, early in the week) and have the latter part of this week planned off) prior to this happening. (I tend to plan my time off way in advance). It was approved and, as of now, I have no reason to believe the approval will be rescinded (which is always possible in times of crisis).

      I am having mixed feelings about this. On the one hand – I need to get away! On the other hand, I feel like I need to be with my colleagues. My head tells me it is okay to take some time off to recharge. My heart tells me I should be here. Therein lies the dilemma.

      As I’ve grown older (and perhaps more worn out), I have been more prone to plan time-off than to wait until I’m nudged. Our current PTO policies actually force us to take time, as they have drastically reduced the allowable accruals, and once you have achieved the set maximum, you will not accrue any more until they are whittled down. (I am at my max and have been for weeks, so…..I’m using them!)

      Prayerfully, I’ll be recharged enough to get back in and provide the kind of support our staff needs. Our patient population has dwindled dramatically and our visitors are just about non-existent.

      Looking forward to the next lesson and discussions as to how we can help our respective healthcare colleagues in this time of crisis.

    • #5783

      Laura Broadwater
      Participant
      @Laura

      I am curious, Peter.  How is Malaysia faring with the lock down?  Has the lock – down caused people to feel more isolated or are they creatively overcoming those barriers?  I have encountered staff who struggle with the mental hurdle of knowing the facility is locked and visitation is incredibly limited.

       

      The therapy facility where I serve is going online next week.  I am so excited about that.  Everyone is utilizing some technological way to connect.

    • #5785

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      God rested on the 7th day.  One day, Jesus only healed one person at a pool surrounded by many people in need.  What did the other disciples do when Jesus took Peter James and John?  Moses asked for help when the needs were too much and learned to delegate.  Deep breaths. I don;t recall seeing to many suggestions about the power of music to recharge, relax and maybe even get us dancing a bit.

      end of sermon.

      Blessings

      Wally

    • #5786

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      Wally,

      Music so important, connects us to each other and our inner souls. I saw on Facebook where a group did a symphony of Ode to Joy. It was so powerful, lifted my spirits. I shared it so others could see it and listen. I wish there was a way we could be more connected in these classes. I realize the time zones create a problem for this. Music is the great spiritual connection.

    • #5787

      Peter Wong
      Member
      @pwongs

      Laura, the teenagers next door have been complaining for days that they couldn’t leave home since the lockdown began a week ago. Yes, some people feel isolated and frustrated, while others are getting creative. My counseling center is now providing telephone and online counseling 24/7 for now, at least until the lockdown is over. Many people are turning to social media to connect when meeting face-to-face is out of the equation.

      My prayer group had a two-hour long prayer meeting online last Friday and we’ll do it again this Thursday. My siblings living in different regions of Malaysia continue to communicate with each other through chat group online. They are taking distance learning courses on the Scripture and theology as well.

      Surely my indoor exercise won’t be able to substitute my biking outdoor but at least they compensate that experience partially. One of the greatest realizations of this lockdown is the freedom of movement that I take for granted, and my prayers go with people on the call of duty on the frontline.

    • #5788

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Paul,
      I’m sorry I’m behind in reading. I am so sorry about the death in your hospital. Being the lone Chaplain, you look after the patient, the family … and then the expectation is that you look after the staff as well. It gets very wearing. I also understand the struggle of the time off. I had also planned to be off this week – an annual trip with my sister that we have done for 35+ years. We cancelled and I have chosen to work this week. It has been a week of deaths, altho not COVID related. I think if I walk the halls then folks will see me and think CHAPLAIN, and when they think Chaplain, they will think GOD – and it will remind them that God walks these halls too. I go home weary.

      I’m am thankful to y’all for the ability to put thoughts on paper (so to speak). Being the lone Chaplain means there is no one with whom I can debrief. I am to be the one debriefing others but I can’t talk to anyone else.

      I miss being able to stand bedside (literally) and hold someone’s hand as I pray. Hug family members of patients. Hug staff. I miss having meetings face to face where I can see expressions and reactions.

      But this too shall pass…

      Hang in there y’all. We will get through this together and as I have told our leadership team… just as Mordecai told Esther – you have come to your position for such a time as this.

      Blessings.
      Mary

    • #5790

      Paul C. Edwards
      Participant
      @pedwards

      Thank you Mary for your reflections.

      I had thought too, of working, but I decided to stay home and rest up for the week ahead. This class is so timely for me in so many ways. I’m sure you all fell the same way too.

      My prayers go up for you, Mary, as I know what it’s like to be planning a vacation and then not being able to go at all.

      Peter, my thoughts are with you as you adjust your exercise routine.

      Yes, Wally, music is a powerful source of healing. As I read your post, I couldn’t help but recall the account of David and Saul.

      Blessings to all, and stay safe!

       

    • #5796

      Paul C. Edwards
      Participant
      @pedwards

      Rick, I’m not sure where we are posting week 3 threads.

      I also could not get one of the week 3 reading links to load a few days ago. Did anyone else have that problem?

    • #5797

      Paul C. Edwards
      Participant
      @pedwards

      I just tried that link and it has now loaded. (I think the site was undergoing maintenance when I tried initially).

    • #5855

      Lesgonzales
      Participant
      @Lesgonzales

      I am also grateful for the information provided in this course. It has been difficult to keep up as I have been dealing with my own stressful issues not only surrounding ministry amidst the pandemic in two separate contexts (church and corporate work), but I have also been dealing with homeschooling young children, taking care of my elderly mother, and most recently, helping my wife as he father is in the process of transitioning into the next life. It’s been a whirlwind the past two weeks to say the least.

      What I appreciated from this week’s readings was Sanford’s perspective of psychic energy. It sounds funny, but we all know what he means by that 😉  The fact that our energies are constantly being broken down (as evidenced in my own life this week) necessitates that they be built back up in order to be expended once again. I appreciated his suggestions for renewing our energy. A few seem to be common sense (mindfulness, meditation, journaling, changing our activities), but others were new to me and I liked them! Particularly dream reflection… As I think back upon those times when I have done precisely that, it is evident to me that my energies were in fact renewed! I’m excited at the notion of being more purposeful in this practice in the future.

    • #5856

      Lesgonzales
      Participant
      @Lesgonzales

      @Paul, with regards to your comments on Elijah and exhausted ego, I am on the fence about how I feel about this. I suppose I need to further reflect upon it. My kneejerk reaction is to agree with you (and disagree with the summary) that it is about exhausted ego. I definitely see where depression plays a role. I suppose the question becomes how deep the depression runs and to what extent is it affecting his ego. When I first read this passage years ago as I reflected on its implications to burnout, I could see the burnout elements without question. But as I examine it closer, I suppose I can see how it would go deeper and affect his ego to the point of “ego exhaustion.” It’s interesting stuff and definitely makes me want to study psychology more!

    • #5857

      Lesgonzales
      Participant
      @Lesgonzales

      @Wally, I always love reading your perspective. For me, it brings a nice infusion of the Spirit to the conversation. I loved your comment about Agape love being poured out – we are a living sacrifics. And I loved the illustration you gave from the priest:

      One priest gives the image of going into a room with an emotional/spirtual sponge–soaking up what you can, leaving the situation and then squeezing the content of the sponge into God’s hands.

      Beautiful imagery and poignant reminder that these burdens are not ours to bear!

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