Dear Church Family,
Last week I participated in our Conference Clergy Retreat via Zoom on Wednesday and Thursday. It was good to be encouraged and inspired by our clergy on more than 170 screens which represented over 200 people. In our closing communion, we read a liturgy which began by lamenting the things the pandemic, racial reckoning, election cycle, fires and hurricanes have taken from us. Then it continued with these words:
Dear people of Grace, Holbrook, Pine Creek and Shields Valley,
As I sit to write this, I realize that my heart is tired. The news cycle this week is wearing me out. The world feels very chaotic right now. On one level life is good. My family is healthy. My work is fulfilling. You all are a source of encouragement. God feels near. But on another level…chaos swirls all around me, tossing me this way and that. As I reflect, I am reminded of a verse in Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul.” Whew. I need that. I need an anchor to keep me secure. To keep my soul tethered to God. To renew my spirit. The good news is I have an anchor in Jesus! We have hope in God. God is with us and will see us through this chaotic season. If you are feeling bashed around these days, look to Jesus as an anchor for your soul. Here is a prayer I found that will guide me in my devotions written by Laura Jean Truman:
“God, keep my anger from becoming meanness. Keep my sorrow from collapsing into self-pity. Keep my heart soft enough to keep breaking. Keep my anger turned toward justice, not cruelty. Remind me that all of this, every bit of it, is for love. Keep me fiercely kind. Amen.” Hold on to hope.
How is your “surge capacity”? According to Dr. Ann Masten, PhD., surge capacity is the collection of mental and physical adaptive systems we use to cope with an acutely stressful situation, such as a natural disaster. We have now hit the 6-month wall with this pandemic which is pushing the limits of our surge capacity. It is natural to feel depleted and out of sorts, it is natural to feel effects of chronic stress. As the pandemic extends indefinitely it becomes a chronic situation not crisis. It becomes critical then for us to figure out how to replenish our surge capacity, renew our reserves. Here is some advice from experts. First, hold on to hope because this is temporary. Accept that life is different now. Expect less from yourself and be kind to yourself. Look for activities that renew your spirit, look particularly to creative outlets. Indulge your senses. Focus on maintaining and strengthening your relationships. Remember we are human beings not human doings. Sunday, I talked about how to comfort is to share strength. Let us be comforters to one another. Draw near to God and God will draw near to you. If you are feeling down, then reach out. We are all in this together.
Park County United Methodist Ministries
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