Would you like to enjoy your ministry more this year? Here are three simple, though not necessarily easy, ways to do so.
First, let go of the outcome for the year.
This may seem counterintuitive at a time when everyone is thinking about resolutions and goals. In fact, I do recommend setting goals and moving toward them. At the same time, anxiously pursuing a goal, can paradoxically make it harder to achieve, especially if we are trying to control what others do (see next point).
Imagine holding the goal in the palm of your hand, lightly. You pay attention to it, but you are not tightly gripping it. Your whole body is more relaxed. You can put your energy toward the goal rather than in holding on to the goal. I think this may be part of the meaning of Yoda’s statement in Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back): “Do or do not. There is no try.” Make the decision to do something, take action in the moment and let the rest go.
Second, let go of changing other people.
You’ll enjoy your ministry more if you aren’t constantly trying to change others. Try it, just this year: accept them as they are.
Instead, focus on yourself, and how you want to be in relation to them. You may find some amazing things happen this year. At the very least, you’ll be less stressed about how others aren’t measuring up to your expectations. You may find that others do change in surprising ways, and you change, too. It’s the paradox of relationships: the more we try to change others, the more they resist. When we let go, there can be room for shifts to happen in the relationship.
Note: you can try this with your family, too.
Third, every day, decide to enjoy your ministry that day.
I’ve been experimenting with this, and I find it sets me up differently for the day. I write down each day, “Have a wonderful day while…(a quick summary of my specific plan).” Monday I was in bed recovering from a fall on Sunday (where thankfully all my bones stayed intact). This had not been not my plan for the day. But I reminded myself through the day that my intention was to have a wonderful day, recovering. My experience of the needed rest was very different than it might have been if I were anxiously thinking about everything I wasn’t getting done.
Some days are harder than others. If you are officiating at a difficult funeral or meeting with a church member who is upset with you, enjoyment may be a tall order. You might decide to have a meaningful day instead. When you decide in advance how you want to respond to the challenges of even a difficult day, you will experience it differently.
Here’s a post on another way to enjoy ministry more: do nothing regularly.