I am in the process of completing an assignment for school. It is supposed to be titled "Rule of Life for Pastoral Care to the Pastor". Basically, it is taking care of myself. In reading, Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World, she talks about having something that you love doing outside of the church. Not in the recreation department, but an unpaid job.
I've thought and thought about what I would like to do as a volunteer that is not related to being a pastor. I thought about counseling at a local domestic violence shelter or volunteering at a local library----helping women and books, but those are related in a way to my tasks as a pastor. The more I consider what I truly love besides God and church, it becomes clear--Dogs. I love dogs.
Unfortunately, she also talks about the ability to say "No". I am so overwhelmed at times that I want to grab anything that is made out of paper in my house and have a gigantic bonfire. I feel like I'm being smothered by paper. Not just the books that dominate most of my life, but the hoards and hoards of mail, papers, magazines, my crap, Ryssa's crap. I'm sure that as soon as a throw a piece of paper away, I will need it. (I did do some cleaning yesterday and feel a little better today.)
So the problem with having an unpaid, non-church related job will have to wait until I finish school. I have just been approved for Candidacy status for my doctoral project. It took several (several) re-writes for my project narrative to be approved. I was beginning to think I wasn't going to make it, but it turns out that I was the test case for the new, improved doctoral program (fun). My papers will be the format for all the following D.Min. students. So they were looking for perfection, which as many of you can attest to, I am so not perfect.
Back to the Rule of Life, it is a work in progress and an evolving tapestry of wants and needs.