The first was the Academy for Parish Leadership, where Bishop Rodger started us off with a presentation on Servant Leadership. The second was a Boundaries Workshop, where we were urged to take care of ourselves. On the surface, this might seem like a contradiction: how can I insist on taking my day off, if I am trying to be a servant? How can I take care of myself, if I am called to serve others?
It is crucial, I think, that we make a couple of distinctions here.
1) Self-awareness does not equal self-absorption.
2) Self-care does not equal self-indulgence.
3) Finding joy and satisfaction in our work is a wonderful thing…but it is also our work; so we’d better have some other things that give us satisfaction as well, or we will not be able to find rest and renewal on our days off (or ever be able to retire!)
4) Putting others first doesn’t mean that our needs go away; it can mean that they go underground…so we’d better be aware of those needs, and find other ways of getting them met.
5) If I don’t feel like I have a choice then it isn’t servanthood, and it certainly isn’t leadership.
I have been a parish pastor for over 30 years now; I have been a licensed mental health counselor for a considerably shorter time. I would be very happy to continue conversation and dialogue on issues of boundaries, clergy mental health, and working with parishioners who have mental health issues.
I am grateful to our Bishop for making this space available to me, since I do not have a website of my own and blogging is new to me. I can be reached privately by phone or email:
Blessings on your work, your life, and your calling as Lent gives way to Easter and death gives way to life!
Pastor Judy Johnson LMHC, NCC, ACHt