A Better Way To Be Here

Posted: March 6, 2022

It's been about a week since I've been back from a one-week vacation in Arizona. I'll post about that trip later... or at least a photo dump or something. It was so wonderful to be away. I don't think I realized how much I needed to be away until I was finally away.

While in AZ, I chose not to respond to work/church emails unless they were urgent (and none were). It was very freeing. I didn't think that it would be because most weeks I don't think I do all that much... at least that's what I tell myself. But disconnecting and removing myself... even just for a week... from work was something I really needed. There were several messages that came in on Sunday but I was free to say to myself, Someone else has this. I don't need to fix this. I didn't think about what would happen if I didn't respond because I thought, The world will keep spinning. Worst case something will go wrong on Sunday and not be fixed. Not the end of the world. And I let it be.

The bad news is... things did go wrong.

It's not the worst news... honestly wasn't even that bad, but I was bummed that no one addressed the issue that day. Part of me wonders if no one felt responsible to address it. Was it supposed to fall on me? While a part of me is like, Well it's nice to be needed, another part of me is like, I don't want to be needed. I shouldn't be needed here.

I realize that these thoughts are, in some way, an extension of some decisions I've already made this year in scaling back. In particular -- and I shared this with my fellow pastoral staff already -- I decided that I'm no longer pushing for the beautification of our worship as actively as I did before. This means that I'm no longer going to try to deepen the experience of the Table. In our church's practice, it's just not high up there in priority -- at least not a priority for enough leaders to collectively want it; I think we're getting just fine with the way things are.

I'm also not going to try to push the liturgical calendar onto the congregation anymore. For the last several years I've tried to bring the liturgical calendar and the communal practices for formation to the forefront of our church worship. But it's been an uphill battle. Maybe one day it will happen but right now, as it is with the Table, it's not a priority. This doesn't mean our worship service is deficient; many churches (including our own) get by just fine without it. But right now... it's too difficult. I don't think our church is ready for it now. Maybe it won't ever be. But right now I think I need to let this dream go. Maybe it will come back in it's own time. I need to let it go.

So I need to step back.

Instead of driving these initiatives, I realize if they are to ever get to a healthy place in the church, it will have to be a group effort. I've been taking up too much space -- space that more than one person should be filling. Maybe this is my pride expressing itself in thinking I could single-handedly drive something to completion. Or maybe I miscalculated my limits and I'm exhausted but don't know it. But the end result is the same: I need to step back.

So how can I be better present here? I need to give up these things that I want and I need to better listen to what the church wants or needs right now. They don't need my pet projects that no one else is on board with. There are probably real things that I have not noticed because I've had my own plans. I need to reset.