For months I’ve been trying to work out how I’m feeling. Trying to rationalise and reflect on how I’m coping with ministry in the pandemic. I’ve read lots of opinion pieces and comments on social media, talking about everything from fight or flight to living in crisis mode, from increased anxiety, to post adrenaline fatigue, I mean everyone’s got a theory to explain why we’re all knackered. It all made sense and yet it didn’t. So here’s my take, bit more off the wall, but you know if it strikes a chord…
I just feel like someone’s licked all the chocolate off my biscuit.
You know, the biscuit is still good and all, but the thing holding it all together, the really joyful part is gone. And I’m here looking at this denuded biscuit, sighing, with a tinge of sadness, still seeing the good in the biscuit, but longing for a chocolate covered one.
Now I know, because I’ve been telling people left right and centre, that it’s ok to feel low or to be struggling at the mo, because WE’RE LIVING IN A FREAKING PANDEMIC. That is all the excuse we need right now. But still I’ve been trying to work out in my head what’s going on for me. Of course I am: tired, overwhelmed at times, adding endlessly to the to-do-list, I am supporting those in need, trying to rethink how we do church, attempting to keep up with the ever changing guidelines, trying not to lose my sh*t at the state of the government and other – who shall remain nameless – world leaders, I have had the entire family at home for months on end (praise the Lord I did not have to homeschool), am trying to keep my kids sane and not become recluses, trying not to lose my sh*t with people on Twitter being d*cks, especially the Christian d*cks, and I am listening patiently to conspiracy theories without smirking, to list just a few things. BUT it’s more than that and I just could not get my head around it, until today, today I think I finally got to the core of it.
Many moons ago I sensed God talking to me about who I am, who I am made to be, and the essence of my being reflecting the creator, in creativity. I’ve always been arty so no surprise there but no, God meant it in such a deep way, in the way I think, plan and strategise, in the way I organise pretty much everything in my life. Without getting all super spiritual it was rather a profound moment and has stuck with me. What I realised today is that that creativity is lacking from my life right now.
There is no room in my mind to plan, to dream, to get excited about new things; there is no enthusiasm for strategising or spending time praying and asking God where we might be going or what is next; I have not been able to write. In short, my capacity for creativity is at an all time low. There’s no chocolate on my darned biscuit.
There is no room for any of this because the amount of my brain that is needed just to get through each day of ministry in this season is already in the red zone. There is simply no capacity to create. It’s not even about time, actually I’ve got very good at saying no, at recognising that in this season a lot of stuff just is not going to get prioritised, and I’ve been taking plenty of time out to rest (if you follow me on Insta you’ll have seen the endless SUP posts!), it’s more about brain space, or lack of it, if that’s a thing!?
Now before anyone sends me concerned messages, it’s ok, I’m ok. Honestly, I was not ok for a while in the middle of all this craziness we’re living in, but I’m doing ok now I’m just outwardly processing with y’all.
My spiritual director, who is inordinately wise, once talked to me about the things that energise us and the things that drain us. For me, it is the creating that energises me, no matter what it looks like – it could be planning a new service or project but it could equally be throwing paint on a canvas or decorating the lounge. Creating makes me sing, it makes me buzz, I flourish when I am creating.
So I know that actually I need to find some space for this, not as yet another thing on the list or to beat myself up that I haven’t done, but because I know that actually it will enable and revitalise me in everything other part of my life.
My revelation today has made me wonder how many of us are feeling like our identity is being robbed away a little bit? How many ministers are overloaded with the stuff that just needs to happen at the expense of themselves? So if you’re feeling a bit like me, a naked Tim Tam or an unwrapped Penguin, why not ask yourself right now, where’s the chocolate on your biscuit? What makes you sing? What energises you? and where are you going to find it in your life at the moment?