Sunday, March 14, 2010
Forget MasterCard, affirmation is priceless
Why do we [I] seem to think we [I] must do everything ourselves [myself]?
I am getting the ask-God part better than I have, but I still need practice at enlisting the help of others.
Yesterday at a semi-regular retreat I expressed a need to unload myself of creative energy/ministry. I have written about that before. But in that conversation, someone gently reminded me that we're not supposed to do it alone ... that we should ask.
I didn't know how soon that advice would take root. At the same retreat, I mentioned to another person a Quaker writing-as-ministry conference with blogging as a topic and how appropriate that seemed. She agreed and was encouraging.
This morning, I checked the writing retreat deadlines: THIS WEEK. Yikes, I thought.
And then a thought/voice/Spirit/leading – whatever you choose to call it – began working on me. Even though I have not yet had a clearness committee for ministry, and, normally financial questions are addressed after that, I needed to ask my faith community to send me.
Oh, wonderful, I thought. I have to stumble around and ask for money ... my least favorite thing to do. But it sure wouldn't leave me. I raced around and checked a few things, tossed my manuscripts and a few pieces of artwork in my canvas bag and headed out. First to teach first-day (Sunday) school, then to stand at the meeting for worship with attention to business and make my request.
I was prayerfully agitated, but knew it was my task. I did, however, refrain from letting my inner critic recite all of the reasons I am not worthy of asking. That's pretty big.
The time came and I rose and it just poured out. Maybe too much, maybe not enough. Maybe just the right amount. I knew I'd burst if I didn't, at least, make this attempt. I even shared a poem and accompanying art, thinking some people have no idea what I've been working on and it's only fair to share. So I stumbled through that and some thoughtful questions and concerns about why this conference was right, what I'd get from it and how the meeting could support me since I was outside of the new and carefully crafted ministry process.
And the answer came: "Use the emergency fund; this sounds like an emergency." I was gleefully flabbergasted and so grateful to the friend who made the suggestion.
It really was an emergency. I had felt such urgency and have for weeks. And that was recognized as well as my ministry, my need to spiritually and creatively connect and be nurtured.
I have such gratitude and hope and faith and renewed confidence and a bazillion other things from the group of 20 or so who now know me better, listened, cared and trusted. Now that's priceless.
• When was the last time I really asked for what I needed?
• What's it like when I don't shoulder things alone?
• What's it felt like when my community has supported me?
• How has that drawn me closer – to those people? To God?
• Does it enable me to listen more carefully to my neighbor's request?
a swirling energy
about to make me burst
I think it's mine alone
because I am unsure
that anyone else feels it,
is aware of it
it drives me
drives me crazy
to the point
I am forced to
share and ask
to be unburdened
and I am so
with such love
to know that
kind of community