Yesterday I spent an hour on the phone with Whitney. It’s something I’ve done twice monthly for nearly ten years now. Whitney is my coach. And, our work together supports me both professionally and personally. The conversations, practices and exercises we have done together over the course of the last several years have been enormously helpful in my own growth. At the end of our sixty-minute sessions after we’ve summarized our work in that session, Whitney typically asks me, “is there anything else you need to say in order to complete our work together for this session?” My response is usually, “just to express my gratitude for your support! I’ll talk to you in a couple of weeks.” I am a big fan of coaching. And I’m a big fan of therapy, too. Both of those modalities of support are so helpful in my own ongoing development, growth, healing, and each contributes to my own wellbeing and, even, flourishing.
At the beginning of each calendar year, Whitney and I work together to help me set an intention for the new year—similar to a new year’s resolution, but not quite. (If you came into my office this morning and looked at the whiteboard here, you’d see a note to myself in the top right hand corner that reads, “2021—Grounded and Serene.)
My own personal practice of intention setting comes to play professionally every year at this time when we begin our stewardship campaign for the approaching year. I work hard, alongside staff and leadership to pick a “theme,” which is really an intention for the year. And, this year that theme is “at ease.”
Maybe you find it a curious choice given the reality that for so long many of us have been relegated to our homes and our families if we have them, not meeting the typical demands of life that we’ve grown accustomed to, but, rather, adapting to the realities of life during a global pandemic. I would agree that the choice is curious and, maybe, a bit counter-intuitive. As we return to life as we once knew it, many of us are unconsciously picking up a quick pace. However, I believe we might be best supported by slowing down, adopting a more easy-going approach to our return to normal life. I am aware that even as life’s tasks have been less demanding (fewer meetings, less days in the office, more time with family) that the adjustments we’ve been forced to make and the subsequent anxiety of the reality of illness or even its threat has taken an enormous toll on our hearts, our souls.
And, so, I’m asking us to set an intention for our church community for the next year or so of “EASE.”
Let’s adopt a posture of gentleness and kindness toward one another and ourselves. Let’s downgrade from “crisis mode” back to the simple practice of connecting to our own beloved-ness and connecting others to theirs. Let’s resist adopting a break-neck pace. Let’s resist re-adopting a culture of busy-ness and trade it for one of settled ease.