Pearls for the Journey: Pay Attention, Be You
By Rev. Justo González, II*
I kept seeing announcements for the Pension Boards-United Church of Christ CREDO (PBUCC CREDO) Seminar, but I didn't pay any attention. I assumed the process would be bureaucratic and require a lot of writing. When I finally stopped to look at the materials, I realized, "Wait I need this!" I needed time to look inward and to examine my spiritual, emotional, physical health, vocational call, and financial wellness.
PBUCC CREDO blessed me with that time to focus on me - to be honest with myself and explore how to bring balance into my unbalanced life. What I didn't realize was that it would bring forth issues that I thought I had dealt with from the past. I had made some progress, but honestly the pains of my soul returned. Stuffing things in the closet really isn't dealing with things.
No need for facades
My home life was suffering because I was working too many hours at home. That is not good. PBUCC CREDO gave me a safe and sacred space to be me. No need for facades, “Tough guy, keep it all in, don't let them see you sweat.” I could simply bring me and have a facility that championed me to do the work I needed to do.
The Seminar gave me permission to play again. Now, I am working on rearranging my schedule to bring balance into my life and to make sure that my schedule reflects my passions and core values. I have joined a health group with other men who are willing to support me in working out and lifting weights (I miss that). I also found an IMPROV Comedy Club near my home where I enjoy acting out improv scenes. I am actively managing my life in ways that honor my work, family, play, emotional and physical well-being. I also have more clarity about my vocational call and how everything is interconnected.
As clergy, we are often tired, feel alone, and are uncertain about our futures. We carry pain. We've have been taught to keep it inside or that we shouldn't share with others because it could be used against us. Maybe that's what I've been taught. Yet, if we are out of balance, unaware, or not motivated to make changes we ignore these at our own peril. If we are to thrive rather than simply survive, we must pay attention to wellness and the various interconnected parts that impact our personal and ministerial lives.
Finding God in the bark of trees
During PBUCC CREDO, I found God in the bark of the trees. The bark of a tree protects the tree, yet it also reveals something about us. It shows age, pain, rawness, and invites us to look openly and honestly at our lives. God helped me realize that the bark reflects my exterior and protects my interior. I could look at aspects of my life that I wanted to keep behind the bark. When I allow my joys and pains to come forward, I could uplift the beauty of who I am, while taking notice of the areas that still need to shift. The bark allows me to see my joy and release my pain.
PBUCC CREDO is an incredible opportunity to look at your life and ministry. Come as you are with your joys and pain. You will be gifted with an incredible faculty that will support you and champion you into becoming your true authentic self. There is no judgement, but rather a profound respect and honoring of you in your process.
About PBUCC CREDO
PBUCC CREDO is a holistic wellness benefit that offers clergy space and resources to examine significant areas of their lives and discern prayerfully the future direction of their vocation as they respond to God’s call in a lifelong process of practice and transformation.
The CREDO experience is anchored in a week-long Seminar and includes a pre-Seminar assessment and post-Seminar resources so that participants can deepen their commitment to lifelong wellness. Learn more about this program here http://bit.ly/PB_CREDO.
*The Rev. Justo González, II, is Pastor of Ministerios Ríos de Agua Viva/Joy Like a River United Church of Christ in Grand Rapids, Michigan.