Healthy Practices for Pastoral Leaders

To be in ministry for the long haul, I’m learning that it requires some support, vulnerability, and deep devotion to Jesus for sustaining faithfulness.  Rich Nathan (pastor of 30+ years) lists some great practices.  Check out the source page for more details on each practice.

Source:  

#1 Build a rock-solid daily personal devotional life with God.
#2 Choose a prayer partner, who is a peer and with whom you can be utterly transparent
#3 If you are married, schedule a weekly date night with your spouse.
#4 Get financial counseling from a professional financial counselor.
#5 Ruthlessly avoid all compromising situations with the opposite sex.
#6 Take care of yourself physically.
#7 Do not confuse knowledge or skills or giftedness for spiritual maturity.
#8 If you are married, take a great marriage inventory with your spouse and have a professional marriage counselor discuss the results with you.
#9 Join a small group (and if married, join with your spouse).
#10 Cultivate the fear of the Lord and a fear of sin.

The 5-7 minute rule of talking about work with your spouse

The 5-7 minute rule of talking about work with your spouse:

In countless counseling sessions, I’ve heard partners share their struggles with the “work conversations” when getting home after a long day. In the workplace setting, there are conflicts, crises, and criticism which takes an emotional toll.

Naturally, a spouse might want to share their work struggles with the partner because they have a safe marriage. But the problem is that the spouse hearing the lament is powerless to do anything about it. He or she can’t help with the issues and there can only be so much “listening” and “empathy” one can give. And usually, the listener doesn’t have an outlet to share the burden or pain.

All marriage partners need allies–friends, peers, support groups–to confide in so that the marriage doesn’t become the only place to share work struggles.

We’ve tried to have a 5-7 minute “talk about work” rule in our home in order to keep it minimal. Typically, the conversation might happen while we’re making dinner together and then there’s a transition of “Enough about my work…how was your day?”

We want to be a safe space for each other and not burden the other with work issues. Instead, focus on decompressing, having some confidants (preferably a therapist, coach, pastor, or trusted friend) to talk with, and using the evening to fill each other’s love tank.

Playground Story on Patience

There’s a story of three parents at a playground watching their kids and how they each respond (or react) when their kids slip or fall.

Hearing that their child slipped and fell, the first parent runs frantically to see the child.  In panic mode, the parent smothers the child and takes them away from the playground.

The second parent hears the cry of the child and doesn’t move from the bench.  They’re too preoccupied and comes across cold and distant.  The child is left to comfort themselves.

The third parent calmly goes to assist the child and asks in a warm tone, “Sweety, what happened?  Let’s see where it hurts.”  She holds him for a few minutes and then says, “Are you ready to go back out and play?”  The child looks up, nods his head, and runs back out to play.

I’ve thought about this as a parent, but also when I have tough and hard times in my life.  James, one of the early church pastors and fathers, says that when we experience hardship, we are to be like the third parent who turns to Our Heavenly Father for comfort, patience, and wisdom.  We pray for the gift of faith to see how God might be with us, instructing, guiding, and providing.  Like the third parent, God also is compassionate and patient with us.

When hardships come, we can panic, shut down, turn a problem into a crisis, or remain patient as we seek wisdom.  I’ve chosen all of the above.  My prayer has been that as I get older, I remain calm and patient through the storm.  I pray, talk to Christina, seek out trusted friends, and ask for support.  Doing life with a spiritual community of support has been a huge advantage in life.

St. James invites us to be people of faith:  look up to Our Heavenly Father and look away from self (which tends to over-react, shut down, or make mountains).  As look up, may God grant wisdom and patience in abundance.

#LilacFire Update and Coping with Crisis

Lilac Fires 2017

Hoehn Community:

Yesterday Bonsall, Fallbrook, Oceanside, Pala, and Murrietta were affected by the #LilacFire.  Many of our employees live in mandatory or voluntary evacuation areas.  Some have evacuated and are staying with friends or family members, where they are safe.  Others are staying home, hoping the fires are contained and don’t spread.  To my knowledge, none of our employees have lost their homes.

*The fire is currently at 4100 acres and has not spread since last night.  The biggest concerns are strong winds heading west (towards the ocean) and dry conditions.

*Many first responders and news outlets are urging people to evacuate if they feel like they are in harm’s way.  Safety is of first priority.

Below are some helpful tips for crisis planning and crisis support.  

Please let me know if there are any employees who are in need of follow-up care and support.  I have already seen how Hoehn Employees are reaching out to one another with encouragement and support.  Keep it up!  You’re shining bright.

Peace,

Chaplain Roy

———-

*The following has been helpful for those in evacuation areas:

  • Pack some clothing for a few days
  • Pack a sleeping bag/blankets/pillows
  • Make sure you have your important documents (especially passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, insurance information)
  • Take pictures of your belongings
  • Make sure your gas tank is full
  • Have cash on hand
  • Pack your chargers for phones/laptops to stay connected when possible for latest updates
  • Make sure you have your prescribed medications on hand
  • Reach out to friends and family for a place to stay and for support

During a Natural Disaster Crisis

Upon hearing the initial news, it is normal to feel disoriented, confused, or intense emotions (i.e. sad, irritated, fearful, anxious) and things may seem unclear.  It is very important to have a plan of safety during this time so that you can make the best decisions possible.  Remember that safety is key.

A Few Coping Tips

  • Plan:  Stay focused on the present and what is being asked of you.  In my case, our family is in the evacuation warning area.  Our cars are packed with the above items and some other personal belongings.  We have a few places to retreat to if needed. We are also following live updates on social media (see below for resources)
  • Normalize:  It is normal to feel a sense of loss, even though they might have lost their home.  Being displaced from your home and your regular routine can cause a sense of loss and people will fill a bit “off”.  That is normal.  We can help by staying focused on the present and safety as the primary goal.
  • Encourage:  Communicate encouragement, empowerment, and build confidence in those who are experiencing crisis.
  • Community Support:  Reach out to your community of support (family, friends, religious community).
  • Pray with another and for the first responders.
  • Reassurance:  Be reassured that what you’re feeling is normal and that you will be able to work through the situation.
  • Educate yourself with the latest updates on the status of the fires
  • Awareness:  Be aware of how and your family members are feeling in order to normalize what is happening.  (Example:  Last night, my son’s were nervous.  We reassured them that we had a plan if we needed to evacuate.  We gave them a hug and kiss good night and they fell asleep).
  • Take breaks from the news:  Make some time to be with your friends and family and take breaks from keeping track of the fires.  Hug your kids.  Grab a cup of coffee.  Have lunch or dinner with friends.  This will take a few weeks to subside.

Helpful Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/sandiegocounty/

https://twitter.com/CALFIRESANDIEGO

 

 

Peace,

Roy Inzunza