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Very early in my ministry I remember reading the book, When I Relax I Feel Guilty. I could certainly relate to the title…then and NOW! But…why is it always so much easier to tell others what they should do (relax, refresh, learn to laugh at ourselves) than it is to take our own advice and practice said truth in our own life? Throughout my ministry I have always struggled with giving myself permission to take time for ME.
Today, let’s agree to let each other learn to relax, refresh and when needed laugh at ourselves. How are we going to do it?
- RELAX – Establish a PLACE for you to be able to “get away” from all of the chaos of life. Many of us would do well to take just a few minutes each day to “take a deep breath, get away from the hustle and bustle of life, and remember from where our joy comes.” In the last few weeks, with my family life’s craziness being added to by two grown daughters and their four kids moving in with us, we have established an “I Need a Little Me Time” spot in our home. We are blessed with an unusually large walk-in closet. We place an oversized chair, small table, lamp and rug inside the closet. We placed the sign “I Need a Little Me Time” bought at a local thrift shop on the door. It’s amazing how just a few minutes in THE CLOSET help me to relax, regroup and emerge with a “second wind.”
- REFRESH – Plan times just for YOU to take care of your temple and fill your mind with new thoughts. Purpose to make wise choices in eating and exercise and consider maybe giving yourself time to read Scripture and some of the newest resources on the market for your career and passion. Make yourself take vacation days. These days will equip you to keep on keeping on with new energy.
- LAUGH AT YOURSELF – Think back over some of your most awkward/comical times in ministry. Laugh at yourself! Learn to enjoy your days in ministry and consider the opportunity to minister to kids and their families as a blessing. Loosen up! Force yourself to spend time with kids in both a structured and non-structured environment. My favorite story to “remember” was a time one evening in 1997 when I locked myself outside of my little apartment during my days of transition to a new job. The kicker: all I had on was a pair of boxer shorts. One comedy led to another during a few hours of trying to get help while being scantily clad! During these moments of snickering and embarrassment, God whispered “Relax! Laugh at yourself. I am still in control and have wonderful plans for your life.”
Commit to trying this formula TODAY: 1. Relax; 2. Refresh; 3. Laugh at yourself!
There was a time when it was taken for granted that the “moms and dads” or “significant care givers” of preschoolers and children in our churches were young adults. At the max, these folks were in their early forties. Not so anymore. It is becoming more and more usual that many grandparents are taking part in the rearing of their “kids’ kids.”
There was also a time in my own ministry as a children’s minister when I was guilty of possibly judging those families and making unfair observations about the parents of those kids. Trust me…that is no longer the case!
My wife and I are currently experiencing both of our daughters moving back in with us for a period of time. With each daughter has come two children…a total of four grandkids. Contrary to what some might think or presume, both of my daughter are excellent moms. They each just happen to be in a season of life where they need family support. One daughter is separated from her husband. The other’s husband is in military training and facing deployment.
Please understand…we are not the sole providers and guides for these four grandchildren. Their moms do a great job of meeting their daily needs; however, they all live in our home, go to the same church and are involved in activities in our immediate community. We have the joy of being “very close” to them and being an integral part of their lives. We are blessed to have this opportunity.
But, in the midst of these blessings, comes responsibility and “fatigue.” (I don’t know how Abraham and Sarah did it at their ripe old ages!) Regardless of the circumstances in which grandparents find themselves making investments in the lives of their grandkids’ formative years, the church would be wise to take these “mature in years” parents into consideration and provide some support. “How?” you may ask. Well, I’ve been thinking…
- What about establishing a support groups for grandparents who are helping to raise their grandkids? There are times when it is helpful just to network with others who are in a similar situation. NO “pity parties” allowed…just a time of sharing and learning.
- Maybe provide resources to help keep grandparents in touch with the current world in which kids are growing up. The old saying “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” is so very true. Kids’ needs remain the same, but, the world and culture in which they live is dramatically different. Even a class on becoming more “technologically savvy” would be helpful!
- Plan and make available a “grandparents” night out! Everyone needs a respite from time to time. What a message to send to grandparents…”As a church family we love you and want to walk along side of you on your journey.”
- Include grandparents in training sessions on “Guiding Behavior” and “Leading a Child to Christ.”
- Purpose to place the names of grandparents who are helping to nurture and guide grandkids “in the way they should go” in your prayer room/prayer ministry. Make sure that these folks get some type of human touch…notes of encouragement and reminders of the importance of what they are attempting to do (with God’s help!)
Well, I’m still thinking…but right now I need to pick up a grandson at baseball practice, go to a cheerleading competition for a granddaughter, help a granddaughter bake brownies, not to mention spending some “one on one” time with a granddaughter who is prone to having “total come-aparts!” Did I tell you how much I love each of these and all 12 of my grandchildren!!!