Friday, 6 June 2008

Presbyterianism has been good for my health

A couple of days ago, in our pastoral care group at the Presy college, we did an exercises to see how much under stress we're under, and how close to burnout we are. My results: although I was supposedly under a lot of stress, due to significant lifestyle changes - new place to live; new work routine; new study routine - I'm not under any danger of burnout. In fact, I realised that so far this year, I've been healthier than any other time since leaving Uni in 1999 (constant minor sickness indicates significant stress; overall good health indicates absence of stress). The reasons are probably:
1. Living in Croydon, with the family from St David's church, is a healthier environment than Newtown. Newtown was musty & dusty; Croydon is clean & cozy. And that makes me happy.
2. Although on paper, I have a lot of responsibilities at St David's church, people's expectations of me are reasonable, and they appreciate what I do. So I feel supported & appreciated - and that makes me happy.
3. I feel comfortable and accepted - not just as "the minister", but just as myself - by people at both St David's and SBM. And that makes me happy.
4. All these years of ministry training are bearing fruit: I feel competent to preach weekly, and attend to pastoral issues, and generally get on with ministry. It's not that I depend on God less - still need to pray! - it's just that the activities of ministry aren't scary, alien, or overwhelming. It feels natural, I feel "at home". And that makes me happy.
See? Presbyterianism has been good for my health...

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