Another recipient of care from eleven:28 ministries shares their experience…
When I found eleven:28 ministries, I was just beginning ministry in an official capacity after an 18 year meandering journey. I felt the need to make up for lost time and found myself working in overdrive. After all, I loved what I was doing and I had waited so long to do it! After a year of spiritual direction and mentoring group, I am so grateful to have taken a proactive approach to caring for my own spiritual health. Ministry is wonderful and beautiful, but draining and exhausting. It is very easy to miss out on regular doses of spiritual nourishment while trying to nourish others. The proactive pre-scheduled monthly dates for mentoring and spiritual direction were like a Flintstone vitamin to my soul!
I am learning that the church will continue to let me give, even if it becomes detrimental to me. They don’t do this maliciously; they just don’t know my breaking point. I am also learning that even wonderful things can be exhausting and stressful.
I found out so much out about myself during the spiritual direction process. I began to see who I am in God, not who I wish I were. Many of my character traits are frustrating to me. In fact, I find myself embarrassed by my self-concerned nature. I am an achiever, a people-pleaser.
This can really begin to distort my ministry approach. I can begin to make everything about me. Did I achieve my goal? Were people happy with me? That model is draining and destructive. When I look at ministry through the lens of making space for the Holy Spirit to direct the path, He is the one who makes the path—not me. Then I can be who I am in God and use those gifts for His glory instead of my own.
I am also grateful to be reminded each month that I am doing good work. I am my own worst critic and many times, if the results aren’t what I had hoped for, I feel as though I failed. When I look at myself and ministry through the lens of who I am in God, I am reminded that “God is in all things and all choices, seeking to draw the more life-giving outcome from all we do.” Seeking out this perspective of who I am in God then allows me to find familiarity there and I find myself more often making the choice to live there, vulnerably, before others. The authentic me has the chance to be known, loved, and appreciated for who I truly am, not who I think others want me to be.
As I began to comprehend this for myself, I began to look at ways I could integrate this into ministry to families and children. We decided to select a new curriculum, one that made space for children to acknowledge the Holy Spirit at work within them. It also has a Blessing component that allows for the small group leader to speak a blessing over each child every week. This has become such a special time for the teachers and children.
I am so thankful for the life giving opportunity to experience spiritual formation from eleven:28 and compelled to pass it along to those I serve. –Summer Morris serves as the Minister to Children and Families at North Davis Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas. She is also a new board member for eleven:28 ministries.