monday morning ministry


These are not my children. I borrowed them.

They’ve been seconded for an important Monday morning ministry that required availability in two categories. The first – that they needed to be somewhere at a specific time prior to 9am on Monday morning – in their case, school at 8:20am. Done. The second – they needed to be up for an early morning conversation – not a difficult task for this 15 year old deep-thinker, 14 year old sanguine and 11 year old lover-of-a-good-story. Done.

The ministry requirement is this – to help me fight a debilitating case of Mondayitis.

Although Sundays are my favourite days, they are also my longest and most physically exhausting. The love tank is full but the physical energy is depleted. Then comes Monday morning and we have our review and planning meetings – where I’m called on to bring the creativity, energy and lateral thinking. But more consistently, all I’m really able to bring is the coffee.

After a few challenging meetings, some disappointments in my own attitude and contributions, and just knowing that things were not functioning as positively or helpfully as they could, I was talking it through with a mentor. She encouraged me to consider ways to get myself in a better frame of mind and readiness for the start of the day and week.

Enter this fabulous trio.

The need to have them at school means I arrive at work 40 minutes before my first meeting – rather than 1 minute before (or after!) it starts. I have time to get a few emails processed, sort through things left on my desk and say hello to a few other people in the office. I’m more relaxed, switched on and ready to engage a better version of me.

As an externally processing extrovert, people interaction is what kick starts my engine – especially when I’m weary. Arriving at morning meetings having not actually used my voice let alone had a laugh or shared a moment of human interaction is not a great way to start. These kids ensure many laughs and a whole lot of random chats in the brief trip to the school car park.

And as an added bonus this team has totally adopted their ministry role in my life. If you ask them why I take them to school on Monday mornings they’ll tell you that they help to get my day started well and make me work better. As they get out of the car they’ll often check to see if they’ve made me laugh enough or told enough random stories. Bless them.

Some encouragements for you. Have you reflected on your own responses and best practices to be able to set yourself up to win? Who can you recruit to help you achieve that? And what might your ‘Monday morning ministry’ be? Who could you bless with some practical or emotional support? 

 

becoming more patient | #2 wisdom over reaction


Are you a reactor?

Maybe it’s better if we talk about someone else … do you know people who are reactors? Those with a short fuse. Easily frustrated. Quick to snap and lash out verbally or demonstrate aggressively.

In the quest to become more patient, we have to acknowledge that impatience is about reactivity. It’s having a low tolerance while waiting for things to happen as we are hoping or anticipating, or in the time frame we’d prefer, and dealing with the shortfall inappropriately.

In the previous post becoming more patient | #1 a big picture perspective  we noted that waiting isn’t patience, how you wait is. Patience is about our capacity to not become annoyed or anxious while we wait or experience problems.

Much of that annoyance or anxiety can be kerbed when we move more in wisdom than reaction.

Wisdom tells us that the trip to work is always a little busier at school times and so we should allow ourselves a few extra minutes – rather than getting frustrated by the crazy school drop off parents (and aren’t they crazy?!) that slow down our trip.

Wisdom tells us that kids need advanced notice to wind up an activity, prepare for departure or make a transition between tasks. Rather than calling ‘we’re leaving now!’ and then rapidly growing frustrated as the time tension gets greater.

Wisdom tells us that when we are tired, hormonal or under pressure we are less emotionally sober – perhaps now is not the time for that d&m or to process a significant decision.

Wisdom tells us that our sister/uncle/cousin/sibling/friend is going to do/say/be what they always do/say/be and to make a preemptive decision about how we will respond or short circuit it. Rather than being inflamed (…again!)

Wisdom sees us know our own limitations and triggers and grow in our understanding of others’. Wisdom helps us avoid circumstances that will fuel frustration or anxiety. Wisdom plans ahead for the times that are predictably tense and makes rational decisions about the attitude and posture we’ll carry.

Wisdom also reminds us to be more tolerant of others because of how others are tolerant of us. It recalls for us the times when people allowed us to fail and try again. When people were gentle with us as we developed new or better skills, understanding and competency. When people waited for us because we forgot something or were running late. When other’s repeated something we hadn’t heard or re-explained something we hadn’t understood.  Wisdom reminds us that we’re all in need of the patience of others at different times.

What wisdom have you developed that has kerbed your impatience? What circumstances would you be able to predict a tension that would require patience in order to prepare rather than react?

Read more

Part 1 – a big picture perspective

Part 3 – being others focussed

joining the fight for justice

If just one aspect of my life was changed …
If I was born somewhere different 

Like in one of the world’s developing nations instead of the affluence of Australia. 

If I lived somewhere different

Like in one of the nations where women are culturally oppressed, abused, discriminated against and treated as second class humans instead of one founded on the Christian principles of equality, respect and the basic acknowledgement of a human’s innate worth regardless of gender. 


If I was less educated

If I grew up in one of the African countries where more than 70% of school aged girls are denied access to education. Or if I was one of the women making up 2/3 of the world’s 774 million illiterate people. Instead of having access to quality free education and then completing multiple tertiary qualifications. 

(For more info read – Unesco factsheet on girls and education)

If I had a different family 
Like some families in Cambodia who sell their pre-teen daughter’s virginity to pay off their own debt. Or families who give their young daughters into forced marriages to buy their way into higher society. Rather than the family that nurtured and protected me and supported me in all aspects of my education and development. 

If I was poor

Like more than a billion people live on less than $2 a day – the World Bank’s definition of poverty. Rather than finding myself in the top 4% of the world’s richest people with all the privilege, opportunity and comfort that affords. 
Just change one of those factors and my life story could be entirely different. 

Today more than 27 million people are in slavery. Trading in people is one of the world’s richest industries behind the trafficking of drugs and weapons. 

People.

People are being sold, used, abused, and stripped of dignity. People – actual human beings – are being told and shown that their value is in what they can be exchanged for. That they’re a commodity. That their worth can be measured in dollars, in sexual favours; in their productivity in a factory. 

If you change just one aspect of my own life that could be me. 

Decisions made for me, good fortune, cultural factors, and opportunity have meant I have never been at risk of such exploitation. But I am no more deserving of such privilege than any one of the millions who are enslaved and suffering right now. 

I can’t do everything but I can do something. I can’t help everyone but I can make it possible for some to be helped.

Right now for me that takes the form of participating in Dressember. An advocacy campaign that raises awareness and funds by encouraging women to wear only dresses for the month of December and inviting sponsors to make donations. 

In this way the dress becomes the uniform of the advocate and as we exercise our freedom to enjoy our femininity we draw attention to the plight of those who are oppressed because of their gender. 

Donate here – https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraiser/836502

Join the fight for justice. 

happy birthday, book

  
One year ago this God-dream was finally birthed (the “finally” was about me finally cooperating more than any delay on God’s part)!

This book has made it into the hands – and its message into the hearts – of Singles, marrieds, leaders, parents, mentors, friends, Pastors and interested persons across the country and the world. 

My greatest hope has always been that it would encourage a conversation and spur people on to deeper understanding of the unique needs of Singles and grow us all in the greater cause of embracing and connecting with one another. 

I have been continually encouraged by the feedback I’ve received, the opportunities it has facilitated and the people who have shared their stories with me in return. 

What a year it has been! It’s so great to pause and reflect on all that has passed. But it’s not done yet, I’m sure. 

Every good birthday needs presents – so here’s mine to you. For the next 7 days postage is FREE!! That’s right, FREE! So if you haven’t got your own copy yet or had been thinking to send one as a gift now is the perfect time. Simply go to THIS PAGE and choose the “collection” PayPal option. (Ends midnight Mar 27)

Even though this book was finalised in print, the story is still being written. Thanks for being part of it!!!