As I transition from a vocation as a parish priest to a very different kind of ministry I have been astounded by the kindness and helpfulness of others. Their words have encouraged and affirmed me, and they have shared ideas and initiated actions to benefit my new venture. All of these individuals are women, and I am blessed and a little overwhelmed by the genuineness of their support. It stands in contrast to too much of my experience serving in the Church, which is often plagued by pettiness toward and criticism of its clergy.
Because there is far too little of it, for clergy in general and
clergy women in particular, today I want to focus on affirming what we
do well. Let’s practice giving ourselves complements,
and—gasp!—accepting them with grace! It may be challenging, but I
promise it won’t hurt.
List five super powers that you use in your vocational life. This
isn’t bragging. It’s naming the light that shines from your lamp stand.
1) Preaching is one area where I get good marks consistently. I am so grateful to partner effectively with the Holy Spirit in this department!
2) Creative marketing: I may not have the most original idea out there, but I have been known to generate new ways of looking at old challenges and respond to them with a twist. After Hurricane Katrina a number of displaced families were settled at a campground not far from the church. I took the "Blessing of the Animals" service to them, and it was an entirely new experience for all of us.
3) Listening is something I do really well. It will be interesting to see how my listening skills adapt as an animal massage practitioner where I use my hands more than my ears.
4) Compassion that cuts through the crap. When someone is hurting, frightened, or sad--I don't care if they're a butt-hole the rest of the week--I care about the human tie that binds. This has helped me learn to love people I don't like.
5) Partly because I have the "efficiency" gene I'm a good facilitator. Not only do I hear between the lines to make sense of conversation and ideas being generated, I keep a group on track. It doesn't hurt that as an INFJ I'm all about possibilities.