by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)
A classic devotional by Frances Roberts is entitled Come Away, My Beloved. It’s the invitation to take time away to grow in intimacy with God. We read the gospels and see that Jesus regularly took time away from the crowds and even his closest friends to spend time in prayer with the One he called Abba. Ministering people need time set aside for renewal, quiet and refreshment. Thursday, April 20, whether or not your pastor, chaplain, or other leader has ever been to a Kansas Leadership Center training, he or she is invited to a catered lunch, discussion about self care (a KLC competency), and a mini, self-guided retreat that afternoon at the lovely Dyck Arboretum Pavilion and grounds. (Read more about this opportunity in a separate announcement.)
Camp Mennoscah also offers one retreat a year for pastors (donations welcome). Olivia Bartel would be happy to schedule a day of self care just for you.
A spiritual retreat is a wonderful way to take care of yourself and ask God to nurture your spirit. There are other ways to recognize God around us and within us. In our culture of over-commitment, we need to find space to let our minds and our feet wander to be renewed. Not everything we do has to amount to anything. It can simply be time to “be,” then God has space to work within us. Read a good book, drink a cup of tea, or go for a quiet walk. For introverts, time apart is particularly important. Extroverted self-care might include a game of pick-up basketball or Ultimate Frisbee with friends or an evening of good food and conversation. Try something creative: sew or paint or get out the router and make something out of wood. Pet your cat, play with your dog or take a horseback ride. Thank God for all creatures. Call a friend you haven’t talked with in a while. Write a letter or email and tell the person why she or he is dear to you. Plant a small garden. Try something new you’ve always wanted to do. Fix a favorite food or go out to a restaurant you love. Do something you love.
Self care is about taking time to care for yourself, and often along the way, you have created the space to recognize that God is right there with you loving you and helping you to do the same for yourself.