Reflection is good! Three lessons to help us grow and “do chaplaincy” better, albeit foundational reminders are:
1. ASK FOR HELP AND BE THERE FOR OTHERS
Last year, we learned that no one has the emotional strength to avoid the pain of trauma. And the way COVID turned our lives upside down is a trauma. There is no one way or right way for us to struggle, but we need to recognize that we mustn’t, and shouldn’t go through it alone.
Lesson: When we feel stress or strain, tell people. Ask for help. We are better able to cope when we do it in partnership with someone who cares about us. It is just as important to be there to love and support people. Serving others is one of the most inspiring and fulfilling things we can do in our lives. “Jesus came to serve.” (Matt 20:28, Mark 10:45)
2. FEEL IT
Another lesson is that we can have multiple, sometimes conflicting emotions, at the same time. We don’t have to feel guilty about having feelings of hope and optimism when surrounded by sadness.
Lesson: Allow feelings to flow. Don’t edit or judge them…just feel them. “Practice the peace that surpasses all understanding that is in Jesus our Lord” (Phil 4:7)
3. EMBRACE AHEAD AND BEHIND
I look at social media and see people expressing how glad that 2020 is over. But it’s not. Not in the sense of “running the race that God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Yes, we are passing a calendar marker in the race after a particularly gruelling leg, but the race is not over.
Reframing the terms good and bad to the terms ahead and behind is a powerful narrative. To think of 2020 as “bad” and “over” ignores the fact that the impact of things that began or grew in 2020 live on and we will still be dealing with them in 2021. Rather than think of 2020 as a bad year, maybe it is healthier if we agreed that it had more behind days than we would have liked…. and we look forward to having more ahead days. This “mindset” helps us better prepare for what challenges lie ahead and avoid the surprises that throw us off balance. Paul talks about this in Romans in the “renewing of our minds”. Many other scriptures also highlight the importance of protecting our minds. (Proverbs 4:23, John 8:32, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 3:2)
Lesson: Embrace the race set before us.
Go well my chaplain friends 😊
Chaplaincy Coordinator – Prisons
Insideout Prison Chaplaincy