This is the third in a special series on renewal leave by guest blogger Rev. Dianne Lawhorn. Read the first and second installments.
Guidelines for selecting helping professionals during a renewal leave:
Spiritual Direction– This form of support is helpful if your need is to work on your relationship with God. If you are feeling the desire for a more rich spiritual experience, a spiritual director can provide guidance in developing practices that will help you connect with God at a deeper level. A spiritual director can also help you to notice where God is at work in your life and discern what response might be called for. A Spiritual Director can provide a prayerful, companioning presence for this time in your life.
Counseling– This form of support is helpful if your need is for healing. If you recognize disappointment, disillusionment, or despair in your life, a counselor can help. Counseling is useful in uncovering what’s going on with you emotionally so that you might seek the healing you need. A counselor can also help you cope with situations and relationships that are causing you discomfort, allowing you to recognize and honor what you are feeling.
Coaching- This form of support is helpful if your need is to make an assessment of your current situation and to develop a plan of action for moving forward. Coaches can help you assess your strengths, growth edges, and vital needs. They can help you discover new possibilities for creating the life that you want. They are equipped to assist you with your plan for development and can provide accountability as you move forward.
A final step might be to think about how you want to continue in ministry. It would be good to think about what aspects of this leave time you can incorporate into your regular life. Deciding what rhythms you will keep from this valuable time away will be essential to sustaining the renewal you’ve experienced. It is important to think about how you are going to create space in your life to nurture that which contributes to your health and well-being.
Hopefully, your renewal leave will uncover some areas where you would like to pursue a greater degree of health. It’s important to remember that in order for us to become healthier, we must embrace a new way of being and a new way of doing ministry that is life-giving to us. We must then walk forward into this new way, having been equipped with tools for a better way of doing life and ministry.
We all need accountability to make change a reality in our lives. Maybe it’s time to think about how you can create that accountability for yourself. Do you need to connect with a spiritual friend or ministry colleague on a regular basis to help you implement this new way of life? Perhaps you could create a support group of others who join together in sustaining this important life change? Hopefully, this support will sustain you for years to come, making life-long transformational ministry a reality!
Dianne Lawhorn is the Minister of Spiritual Formation for the Lydia Group which is a resource for spiritual wholeness offering formational teaching, retreat leadership, and spiritual direction.