Weight of the World
Do you sometimes feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, almost literally? There's this heaviness in your chest and your thoughts are constantly racing? You want to do so much and help so many people, but have no clue where to begin?
Firstly, congratulations! You're amazing. Everyone doesn't have a calling of servant leadership like the one you're experiencing at this present stage in your life. But what to do with it?
I've been there before. Yes, right where you are, in your very shoes. I've gotten to the point where I was so overwhelmed with finding my place in this world that I backed away from everything. I kept thinking, "I have no idea where to start so I'm just not going to."
If if that's the head space that you're in then here are a few strategies that helped renew my energy and get back on track with finding my purpose.
Volunteer/go places on your own.
Attending service projects or activities in groups is a great idea. It fosters a wonderful spirit of comradery and strengthens relationships. However, I have to say the most memorable experiences for me came from going to a service event where I didn't know anyone. Or venturing out to an event or activity by myself. It was a bit uncomfortable at times (all the time). Although, people still don't believe I'm an introvert, it's true! In short, introverts can be very open and friendly. We just have to reboot after prolonged social interactions where as extroverts are energized by them. But back on topic...
When you meet new people you're introducing yourself to a new part of you. How you interact with individuals can vary drastically depending on the area of your life they function in. Whether at your job, in church or just in your circle of friends, seek to build new connections and expand your network. You never know what opportunities they might bring.
Which leads into the next suggestion...
Connect with someone new in a meaningful way.
In order to figure out your passion, you have to be open. It's okay if you haven't known since you were three what you wanted to do with your life. Talk to new people and learn about what they're driven by and why.
Professionally, I work at a pretty amazing place with pretty amazing folks. Pretty amazing, right? At work, I try to schedule at least 3 meetings a month with people who operate in a different role than I do. When we meet, we talk about work, but mostly about what led them to their current position and how long they want to stay in that role (if they even want to leave). Focusing on the 'why' over the 'what' has helped narrow down how it will feel when I land where I belong.
This applies to personal and spiritual purpose too! Talk to other passionate ministers and couples to learn what keeps them dedicated. And by 'minister,' I'm not referring solely to the formal title of the ordained, but anyone who works diligently in any capacity at your church. Make a list of what overlaps in all of their experiences and look for those type of reactions in your life as confirmation.
It's okay if you change your mind.
Maybe you were pushed in a lot of different directions and were still left feeling like there had to be more. Those experiences you had were great (even if they were bad) because although you might not have necessarily enjoyed them, you learned from them. It's still just as importance to figure out what you're not interested in as what you are. If your efforts in a particular area seem to be shifting or if you just want to try something new, go for it!
Don't be so hard on yourself when you grow out of a passion or ministry, especially if you helped others in the process. Those lives were still touched because of the work you did and their will be new ones to reach in your new stage of life. The most crucial point is that you grow and learn from those experiences. And lastly...
You can choose to remain fluid.
There's something dignifying to be said about someone who is sensitive to the needs of various groups at different times in their life. If your circle of influence isn't large, then you're especially helpful if you can remain flexible and a servant to those around you.
Whether in church, school or work we all juggle multiple responsibilities driven by different motivations. Be sure to focus on doing your select few well for whatever duration of time you feel led. As always, make sure that you're not overloading yourself with responsibility and aiming to nail the trickiest part of it all-- maintaining balance in your life. Burnout is real and can render you useless in all areas of life if you stretch yourself too thin.