“I should read the books you are reading so I know what’s going on inside your head.”
That’s what Nancy said to me on Friday. It was a very good thing to say, but it was a scary thing to hear. Because I realized that I’m not sure what is going on inside my head.
“For pastors new to a church, 365 days feel like 420.”
That’s what Bill said when I started. There is so much to learn, so much coming in, so much to process, that yesterday is a lifetime ago. (On the other hand, it feels like there isn’t enough time to process everything, so that weeks feel like minutes.)
“I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
That’s what U2 is singing right now, music that I hadn’t heard until 6 weeks ago.
“I hadn’t seen you on twitter for awhile, so I came here.”
That’s what Cathleen said one day.
I’m two months into my new job, a process that I talked about as I was starting. (I’m including the links at the bottom of this post.) It has been a wonderful process. Things have been smoother than I could have dreamed. I am having fun, stretching, thinking in new ways and with renewed creativity. I’m teaching and talking and encouraging and meeting and planning and walking. You can see fingerprints in lots of places.
But I am also having a sense of fatigue. I get to the end of the week and am tired. There is a list of thoughts I need to think, writing I need to write, people I need to connect to, cleaning and organizing and relating and sleeping and…
I could do what a number of friends have done. I could talk to a sometimes good friend who refuses to do counseling but who is willing to give counsel. I’m pretty sure that here’s what he would say:
“What? You’re human? You just started into a new position where every Sunday there are nearly 800 people you didn’t even know existed three months ago. You are no longer seeing 400 people you saw every week. You are involved with three blogs. You are trying to understand ideas in social media AND theology. You are trying to translate everything you do out of “church” into English. You have read Everything is Miscellaneous, Hidden in Plain Sight, the Irresistible Revolution, major parts of The Reason for God, Metamorpha, Breakout Churches, Cluetrain Manifesto, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Life after Church, The Great Omission, 30 blogs and the cereal box. You changed your day off after several years. Of course you are tired. You are nuts. And you are out of balance.
Don’t mistake the adrenaline of the new for the living water. Chew and swallow as often as you nibble. Accept grace. Be willing to focus, to stop, to rest, to delight. Stop trying so hard. And, by the way, if your job is about spiritual formation, be willing to live the truth that formation is a long process.
So maybe I’ll listen.
“every day is a gift you’ve been given, make the most of the time, every minute you’re living.”
And Chris Rice intrudes on my play list as the post winds down. But I guess that it’s a good reminder. Thanks for your patience, all. (And especially you, dear.)
For those of you who have been wondering, here I am.
For more reflections on starting a new position:
I know you’re busy – about focusing on relationships
Learning – about learning the culture of a new place
Starting – about the first day on the job
Left turn – about the heading to the new place after eleven years
Dragging people along – about position change in a 2.0 world
Experience - about walking away from the old office
What I learned from waiting backstage – about taking the position
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