This week while away in Glenbrook with a group of senior chaplains I was challenged to consider what makes a successful chaplain who can keep going for the long term. We talked about the pressures we face and the issues that get at us, but not much about how to overcome these things. In my role at RAAF Wagga I often counsel people about the need for balance in life, but this week as I reviewed my own life it did not look all that successful, so here is a list of ten things I am trying to implement to rebalance my life:
Slow down! I need to adopt a more realistic expectation of myself and others. I seem to be continually suffering from “hurry sickness”, I will never catch up, so it is not going to matter if I slow up a little! And enjoy the view along the way!
Umpire! I need to find somebody to be my personal coach and mentor. I have said this for years but I have not done it! Why?
Cognitive restructuring! I can choose to change the way I think, and though it is not easy, over time I can change my perspective on issues and my attitudes to them.
Consistent Input! I have to make sure that my input is greater than my output, and seek to learn something new every day. That might mean not doing some other things.
Eat and Exercise healthily! Sadly I have allowed myself to put on those extra kgs, so I have to take responsibility for that and make some changes to my daily program.
Self knowledge! I need to know my gifts and abilities as well as admit my limitations. It is only as I am honest about these things that I can take steps to address them.
Sabbath! The manufacturer’s instructions recommend at least one day off per week and failure to do so will void the warranty. I can’t blame God for my illness when I have neglected the proper balance between work and rest.
Fun! My wife tells me that I have forgotten how to have fun and laugh. We were made to enjoy life and not just endure it so don’t take it so seriously, lighten up and have a good laugh.
Understand the plan! We all need to know where we are going, so maybe it is time to clarify your goals and get excited about where God is leading you.
Love and accept love! We all need relationships, a place where we are accepted and belong. Families are important, yet if we keep putting them on the bottom of the priority list, when we need them they will not be there.
Well, they are some of the things I learnt this week. I’m still not sure what the chaplaincy branch will look like in 2015, but I am sure that God is in control and that His vision of the future requires me to more balanced! Success if not about doing more things, it’s about doing the right things better. Maybe it is time for you to rethink what it means to be successful???
Chaplain Ian Whitley