Most people show up on the doorstep of NSC with serious issues. I am spoiled as a pastor in the midst of a community that usually gets the real deal and doesn’t major in the minor. There are exceptions, of course. I can go off the rails at any moment. J
There are things that I’ve learned from my peeps that have helped me in my growing up process. I’m reviewing the ones that have been most helpful to me as this year draws to a close.
Concern yourself with what is yours to do.
I have pastor friends who talk a lot about the petty infighting among their congregants. If this happens at our place, I am fortunate to be left out of the mix. Our respect for the 12-steps as an action plan give us some basic principles that most of us are working to execute.
A decent action plan can serve as a safety net for getting too far off the path. For example, someone was talking about how disappointed they were in response to some friend group shenanigans. They were pretty whipped up about the experience and reported feeling abandoned.
They were given a sympathetic, listening ear and then asked two questions:
1. Is it true that you were abandoned?
2. What part did you play in the debacle?
The first question is one we have practiced appreciating. Many folks in our community hear the first question and have a skill set attached to how to respond. It isn’t received as uncaring or condescending but as a wake-up call. We’ve figured out about triggers and speculation and even this thing called “chaining” and these concepts have helped us appreciate a good wake-up call without taking offense. I’m pretty sure this question is unhelpful in situations that don’t have the accompanying training for how to process it.
Second question is like breathing for us. When you read the 12-steps it is obvious that these steps teach us how to work on our side of the street and not get distracted by the view from someone else’s window of understanding. Again, I don’t think whipping out the steps and going it alone is healthy much less helpful. But as a community, our commitment to the process, however messy, is helpful.
I promise you – concerning ourselves with what is ours to do is the way to go.