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self-awareness

Self-awareness and your ministry

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We have read how carrying out a ministry has become a challenge for pastors today. Let’s see how to show self-awareness in your ministry. Social networks, conflicts, the COVID-19 crisis, and the effects it has produced on a social, psychological, and emotional level, among others, have left pastors facing unprecedented challenges, both in their inner world and the world of those they minister. The question then is, how do you minister with a broken identity? How can you help others when you, as a pastor, are facing your own struggles in life? How can you give others the support they need that you feel you cannot give? I will show you how you can do it.

Practice self-awareness

This is an indispensable discipline. There can be no change in your life without self-knowledge. This requires seeing ourselves clearlclearly, being aware of our thoughts, and our emotions, being aware of how our pain leads us to see ourselves and others in dysfunctional ways, and how that impacts us.

Saint Augustine said: How can you get closer to God when you are so far from yourself? And he prayed, “Lord, let me know myself so that I can know you.”

Your healing and freedom begin with self-awareness

Carl Jung said the following: “When you make the unconscious conscious, you can choose.” We cannot change something we are not aware of.

Let me explain the idea: the mind has two dimensions. Three, according to Freud, but I will only talk about the two most important of them, the conscious and the unconscious. The conscious is what I have in my mind at the moment, the short-term memory. In the unconscious, I store all the positive and negative experiences, traumas, sad memories, and long-term memory. But, they are not on a conscious level.

Most interesting of all is that 95 percent of my daily decisions come from my unconscious. My unconscious directs my life, not my conscious. I am being driven by the mindsets, life scripts, and core beliefs that I have developed throughout my life and stored in my unconscious.

Why you need to practice self-awareness

That is why we end up doing the things we do not want to do, as many times we are directed by the interpretations that we have unconsciously given to the experiences we have had in our lives. If those experiences have not been processed properly, they have the potential to lead us to repeat patterns of thoughts and behaviors that will influence our future positively or negatively.

But there is more to it. You need to practice self-awareness because your emotional stability is at the mercy of your ancestors, according to William Matta. Your ancestors’ emotional dynamics and maladaptive or positive behaviors are transmitted from generation to generation, and, today, you are not just the result of your decisions, but also the result of the influence those previous generations had on you. Your ending was written at your beginning. If you do not want your future to be determined by your ancestors, you need to rewrite your history. Only then can you write the last chapter of your life.

Self-knowledge comes with vulnerability

You cannot achieve self-knowledge if you do not make yourself vulnerable. Feeling vulnerable refers to a psychological state in which we are aware of an emotional wound that we feel we cannot overcome. Vulnerability is the step you take toward uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

While Adam and Eve hid their shame behind fig leaves, they did not experience healing. The change in the lives of our first parents began when they acknowledged the pain in their histories and made themselves vulnerable, coming out of hiding to make themselves vulnerable and receive help. How can you achieve this? Be brave and ask for what you need. You have to be willing to expose your feelings. Be transparent with yourself and with those around you. Accept yourself the way you are. Accept the things that make you human. If your problem is preventing you from functioning in your home or ministry, maybe it is time to seek professional help.

How can I practice self-awareness?

By keeping an emotional journal. An emotional journal is a therapeutic tool that allows you to talk to yourself and discover the areas in your life that need to be processed. Another thing you can do is sit down with someone you trust and ask him/her to tell you the things he/she thinks you should grow in your life. And you must tell him/her that you will not get upset, that you will accept everything he/she tells you. People who are next to you know things about you that you do not know about yourself, and you need their help to discover them.

Prepare a genogram of your family. This will also help.

Everything mentioned above will help you care for your emotional wounds and will thus be able to restore your identity.

Practice the ministry of presence

The best gift you can give to those who suffer and are around you is your presence, said Thich Nhat Hanh. That was the ministry Jesus carried. He was with those who suffered, with the sinners, the miserable, and those who were mourning. His presence was more effective than any miracle He could have performed. Jesus’ presence brought security, hope, and refuge.

When you allow those who suffer to experience your presence, you are telling them these three things:

I listen to you actively

Listening is an art that is developed. Some people pay for therapy, seeking someone to listen to them. When you practice the ministry of presence and listen to the person suffering, you are setting aside a space in your time, mind, and physical space to say to that person, “I am present before your pain.”

But this is often a difficult task because we are so absorbed in our pain and the demands of our ministry that we think we do not have time for anything else, and we simply drift with the currents of discouragement and exhaustion. This causes us to lose sight of our identity and, as a result, the people who are by our side looking for a helping hand suffer in silence, as they do not want to be intrusive and invade our private space.

Why listen actively

When we listen actively, we withdraw and get away from what is important to us, giving others the gift of our presence. We create the space for others to be themselves and to come to us on their terms.

James Hillman, director of studies at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, wrote this about counseling:

“For the other person to open up and speak, the counselor needs to reach that person. I must withdraw to make room for the other. . .”

This withdrawal, rather than meeting the other, is an intense act of self-knowledge. The space that I offer the person who is hurting with my presence allows him/her to grow.

Do you think these techniques are easily applicable? Do you think that they are challenging for you? Or even do you feel that your ministry could be carried out regardless of your broken identity if you follow these recommendations? Please, share your opinion in the comments section of this post, so we can enrich our experience together. God bless you.

If you need professional help, you can call us at 407 618 0222 or write to us at Efrain.duany@floridaconference.com

 

 


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