December 19 Newsletter
The Anticipation…can it kill us?
🎶“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”🎶
Sometimes I hear this song and the cynical side of me thinks, “but is it?…”
Now before you come after me, know that I have not forgotten the real meaning of the season. However, as a pastor, this time before the actual celebration of Christmas (that’s right the first day of Christmas isn’t until Dec. 25 and the 12th day of Christmas is Jan. 5) is often filled with stress and anxiety. It’s not that it isn’t the “most wonderful time of the year,” but the lead-up to the celebration often outweighs the feelings of joy this season is supposed to bring.
It seems during this season we are always somewhere between anticipation and anxiety, and in the midst of this, we can often lose sight of the joy that is present in this season. Yes, even this season of preparation leading up to Christmas.
I don’t want to mitigate anybody’s anxiety, but I often feel as our anxiety progresses and builds upon itself our ability to fall back on self-care rituals falls by the wayside. For me, anticipation leads to anxiety, and anxiety leads to anticipation. It becomes a self-fulfilling cycle that never seems to end. The anticipation to get to Christmas becomes so big that I sometimes struggle to function, and I pray the holiday would get here quicker so I could have some time off.
However, this year, as I have spent a year having conversations and learning about a theology of self-care, I have noticed that I have created a series of rituals that I have found helpful. Aren’t we supposed to learn as we practice? That has been my hope this season. This year, I am trying to be more aware as my anxiety level raises and I am trying to create spaces for self-care. Sometimes that is easier than others…actually most times it is still difficult, but hopefully I really am learning.
Happenings in the Network
Active Faith Podcast
The December 16th episode is a solo episode where I talk a bit about consistency. Being in the holiday season I have not been able to sync schedules to get guests on, so I recorded a solo episode. I am hoping to grow as a solo podcaster and bring more episodes to unpack my learnings from interviewing guests and building a theology of self-care. Explore consistency with me in this episode and please let me know what you think.
Preachers Gonna Preach
The RunninRev (Andrew) has the latest sermon from the congregation he serves, Beech Grove UMC (Suffolk, Va). I am preaching from the book of Isaiah and bring this message in the 3rd week of Advent, talking about the connection Isaiah offer between justice and joy. I was unable to preach yesterday due to contracting COVID-19, but am going to post the manuscript of what I would have preached.
Check it out on the RunninRev Preaches Newsletter or click here.
While there were no new articles up this past week, I (Andrew) have been working to expand this network. There are so many awesome voices talking about self-care, and intersecting it with our life, faith, and vocation (no matter where you work). In the New Year, I am hoping for some of the new voices in the network to contribute articles/blog posts within this network so that we can all continue to learn and grow together. Be sure to also listen for some of these awesome voices on the podcast as well. I am also hoping to have some more articles written in my blog in the coming weeks check out my On A Long Run blog by clicking here.
The first, newest addition, is that of one of our strong mother runners, Jessica Plummer!!! She joins the writing team, giving voice about her life as a mother of 3 with a military husband, all while getting a degree and training to set PRs with a triple stroller. This woman has so much going on, and it is the role of self-care that helps her all along the road. It is not always easy, but she shows her strength every day.
In the Real World
Well COVID has finally gotten me. Earlier this summer my son got it (and miraculously none of the rest of us in my household did). Well now the rest of us are having a turn. It has put a damper on my running routine, as well as my final preparations for Christmas at church. I had been building up excellent consistency on the run. With COVID being a respiratory virus my coach figured it best to give it a couple of days before I test a run. Hopefully, as you are reading this, I am getting to run. Luckily I am in my winter base training before I start gearing up for my Shamrock Half Marathon build around the first of the year. — Andrew