Journaling for Pastors: Our own pain and limits amidst chaos

We can face our own pain and the pain of the world.
waves and rocks

Living within our limits and setting boundaries can be a challenge for any pastor. If you feel the chaos and uncertainty of living during a pandemic has only magnified that difficulty, you are not alone.

The pain of the world around us and our own inner pain may feel in stark conflict, as we contemplate the hard tasks of leading through this public health crisis. And of course, we know the pandemic hasn’t stopped the other forms of suffering in our world. So, we can start to feel helpless to make a difference.

Take a deep breath. Let’s journal through this. 

Journaling Journey: 

  • Where are you feeling your limits stretched or shattered?
  • What outside of your immediate life and leadership do you feel responsible for? 

Thinking about your limits and whatever outside things you feel responsible for, where can you let go? What can you grieve that you don’t have control over? 

Now, this part is harder. Take a deep breath.

  • What pain of your own are you perhaps ignoring or pushing away because you feel so responsible for others or so torn by what is going on in the world? 
  • Where does your own heart and soul need God’s healing?

I want to invite you to reclaim your own pain and to realize whatever you are experiencing right now is valid. Your pain can exist alongside the suffering of the world’s. Starting to recognize and name your pain is a way to accept your own limits and begin to see a way toward resetting the boundaries you need to lead well. 

Be gentle on yourself, pastor. End your journaling session with a prayer for grace.

Photo by stein egil liland

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Emily McQuillan

Emily McQuillan

Emily McQuillan is a project manager for Faith+Lead.

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