The thing that's really biting me in the butt right now about all this -- besides asking for money, which as we all know is just so much fun, and so easy -- is, in the words of Beloved Wife, putting myself out there.
I hate that.
But it's an integral part of ministry in community.
No, no, I want to say, my ministry is between me and the Goddess. It's about regular discernment, being faithful to my leadings, figuring out what I'm led to do and doing it; and if I've done it "right," other people will respond.
Except it's not. That way. Or, not only that way.
I've been wrestling for a while with how so much of my ministry is about what happens next: what happens after I've listened, been in discernment, and made a plan. Then comes talking to people. Then comes advertising an event, submitting a workshop proposal,
You know how you feel after giving ministry in Meeting for Worship -- tender? That's how I feel about my ministry work. That's how I feel about a particular effort in the ministry when it first comes to me, and that's how I feel about it even when it looks like the ball is rolling along well. Even when my Oversight Committee helps me refine something and tells me, "Run with it!," even after I get the workshop or interest group approval, I feel tender, and this weird combination of certain and uncertain. Hurrah, I did it! We're ready to go, goes hand-in-hand with, What if no one else responds? What if no one comes?
When I first moved to Seattle and became more active in my ministry, I asked myself that often about events I was hosting: What if no one comes? And although it was painful, I realized it didn't matter: what mattered was that I was there, fully present and open-hearted, holding space, so that people could come.
How do I translate that into the travel I feel led to do in the ministry this summer? How do I translate that into putting myself out there, and asking for money?
If I had enough money, it wouldn't matter whether or not other people think it's part of my ministry for me to go to, say, the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference, or whether other people think it's important for me to go. I could just pay my registration and book a plane ticket. But because I plain can't go on my own financial resources, I have to ask for help. And this means putting myself out there, means taking the risk that other people won't think it's as important as I do.
This is part of the price ministry demands of those of us who don't have enough money to support it financially ourselves.
We must take that risk more often of asking if other people believe in the value of what we're doing.
And that's hard.
What travel do I want to do in the ministry this summer? (It's scary to write this part!)
- FGC Couple Enrichment Leader Training
- The Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference
- FGC Gathering
- North Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions
I also really want to go Cherry Hill Seminary's Summer Intensive, but I know I don't have enough spoons right now for the classroom work beforehand and afterward.
I feel pretty sure that I will get the financial aid I need to go to FGC Gathering and to NPYM. I've been to those before; how to put together enough financial aid is nicely laid-out and well-established, both in general and for me.
Couple Enrichment Leader Training, and the PNWQWTC -- which, of course, happen first -- I'm feeling some angst over how to make happen financially.
Argh! Did I mention this is hard?