I’m in Ottawa this week for the biennial National Youth Ministry Conference put on by the Canadian Catholic Youth Ministry Network (CCYMN). By virtue of my position as the Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry (OYYAM) for the Archdiocese of Vancouver, I’ve been part of the CCYMN since its inception in 2005.
Prior to the weekend conference, the Directors and Coordinators of Youth Ministry and Young Adult Ministry are gathering for a few days for our Annual General Meeting. It will be a great chance to pray, to share, to network, and to discuss issues that we face on both national and local levels.
At the opening session of the AGM, we broke into small groups and talked about the conference theme of “Be Still and Know That I am God” from Psalm 46. The responses from my group members were not surprising: we are all busy balancing family and ministry (and other things) and it’s a challenge to just “be still”. Yet we collectively realized that it’s vital to our ministries and more importantly our health, our relationships, and our overall well-being.
I told my group that while I acknowledge the importance of being still, it actually isn’t really on my radar or a priority for me…at least currently. I certainly wasn’t suggesting that I was busier than anyone else, but I did offer that I’m not wired to “be still”. When at home, I do my best to make sure that I’m truly present to my wife and kids in all ways: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But when they go to bed, my first thought isn’t always to join them (it doesn’t help that my wife Gail often goes to bed before sunset but that’s not the point here…haha). I do my best work when I’m working well into the night, or more accurately, well into the next morning. Sometimes it’s ministry work and other times it’s creating written and video blogs on the Vancouver Canucks (my other passion besides family and faith).
Granted, I’m not getting any younger so I certainly don’t have the stamina that I had 10 or even five years ago. I know that my wife Gail would like me to get more sleep but it’s hard, especially when I’m excited about what I’m working on. And I realize it’s always the same routine in the morning: while we’re scrambling around trying to get the kids ready for school, she still takes the time to read the blog or watch the video that I had finished just a few hours prior. Even when I can tell that she doesn’t care, at least she pretends to. :p
So I admit: this theme of being still is going to challenge me and stretch me. Obviously, I recognize the value of slowing things down and simply resting in the Lord. I, like many others, often catch myself being more “Martha” and less “Mary”.
But I must remember that I don’t always have to be “chasing after” God or “seeking after” Him. There are times when I need to just get over myself, be still, and let Him find me.