Lutheran Church Extension Fund

A Wellness Plan is Realistic

Let’s get real.

By wellness plan, I’m talking about how you will approach the daily and weekly disciplines of balanced self-care.

By “realistic,” I mean two things.

Your plan is not something you read in a book that you “should” do. It’s not imitating what someone else does. Realistic means it’s grounded in your own, personal, real-life experiences of brokenness. It addresses where you hurt, where you’ve been wounded.

And realistic means reasonable. Don’t run a marathon. Don’t pray for two hours before dawn. Don’t cancel every evening meeting from now on. (Unless, of course, one of those things seems reasonable to you!)

Here’s a quick look at both.

Realistic plans get real with real life.

Your plan begins with a comprehensive assessment of your life of living by grace with God, your life of living in harmony with others, and your life in ministry, serving according to your gifts, passions and energies.

A realistic wellness assessment asks, “How am I doing?”

I often ask church workers I’ve just met, “How are you doing?” After the usual pleasantries, I’ll often discern that something is not quite right, so I’ll ask, “No, really. How are you doing?”

I’ve heard some amazing things when people get real.

If you don’t have a worker wellness committee at church that is asking how you’re doing, or accountability partners who care about you, you will benefit tremendously by asking yourself, “How am I doing, really; spiritually, emotionally, physically, vocationally?”

We’re all wounded. In different places. The words and experiences that wound me deeply are different than yours.

Examine your wounds. Then look at your strengths. Make a realistic plan to seek the Lord’s healing touch where it hurts, building on those areas where he has made you strong.

Realistic plans set realistic plans.

My favorite T-shirt reads, “WORLD’S OKAYEST PASTOR.”

That’s realistic! “Admission to the Preacher’s Hall of Fame” or “Visiting every homebound member every week” will only bring more hurt where you don’t need it.

“Intentionally seeking God’s grace for yesterday’s imperfect ministry and his strength for today’s” is realistic. It seeks the healing touch of Jesus’ love.

I don’t plan to take my wife ballroom dancing. I won’t promise her long, romantic walks in the rain.

But despite the ways I’m far from the perfect husband, I do want her to be glad to see me when I walk in the door. Living in grace with one another keeps Jesus at the center. That’s realistic.

Who are you, really?

Your realistic wellness journey takes into account that you are a sinner who will never find perfection (nor perfect healing) along the way, but it also daily considers that you are a saint, one who lives day by day in the grace of Christ.

An intentional wellness plan for self-care addresses what really, actually hurts in your very real life.

And an intentional wellness plan, relying on God’s healing grace, seeks substantial, but never perfect, healing.

And strength from the Lord to move forward today.

Thanks for reading.

“Reclaiming the Joy of Ministry: The Grace Place Way to Church Worker Wellness” includes guidance for self-assessment and for developing your intentional wellness plan.