Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Best Advice from You! Intellectual Wellbeing

Reading time: two minutes. The day after an election might be a good time for this topic.  We at Grace Place Wellness define Intellectual Wellness as having a vibrant curiosity about the people around us.  It’s a perotcommunication issue. I’ve heard already a couple of times today, November 9th, that we Americans should learn to listen to one another.  That’s the four words of wisdom I’ve heard from you at our retreats: “Let’s learn to listen.” Or as Ross Perot once quipped in the midst of an election, “I’m all ears!”  Over the years at our retreats, thousands of couples have heard Dave Ludwig’s communication typology, “Painters and Pointers.”  When something important burns on our heart, we typically find one of two ways of sharing with those dear to us.  Painters immediately start talking, painting a picture of what they’re feeling.  Pointers immediately turn inward to spend some paintbrushestime figuring out what they want to say. I love the look of recognition on the faces of couples as they have one of those insightful moments, “That’s YOU!”  I love even more the insight that follows close behind: “Oh yeah.  That’s ME, too!” What I love best of all is when couples engage in an intimate conversation about how they have disrespected each other for all these years by failing to hear one another.  “Let’s learn to listen.” Painters and Pointers both have something to share; we just drive each other crazy by the way we choose to share it.  When couples really start communicating at our retreats (that’s why we build in so much free time!) they discover all kinds of wonders about each other.  That’s intellectual wellbeing: “I learned something today.” The topic is often finances.  We hear at most every retreat, “This is the first open, honest coupleconversation we’ve had about our checkbook in years!”  But other topics bubble up right away once we learn to listen.  The state of our marriages, our spiritual life together, how we feel about the calling into ministry, as well as our patterns of diet and exercise are just some of the subjects.  Communication starts bursting out all over the place. Learning to listen would be good for our country.  It would be good for our congregations and for our synod, too.  It’s always a joy to hear the conversation across the table groups at our retreats.  A common expression, when talking about the stresses and anxieties of this ministry lifestyle, is “I thought I was the only one!” What a treat when we learn how to speak what’s on our hearts. And what a joy when someone else learns to truly listen. Thanks for reading. Do you serve in a multiple staff setting in a church, Lutheran school, university or social service ministry?  Discover how a Ministry Team Wellness Workshop can help enhance your team ministry by building the unity, spiritual life and communication essential to partnership in ministry.  Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman for more information.