Reading time: two minutes. Epigram: a short, pithy saying with a kernel of truth. This week’s summertime epigram: “Wellness is managing the polarities well.” Lutheran theology teaches us about balancing out the polarities of the paradoxes of our faith: free servants, sinner saints, dead but alive, etc. The polarities of a life in ministry are sort of like that. A polarity is two forces that exert an equal amount of pull in opposite directions. I’ll mention the three most important ones for church workers. Take a look and tell me if I’ve missed something! The first, and most important polarity that we absolutely must learn to manage well is the opposing pulls toward our families and toward our ministries. Our families are the people whom we love more than anyone else on earth. There’s a country song (that I’ve adopted personally) where the guy sings to his darlin’ that she’s his magnet; he’s always drawn back to her. The pull toward the church is strong; it’s our calling and passion. A slip in managing those pulls appropriately can easily lead to a life out of balance. The second is the pull between work and rest. God teaches balance: evening and morning, God at work preparing us to labor followed by God at work through us in our labors. Sabbath is the weekly balance point, resetting through rest and re-creation for the next cycle of labor. The third is the pull between care of souls and care of self. Our friends at DOXOLOGY share that they often find pastors in their caregiving programs discovering that they have not been cared for themselves. It’s a polarity to be managed. Self-care is preparation for soul care of others. We serve best from a place of vitality: spiritual, physical and emotional. Simple enough, right? Except for this: we’re locked in an internal struggle between the sinner and the saint. As you journey forward, remember that only God’s grace can strengthen us for this adventure of service. Only by dying to our failures in putting church before family or working without resting or the care of others before care of self can we come alive again to healing and new beginnings. None of us manage these things well, but regular self-reflection, repentance, grace and new beginnings are our way of life on the journey. God bless you, and when you get out of balance, God bless you again, and a gain, and again, as you walk by faith and serve in the strength of the Spirit! Thanks for reading. Our ministry is made possible by the generous donations of people just like you. Click here to discover how simple it is to make your gift of any size to Grace Place Wellness. Do you know someone who might be interested in becoming a major benefactor to sponsor a retreat in your area? Our President/CEO Randy Fauser would love to hear from you today!