Living Well and Finishing Well (Jaye Wald)

Dr Jaye Wald is a psychologist, Carey student in the MASF program and a friend. For my Pastoral Care class, she wrote this post in our Forum as a response to my blog entitled, “Keep On Keeping On.” Jaye has permitted me to post this on her behalf. I have left the references in for your interest and so that you can follow up on her thinking.
Wherever God leads me in pastoral ministry, as a psychologist and whatever else extends from this calling, my strategy is to focus on living well. I try to not focus on finish-line and I truly hope to keep doing what I love into eternity.

Living well means being humbly reminded on a regular basis that all of my “work,” everything I have, and everything I am belongs to God.[1]  They are all gifts that God has entrusted me with. It means doing my part to serve God in this world and then turning the results over to Him. It takes the pressure off, I can take let go of control, and it frees me to enjoy the ride.

Living well means living with God and in His will for me. It means maintaining spiritual practices that keep me connected with God and keeping Him in the centre of all things.

Living well means accepting and affirming my life as it is.[2] Living well means being and living fully each day. It means remembering and learning from my past and never riding on yesterdays’ successes. It means boldly imagining and dreaming about the future and God’s new creation.

Living well means regularly taking risks, being challenged, learning, and growing.[3]  It means taking times of solitude, keeping work in its proper place, and exercising good self-care.

Living well means living in community and building relationships. It means listening to others (mentors, trusted spiritual companions).[4] It means maintaining healthy boundaries and being a non-anxious presence in the midst of others.[5] It means investing into the lives of others.

Living well means continuing to grow in self-differentiation[6] Living well means being aware of my brokenness, the false and sinful parts of myself (e.g., pride, ego), and my biases and blindness that goes along with my social privilege and position.[7]

Living well is to never forget why Jesus came.[8]

[1] Acts 17:28(“For in Him we live and move and have our being”). See Nouwen. Beyond the Skillful Response: Individual Pastoral Care (Competence and Contemplation), pp. 49-72. Creative Ministry, As he states, “Through long and often painful formation and training, we ministers have to find our place in life, to discover our own contribution, and to affirm our own self; not to cling to it and claim it as our own unique property, but to go offer our services to others, and empty ourselves so that God can speak through us and invite others to new life” (p.58-59)

[2]See Nouwen’s, Ibid, Beyond the Protective Ritual: Celebrating (Obedient Acceptance of Life), p. 95-113, as he states, “All of our life is given, and given to celebrate” (p.113), which involves the “affirmation of our present condition” (p.98), remembering our past (p. 100), and having expectations of the future (p.102)

[3] See Nouwen, The Wounded Healer, as he described “Christian ministers” as “critical contemplatives” (p.47-51)

[4]  As Nouwen Creative Ministry, Ibid, stated, “Obedience to the voices of nature, to the voices of people, and to the voice of God” (p.105)

[5] Richardson, “Becoming a Better Leader” (p. 172-183) and “Assessing Your Congregation’s Emotional System, p. 158-171), Creating a Healthier Church.

[6] Richardson, Ibid.

[7] Nouwen, Ibid, Creative Ministry, p. 78-82. See also Doehring. The Practice of Pastoral Care, as she describes the importance of “self-reflexivity” or “critically reflecting on one’s assumptions and social privilege” (p.168)

[8] Matthew 25:35-36 (“ For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”). See also Nouwen, The Wounded Healer, Ibid, as he noted the “paradox of Christian leadership is that the way out is also the way in, that only by entering into communion with human suffering can relief be found” (p.82).

Paddy Ducklow
My name is Paddy Ducklow. I am retired from CAREY but happy to have my past blogs here. I have had the privilege of assisting faculty, board, staff, pastors, students, etc. to write their thoughts and become published. Today, I can be found at www.theducklows.ca

Leave a Reply


captcha *