postit note goodbye

There is a different feel in the air when it’s time to move on from a ministry position.  It’s not that you had a bad day or that fatigue had caught your body and mind.  At best, you feel as if you have been exhausted.  It is time for fresh ideas, fresh insight and fresh blood.  At worse, the church or board has gone in a different direction.  You do not share their passion.  This story is a Japanese love story.  It may help you identify if the time to move on is now.

In the Japanese love story, The Crane Wife, a peasant sail maker is visited by an injured crane on a stormy night.  Unbeknownst to him, his care and release of the crane results in another mysterious visit during a second storm:  a woman at his door.  He cares for her and they become married.  This meets his deep need for companionship, for he had longed for a wife.  Later, when there was not enough food for two, she offers to weave for him a magic sail.  The only catch is that the weaving process must be done in isolation.  He agrees.  For a whole day and night, she weaves in silence and seclusion.  The proceeds feed them for six months.  When a pirate hears of this magic, he offers a sum that captures the interest of the sail maker.  Greed drives the sail maker to force his wife to again seclude herself and weave.  She had objected, stating that the process was too draining but his demands became unbearable.  This weaving took a long time.  For three days she wove in silence and seclusion.  Out of impatience the sail maker forces his way into the room and finds a white crane weaving the wind from its wings into the sails.  The startled crane wife flies out the window.  The sail maker loses his partner who knew him like no other and returned to loneliness.  The wife no longer felt safe.  The trust built when the sail maker cared for her as a crane and beyond was selfishly traded away. 

Just as the husband betrayed the wife, we betray ourselves.  We become more and more uncomfortable with ministry projects that drain us of our energy and creativity.  We bow to silly requests that eat away our time.  Our pastoral relationships are compromised because of politics. 

Experiencing these problems in ministry could be systematic of not setting proper boundaries.  If you feel that your boundaries are in place, then maybe it’s time to seek out other employment or service that feeds instead of drains who you are in ministry.