When I was taking a course called CPE -Clinical Pastoral Education, one of the things we did every day was to write a "reflection" of what happened during the day in our interactions with people in a counseling situation. It was one way to have others in the class listen to your reflection and help you see things you might miss. I must admit that was uncomfortable, having others "second guess" my work, but on the other hand it was "eye opening" to see multiple ways that the same situation could be addressed. Honestly, I did not see the full value of that exercise until several years later when I had opportunities to work with people in crisis situations where I really wished I had my fellow learners help me be more observant in particular situations, and offer much needed advice in dealing with precious souls.
I'm wondering if the Church, and particularly Pastors, should spend more time in that kind of exercise. Choosing a few people to talk over situations, and always have an eye on improving how we do our ministry. I have found in my experience that Pastor's have a way of holding their cards close! It might be a way to NOT allow others to second guess us. But on the other hand, I have a few Pastor friends I can go to with anything! And that is a very valuable asset to have. I am blessed.
But in true Pastoral fashion I give a three point message on this subject:
1. Never be a "Lone Ranger". It is important to have a network of those you trust to share your doubts and failures as well as successes. 2. Always be a "Good Listener". Pay attention to what others are telling you, especially in other people's crisis situations. 3. Always "Think Before You Speak". This is so very important. Sometimes those of us in "professional" ministry do NOT think before speaking. We need to carefully listen and ponder what we say before saying it. It does not matter how long you are in ministry, or how great your experience may be, this is a vital lesson that must be learned and re-learned many times a day!
May God give us the ability to reflect on our conversations and interactions, and reach out for help to "check" ourselves so that God's blessing can flow through us, and not be hindered by an attitude of self dependence.