Regardless of whether you like where you, your ministry, or the world is today, you can only make the decision of where to go from this particular moment, this particular place. I don't think that is a bad thing. It gives us a solid point from which to start. We can look back to see what brought us to this moment, this place. With thought, discernment, and no little amount of faith, we can then make the choices that will take us to the next moment, the next place.
Knowing Lent is so close to starting I am looking inward to determine what is my answer to, "Where do I go from here?" My first major Lenten practice is, as for many, prayer time. I've got a great book at home that is set up for a 40 day period. I'll be able to walk through that.
My other major Lenten experience was, well, foisted on me - taking that sacred time for me, for my psychological and spiritual well-being. As I have just adopted a dog, Gracie, from a rescue, I am forced to ensure that I go home to walk and care for her. In turn, she offers that undying, unqualified, unconditional love of a dog. In addition, she is reminding me that patience, trust, and the art of being cannot be undervalued. Given her two years in a puppy mill and the abusive first family that adopted her, she came to me cowering and fearful. For the first few days she only came near me when I put her food down for her. Now she seeks me out and follows me into the bathroom (we're working on privacy issues). There is still much to do, but as part of my Lenten practices, she is helping me to take time for myself without any guilt attached.
Having Gracie is not only a blessing in my personal life, but she is teaching me much that can help me with my ministry. That time it takes to build trust. The fact that her trust was easily taken away in those first days if I spoke too loudly or didn't see her behind me and stepped on her paws (in my slippers, she was fine). Now that trust is stronger. The ongoing process is lengthy, just as establishing credibility, trust, and relationships in ministry takes time.
Gracie has made me completely change my modus operandi in my personal life. The pastoral planning process, a few texts I'm reading, and the perpetual challenges in youth and young adult ministry are causing me to seriously rethink the basic methodologies in the ministries. Not that what is currently going on is bad or wrong. Rather, it can always be improved and there are developing circumstances that will require change sooner or later. I figure that being prepared is better than scrambling after the fact.
I know more will come. However, if you have ideas on resources to read or people to talk to, don't hesitate to let me know.