This week I realized that I’m suffering from GCSD (General Conference Stress Disorder). Although I don’t believe that this condition has been scientifically recognized, I’m positive that it exists. My symptoms started months before the Called General Conference started and have intensified since the General Conference finished. My main symptom has been difficulty in keeping focused. This has been evident in several different situations. Here are a couple of examples, though I could easily provide more.
I have been wondering why there has been more money in our family checking account than I expected. As an analytical, I tend to be very careful with our financial accounts. Most of our banking is done on-line, and I schedule bills as soon as they come in. With each paycheck I also schedule payment of our tithes. I’m not sure what it says about me, but I really enjoy tithing. I like being part of something that is bigger than myself and giving a portion back from all that God has given us. Normally I keep specific records on my phone, however due to operator error, I lost those records. I would like to say that is why I forgot to pay all of our February tithes, though it is more likely GCSD.
Here is another example. This last week I left early for a meeting in Sierra Vista. Following my normal practice, I talked on the phone while I drove. Without noticing, auto-pilot kicked in. All of a sudden, I realized that I was on my way to Tucson. My course correction evidently was not very effective, since I found myself on a dead-end road. I walked into the meeting just as the board president called it to order. Could this be the result of GCSD?
GCSD has a way of eroding self-care practices. It has been easy to justify not taking my days off and working long hours. With all that needs to be done, who has time for hobbies, exercising, or getting enough sleep? Could this possibly have anything to do with my being a bit more grumpy? This last week I re-committed myself to doing better self-care. I’ve re-started an old hobby of growing African Violets to add to my list of hobbies. I was amazed by the peace that I experienced by spending part of a day off re-potting African Violets. How is your self-care going?
Combatting GCSD starts by making sure that we are personally centered, and at peace. If we are not operating from a place of peace, it is unlikely that we will be able to reach out to others in peace and love.
GCSD makes it tempting to question the motives of other United Methodists. I prefer to take the position that all our United Methodist sisters and brothers are trying to be faithful to God. God is big enough to sort this out if it’s not the case. I will continue to advocate for all forms of diversity. I don’t want to be a part of a church that only thinks like me.
I’m seeing many United Methodists becoming hardened and bitter. If there was only a patch or pill for GCSD! I understand the turmoil of emotions erupting around the politics of the United Methodist Church, and that there are decisions to be made. Let’s make sure, though, that we don’t lose our Christianity in the midst of the struggle. Jesus knew that Christians were going to face a difficult road. I have been pondering these words from Jesus: “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16, NRSV). Let’s make sure that we don’t become like the wolves.
Your brother on the journey, Mark