Fear Not. Be Smart.

“Work smarter, not harder” was advice offered by a CVN board member a few years ago. Just as I was beginning to embrace that more, the pandemic hit.

2020 became a year of running from one thing to the next, juggling new needs and ideas, and trying to help member programs as much as we could. I know many, if not all, of you felt the same. I know your sense of service would not let you relax or fail to explore any option for supporting programs, staff, and volunteers.

You worked hard. CVN affirms you and is grateful. We hope our hard work helped you.

While CVN is proud of what we offered (summarized in our 2020 Annual Report), we need to create better space to think, reflect, plan – and trust. If we can do that well this year, we can be even more helpful to CVN programs in the future. We can become smarter about focus, capacity, and needs. That requires respect for not just who – but how – we want to be.

We live in a culture of doing. You work in a ministry that is very active. It can be hard to dedicate time and energy to step back and think. I bet anxiety levels rose for many of you just now! So, I invite you to think about thinking differently. In addition to more traditional forms of self-care, this could be a way to give parts of you that are tired or overused a break.

We are people of faith. Despite how hard it is, we strive to trust. We seek to honor relationship with God. We try to remember that the Holy Spirit is working among us; partnering with us; surprising us. In being intentional about such a posture, hopefully we are learning more about trust.

People of faith pray. Creative people like you do that in a range of ways. I humbly offer that what many of us may need now is not just space to think strategically, but space where our thinking, praying, listening, and very being become more closely aligned. That hard work is very good – and very smart. And yes, it is intimidating. However, “fear not” is the most repeated command in the Bible.

As I consider the many ways CVN wants to support you this year, I get anxious. I wonder how we can do it all. Then I remind myself that if CVN staff and board can identify and embrace the best posture and spaces for us – with the right balance of thought, prayer, and action – that will allow better relationship with God.  We must accept God’s invitation to trust. Right now, that is giving ourselves permission to think about how to become smarter. I sense that we will be pleasantly surprised by what unfolds if we commit to that.

As CVN continues along the never-ending journey of discernment and transition, we are excited about new ways of being, renewal, and a deeper understanding of calling. We are excited about engaging with you to understand that better. Our upcoming strategic planning, membership renewal, and more will allow us to learn from you. You will find additional information about plans for 2021 in this newsletter.

If there is any community that can creatively re-imagine the relationship between hard work, wise discernment, and trust in God – it is this one. We are glad to be with you and learn from you.

With you in service,

Yonce Shelton
Executive Director

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