A SERIES OF PAYING ATTENTION TO OUR SPIRITUAL HEALTH
--written by Rev. Shana Johnson
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (Romans 12:2)
This is the third installment of a series I created and entitled "Renewing Our Minds." Below is a sort of fact sheet that you might find as a pamphlet in the waiting room of a doctor's office or as a page on WebMD.
It is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek way of not only offering ourselves the grace and humor to be honest about our spiritual struggles, but also as a way to begin a wider conversation about those things that exist and we see in our personal lives and in the lives of our churches, yet rarely speak of openly. My hope in sharing this with you is to spark some reflection and conversation.
NID: A Growing Problem in the Church
NID, better known as "Not I Disorder,” is a common condition in which children or adults have difficulty taking personal responsibility and sharing the work load of a community. In recent years church leaders are reporting a staggering increase of NID in local churches. Although about 80% of church members are thought to have NID, few are diagnosed with, or treated for, the condition. Unfortunately, the symptoms and conditions that accompany NID as it relates to the mission and ministry of the church can have frustrating, and at times devastating effects on the whole church family.
What causes NID?
Although the rapidly increasing pace of our modern life is thought to play a role in NID, other critical factors such as apathy, self-centeredness, fear of commitment, lack of ownership and a misunderstanding of the gospel itself may be at work, too.
Are you at Risk?
To determine if you are at risk for NID, consider the list of the most common symptoms of NID, as well as the self screen test we have provided below.
The most common symptoms of NID include:
Avoidance of any personal responsibility for the work and direction of the church.
Convincing yourself that "someone else" will do it.
Sporadic attendance which leads to few opportunities to worship, learn and serve.
Minimal sharing of the resources that are available to you.
Operating under a "That doesn't apply to me" mentality.
You may have NID if:
The idea of membership makes you uncomfortable because you fear the responsibility that might go along with it.
You refuse to return phone calls or simply avoid speaking to persons who have asked you to help with certain projects or programs.
You openly complain or worry about the direction of the church or its ministry, but refuse to step forward to do the necessary work to bring about positive changes.
You are not willing to take the necessary actions needed to become a part of the solution. Remember that popular 1970's saying: "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."
If people really knew how little of your available resources you gave to the church; you would be embarrassed.
Although this is not an instant cure for NID here are some simple ABCs of reducing the symptoms of "Not I Disorder.”
Steps to managing NID
Step 1: Acknowledge.
Acknowledge all the ways you escape and avoid personal responsibility. Acknowledge the ways you make excuses and try to justify your lack of response and action to the call of Christ in your life. Acknowledge your need for spiritual growth in your life. Acknowledge how much God has done for you. Acknowledge that your stewardship and tithing is not a duty or obligation, but rather an act of gratitude to God.
Step 2: Breathe.
As soon as you experience a "Not I" thought--breathe. As soon as a "Not I" statement or excuse is uttered from your lips-Breathe. Breathe and honestly ask yourself why you are not willing to step forward and accept the cost of discipleship.
Step 3: Challenge.
Challenge yourself to be a true disciple of Christ who is willing to take up the cross and do the hard work. Challenge yourself to say yes. Challenge yourself to take action in big and small ways, and in being faithful in all things.
Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, Conference Minister