Give Me a Break
Posted by Lori
People in ministry seem notorious for not giving themselves a break. A little down time. An opportunity to unplug. And … it is showing.
The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, and with little notice: Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.
… A growing number of health care experts and religious leaders have settled on one simple remedy that has long been a touchy subject with many clerics: taking more time off.
A Sabbath is hugely important. We all know that. We’ve even heard our husbands or pastors preach on it many times. But still we often cheat on those sabbath days and answer emails, make phone calls, sneak a little work in … or a lot. Until, that day doesn’t look much like a Sabbath day at all.
Jud’s day off is Friday. It works for him because he has finished up the message by then and the rest of the staff is off that day as well. When the kids are in school, we have ourselves a wonderful little date day. It is great. No work. No pulls. Well, not if we can manage it. 🙂 Since we do church on Saturday and Sunday, it is necessary for us to really break that Friday.
A sabbatical or vacation is very important too. We are on our break right now. We get a three week vacation, and Jud gets a three week study break that we are asked by the elders to take back to back during the summer. When we first got to Central, that seemed like so much time. It almost seemed crazy. Then we finished up that first year, and we practically crawled into our summer break. Now I see that for us, it is vital. We need that time to rest and rejuvenate. We need concentrated time with the kids as a family. We need that time with the Lord. We need that time to get our compassion quotient back up to where it needs to be. And we need that time to let God reframe our perspective.
Even being incredibly intentional about taking breaks, still the stress and pressure sometimes seems too much. So, I can’t even imagine what it would be like if we never pulled the plug.
So, I want to encourage you, if you don’t take one day a week off … really take it off, please do!
And if you have vacation days, please use them … even if it is a close the blinds stay-cation at your house.
What is your day off? And how does it look for you? Do you get a vacation? Do you take it?