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Lenten Self-Care: Vocational Space!

Reading time: less than two minutes, which is plenty during Lent. In fact, maybe you should skip this post entirely as a way of giving yourself an extra two minutes of space in this very busy season, which is actually the topic this week. Breathing room is a good thing, mostly because breathing is a good thing.  If we don’t have room to breath, everything else shuts down.  Breathing is like the breath of life. We’re at that point in the Lenten journey where things are starting to pile up.  Worship planning, sermon writing and special Easter activities like pancakes or egg hunts or outreach events are all starting to pile up.  When we get pressed by deadlines, our creativity diminishes. Let me share with you some of the best advice I ever got about busyness. I had a couple of accountability partners that helped me to set appropriate boundaries in my parish service.  We met twice a month and one of my routines was to report my hours per week spent in ministry activities.  Over the years, we discovered that when I worked more than 60 hours in a week, my energy, my passion and my creativity all decreased significantly. Once when I was in one of those seasons of reporting a long string of 60+ hour work weeks, at the end of our discussion about how a tired and worn out pastor is not a very good pastor, one of my guys said, “Darrell, we need a better pastor than that.” That hit me like a ton of bricks.  My faulty thinking had been that the more I worked, the more hours I put in, the more effective I was in ministry.  That’s like having your horse run laps all night before the Kentucky Derby, or having the starting pitcher play catch for six hours before the big game! Giving my most is different than giving my best. With just a couple of weeks left before Easter and the Holy Week marathon, would the people you serve be better served if you could find an extra day or half day off this week?  Don’t you think people would understand if you said, “To be at my best this Easter, I’m going to spend an afternoon this week at the park (or at the museum or sleeping)?”  Even Jesus knew when to take a nap. In the next few weeks I’m spending extra time in prayer for you and your ministry.  This week I’m praying for your breathing room.  Breath deep the breath of God.  Find some space. Everyone will benefit! Thanks for reading.