Reading time: two minutes. It’s here! The arrival of Ash Wednesday has been anticipated by pastors (and their families) for weeks and weeks, knowing that the coming days will be both the most grueling and the most enriching weeks of the year. It’s no wonder that pastors are experiencing today both the excitement over the wonderful ministry opportunities that lay ahead as well as the anxiety over the long hours and enormous work load that await. Pastor’s wives and families are already feeling it, too. Intellectual wellbeing is being curious about one another’s feelings and showing the kindness to ask, “What’s on your heart as we begin another Lenten season?” This would be a great time for a conversation about Lent.To alleviate some of the anxiety and the strengthen the partnership as you enter this holy and busy season, why not plan a time together in the next few weeks to talk about the emotions of embarking on a difficult vocational journey. I’d encourage you to prepare for the chat by examining your own feelings about Lent. What frightens you? What has you the most excited? What great joys do you anticipate along the way? Ask your spouse to share their own emotional state on this Ash Wednesday. What does she/he like about this season? What’s the worst part? Talk a little about your planning and preparation. What are your dreams for an ideal Lenten season? Do you remember a year that most nearly approximated your ideal? Where do you feel most prepared? What has yet to be made ready? How are you feeling about that? Have a conversation about the physical demands of this season. What adjustments will you be making to take care of yourself for the extra labors of this season? What is your usual physical state the day after Easter? What needs to happen in the coming weeks to ensure that you will finish strong in Holy Week? The ministry schedule that accompanies this time of year can make it one of the most stressful seasons for church workers and their families. Entering this season with an open, frank conversation about it can help ward off some of the relational difficulties that result. We need each other more than usual in times of stress. An honest talk about the journey ahead can help you prepare to handle it more successfully. We head off some of the anxiety by naming it and making it less fearful. We decrease the impact of a demanding schedule when we enter with our eyes wide open. We share each other’s burdens better when we know what they are. I hope you’ll have a richly rewarding Lenten season as a church and as a family. Getting on board with a “Let’s buckle our seatbelts and hang on!” conversation could help. Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee? Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!