Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesdays are Days OFF

Several years ago Suzi and I realized that ministry was about balance and balance meant getting away from the crowds and going "up into the mountains"... sometimes to pray (ie Jesus himself) and sometimes just to take in the view and take a deep breath. At the time, we were working full-time secular jobs and staying up all night with ministry stuff. It's not unheard of. I think many ministers deal with some sort of workaholic syndrome driven by any number of issues. But I'm convinced that too many ministering families burn up because they don't take a sabbatical. Not the "month off to go on retreat" sabbatical... I'm talking about regular time off. Whether it's setting aside some time with the spouse for dinner out or a day with no calls or meetings just to read in the sun, we have to recharge our minds and spirits.

When we came back to Jordan this year, we decided, based on our work & service schedules, that Tuesdays would be our day off. We make no plans or meetings; if our phone rings, we answer, but, unless in the case of absolute emergencies, we ask to handle the issue later in the week. Our staff is aware of this and respects it. Sometimes we go out of the city and sometimes we veg on the couch. It gives us something to look forward to and keeps us focused on the task at hand. Most of the folks who attend our services only get Friday off. That means their day off is our day to minister ("work"). These are the concessions you make in our line of work... but to compromise on restoring yourself is a setup for burnout later on.
So, today we slept in and went to the King Hussein Mosque park for a picnic of PBJ on flatbread and walk in the gardens. It was a beautiful day and the views of the city from mosque were amazing. My phone did ring once with a request. And I set up a meeting. For Wednesday morning.

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