I have a love/hate relationship with summer. On the one hand it’s an awesome time of relationship building with students. While, on the other hand it is one of the busiest seasons in our ministry. I can handle the craziness because I know it’s just a “season.” However, it is easy in ministry to turn this short stint into a lifestyle. It begins with allowing phone calls and emails to creep into my day off.
I understand that just saying, “I’m off now,” doesn’t allow our brains to disconnect. Perhaps we take a vacation while sacrificing 1, then 2, then 5 days off. Obviously, it begins with allowing ourselves both VACATIONS and DAYS OFF. Beyond just taking the time, how can we make these days restful?
Talk Ministry But Don’t Talk Details
I love to talk ministry, but logistics, details and daily frustrations are on “moratorium” in conversations on these days. Take the time to get back to the heart of your calling and take an eagle’s eye view. Dream. If you could do anything in ministry and nothing held you back what would it be?
Has it been forever since you called an old friend, visited a favorite ice cream shop or built a sand castle? When is the last time you took time for family and just say back and liked being with them? Take a moment to allow yourself the freedom to remember what you like to do and who you like spending time with that isn’t in your job description.
Shut Off Technology
Yes, I know everyone says this. Still, I genuinely used to believe the world would stop spinning if a text, email or Facebook query were put on hold. The voicemail of a couple of good friends of mine actually say, “If you are leaving a message on X day, that is my day off and I will not be getting back to you until the following day.” Me? I know myself, if I have my smart phone all of this is too easily accessible. So on my days away, my husband holds my phone. Turn it all off intentionally.
Avoid the urge to use this as “make up” time.
Sometimes this is inevitable. The grocery shopping or spring-cleaning might need to happen. However, as a rule do not allow off times to be the time you “get caught up” on reading or chores that have been falling to the wayside. If you genuinely LOVE leadership books and they bring you energy then great. If not they should not make your beach reading.
On vacations and days off most importantly remember the three “R’s:” Refresh, Reflect, Relax. Jesus took time to steal away and be with His father, just for the purpose of talking to Him. It was something He loved to do, that filled him up for what was ahead. If we learn to rest in the arms of Christ, we can begin to work towards a burn out relapse. The last week will not give you ALL the answers, but they should get you started.
What helps you unwind on vacations and days off?