Taking care of me has been on the top of my mind for several weeks. I guard my one day off each week with the fierce pride of a mother guarding her cub. And woe to anyone who has the audacity to plan a meeting for that day – well, this is mostly true. But, seeing one day as the only day off is somehow disheartening. The day is filled with washing, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, grocery shopping, cutting grass in summer – I am exhausted writing the list. It is not relaxing.
I have been fighting to find ways to have a bit more time off – without just cramming the work I do in six days into five – that would mean five very long days. So I hit on the idea – work not more than ten hours a day for four days and take off two afternoons or two mornings making those days four to five hour-days. The first week I tried this new system, I failed miserably and felt dismal. The second, I was somewhat more successful. Ah, the third is showing promise!
Here is what I learned:
* not everything needs to be done perfectly;
* sermon helps are there for just that "helping: I purchased books that are designed as sermon-writing helps. Using these resources is not cheating and saves four hours each week;
* finally, some things can be done later
The solution is not perfect – but it is better. What was looking and feeling like burnout is feeling more like tired but with potential – I know that I can adjust, do a bit less, demand less of myself. Solo pastoring – even as a church planter – can wipe one out, make one stronger or make one think smarter. I hope I am ending up in the smarter category.