I’m on vacation this week, using the time to reflect on priorities. I’ve been overwhelmed for the past several weeks with just about everything. I love what I do, but the time squeeze has really gotten to me. For the first time, in longer than I can remember, I am not regretting being away from the office. I know I need this time apart from my work to just be me.
I wrote an intro to a blog last week (Responding to Criticism – Part 4) about the variety included in the job descriptions of us associate pastors, and other things not in our job descriptions (I mentioned being the keeper of the bus in one of my previous positions) for which we also feel responsible. The variety is one of the things I love about my job, but there are times when all those responsibilities feel like a mountain from which I may never get out from under.
Becoming overwhelmed doesn’t happen overnight. It happens slowly, almost unnoticeably, until it is just too much. Like weight gain, it gets added a little at a time until one day you notice you can’t make it up the stairs without sucking wind. You then resolve to do something about it.
Like weight loss, reprioritizing is hard work that takes a great deal of dedication. Maybe the hardest is to give up things you really like but are not good for you. As a dieter I have to limit my intake of bread (oh, I love bread), sweets, and the like. I also need to make healthy choices – to grab the apple rather than the cookie and to exercise rather than sit on the couch and watch football. All of these things, not incredibly enjoyable in the short term, help me get healthy for the long haul.
The same is true of my workload. Where are the breads and sweets in work – those things I might like to do but I don’t really need to be doing? What bad choices do I need to change – spending my time doing things that will be most productive (exercising) instead of things that are not (watching football)?
I want to be a healthy associate pastor. To be healthy I need to go on a work diet – cut out the empty calories and exercise the areas God has gifted me.