Stressin’

Schedules can get crazy in clergy ministry. I’m sure just like any job, there are seasons that are busier than others. As you can imagine, typically Christmas and Easter are the busiest times of the year for church staff, or any other major event like a trunk-or-treat, youth retreat, VBS, etc. But occasionally, life gets crazy all by itself!

For some ridiculous, stupid reason, I agreed to go on this training trip, alone, 5 hours away on a weekend that I needed to be present for a guest preacher, 2 afternoon meetings along with the time change. It all went fine.

I got to my training (with some tears and anger for my reading the GPS wrong!) safe and on time, was educated and returned unscathed. I was awake enough to be present for our guest, had both meetings and was able to see hubby briefly before he left for school.

Why am I writing all of this? What’s the big deal? If it all went without a hitch, what’s the point of writing about it?

I’ll tell you why. Have you noticed the time I posted this article? Currently, as I’m writing, it’s 11:23 PM. I was done and home from all of my shenanigans by 5:30 PM today. I STILL cannot seem to unwind. THAT is why I am writing.

Anyone who has a life, in and outside the home, has to learn to deal with stress and cope with burdens. This evening, my drug of choice was Netflix. I binged watched The Crown (I’m mad about how they ended season 1!) and laid around with my cat. Finally, I jumped in the bed around 10. I am still awake with thoughts of the day and weekend swirling around in my brain.

How does one simply switch it off in order to sleep? Is there a place you can just put emotions and deep existential thoughts until you get the ample amount of sleep needed to function and resolve those emotions and thoughts?

I’ve been told that it’s easier for men than women to compartmentalize things–whether or not it’s true, I’m not quite sure. You know, that book that came out 15 ish years ago? Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. I’ve heard of illustrations of The Trouble Tree, where you touch a tree in your front yard before entering the home to leave “work” problems at work. Well…

That’s great and all, but what about when your life is your job? A lot of clergy work can be left at the office, but what about the gray area? The area that has to do with you looking at Scripture as literature, something to study, but also as your personal convictions? What about when you have to make hard decisions about talking to someone in tough love– yet that’s part of your job? Where does a minister put all of this in order to get a good night’s rest?

“God’s hands” is the easy and oversimplified version. Even if and when we put something in God’s hands, it doesn’t mean we still won’t be allowed to wrestle and sit with it for a while. I’ve heard someone tell me when they feel peace about a decision, that’s when they know it’s the right move.

Did Jonah feel peace about going to Nineveh? Did Abram and Sarai feel peace about leaving Uz? Did any of the fishermen disciples feel peace about leaving their family businesses and following a commonwealth radical rabbi?

I don’t know.

But I do know that there were some tough choices in our life that we had to make, that we didn’t necessarily feel peace about. By God’s guidance and measuring stick of Scripture, we knew they were the right choices though.

Back to the question; what do you do when your work and your personal life are kind of in the same boat getting tossed around the sea of your brain and heart late at night?

I don’t have the answer, obviously, and I’m not sure that I ever will. I just hope that God will continue to hear me when I’m frustrated, upset, anxious or down-right exhausted. I pray that He would give me rest– and you, friend, who may have a gray area in your life.

Cheers.

Matthew 11:28-30

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

 

 

 

 

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