long days and late nights

september was crazy busy. and when i write crazy busy, i mean that as soon as the month of september began, i seemed to start running and never really stopped.

granted, i love to be kept busy, to have stuff to do and to not be bored. but there are two types of busy: 1. busy with stressful activities and 2. busy with fun, life-giving activities

of course, i get a little bit of each kind. i’ve found that planning for confirmation is stressful but the actual leading is life-giving. writing sermons is stressful but spending time worshiping with congregations is life-giving. taking time off (and trusting that people survive without their pastor even as they are ill or could use a visit) is stressful but being able to spend time either alone or with peers is life-giving.

today was my first real day off in about 2 weeks. my own fault, of course. i know that i need to take mondays to preserve my mental health, but last week i ended up working on the newsletter on monday and then my entire week was thrown off kilter as i would feel guilty if i didn’t adhere to my typical routines.

sadly enough, i hit a wall of exhaustion because i forgot to care for myself. i’ve been putting in a lot of hours during the day and staying up late. i didn’t function as well as i could have. i always know that i’m tired when i don’t have the energy to talk. i’m a talker by nature, but when i’m pushing limits, i want to be antisocial even as i plaster a smile on and continue to socialize.

for example, i went to presbytery in mandan on saturday. woke up early (really should have driven down the night before) to drive 3.5 hrs. it was fun to meet presbyterian colleagues in ministry (until now only knew lutherans in the area). then drove back. stopped at a beef and pork supper. but by the end of the day, as soon as i turned toward my car and was not looking at anyone, the smile on my face slipped off. i was beat and ready to be home alone. not sure if it was the socializing or spending excessive amounts of time traveling, but i was looking forward to lounging around my house and vegging with the tv on and no one around to have a conversation.

i needed time off. so today was a day of much needed rest.

yes, i took my day off to meet with other first-call pastors in a colleague group. so depending on your definition, it is or is not a day off (my typical definition: day off = day without anything church-related). we chatted and checked in with each other. it was good to hear that we are all having overall good experiences, and that i’m not the only one with some concerns about ministry (doing too much or too little, being thrown curveballs, general stress, etc). a different type of social where i don’t feel pressure to be smiley or pleasant. i was just me.

and it was glorious.

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