There’s nothing quite like making an insane schedule official to bring out the concern from one’s friends. In the past 6 weeks, I’ve had at least 6, maybe more people say to me “but are you taking time for a sabbath?” “When is your day off?”
For the record, I know. I know that 30 + 25 = 55 and 55 > 40.
It’s more like 55. So yes, my two part time jobs are more than a full-time job. Here’s some other math with which I am familiar…
5 years worth of full-time work plus seminary plus internships: 40 + 20-25 = 60+
For the year I was doing my clinical internship on top of full time work 40 + 15 = 55
And the last couple of years, pulpit supply weeks were about 40 + 10 = 50
While I was “moonlighting” at FPCA from November to May, I worked 40 +15 = 55
I’m not saying that I am somehow immune to the demands of the extra hours I’ve worked and continue to fill, nor am I advocating for 50+ hour work week. What I am saying is that when I agreed to the hours I am working, I made sure they accurately reflected what I’d be doing, rather than pretending I could get it done in less.
I also knew that I could realistically apply what I have learned in the past 8 years about finding slices of sabbath throughout the week:
- Set aside 2 (or more) evenings a week for NO work email. Use those nights for shared family experience – tv shows, movie nights, longer dinners, etc.
- Get on the bike and ride. Ride to work on safe weather days. Ride on Saturday mornings, even if it’s just out to breakfast and back.
- Sit outside. Breathe the air. Listen to the frogs, the breeze in the palmettos, the birds. Listen to the rain on the roof. Connect to the rest of creation through your senses. Even if it’s too hot to sit more than a half hour.
- People are sabbath, too. Spend some time with someone who makes you laugh, makes you feel safe and loved, and asks you the questions that remind you who you are and why you do all this crazy stuff.
- Go to the beach. Listen to the waves and remember that you are not eternal. Bonus sabbath points for riding Ruby to get there.
- Screw it all and play. Leave it at good enough. Not every sermon, not every project is going to be stellar. You’re a good writer and a responsible team member. Sometimes you need to trust that to happen at the last minute and be irresponsible first.
- Pay attention to your habits. When the creative juices dry up and you’re staring at the screen, it’s not more input you need. It’s time to take a day off.
Most weeks, I manage 1-4, At least once a month, I sneak in #5, with numbers 6 and 7 on the table as needed. And, if I’m really honest, some moments in ministry are so holy, so sacramental, so connected to the core of my identity in Christ that I cannot imagine gaining more life or energy in any other setting. That is about a sabbath-y as it gets. And for that, I give thanks.