2012 has flown by pretty quickly and 2013 is already here. 2012 did not end too well .... sick most of the days I was on leave and it followed through into 2013. Pretty miserable and plans to take off for a short summer holiday did not materialize. Anyway, I was sort of (and still am) "holding the fort" - someone needed to be around to lead worship, dispense communion, preach etc during the long Christmas to New Year summer break.
But the quieter period even though busy for me personally has also been positive. Had a lot more time for reflection. For example I realized that there was a clear pattern of my physically "crashing" very often on my off days and when I take leave. So while I have been trying to be diligent in taking rest and time off, it has not been working out well. Often too much spills over (in my mind) on Mondays and I end up sorting these things out (and it eats into my off day). Also I suspect that when I try to switch off and enforce rest my adrenaline(?) level drops and my body gets weaker(?) and I suddenly fall sick. Nothing major but if there is a runny nose and watery eyes the whole day despite anti-histamine and lethargy sets in, it certainly can spoil my day ...
I suppose it is a vicious cycle as I do not have the energy and mood to dabble in R&R activities and hobbies ... which in turn I think affects my personal development and eventually my ministry as well.
So while these are not New Year's resolutions, there are a few practical things I hope to do in 2013.
Try and get all my major work done by Friday. Easier said than done but if I can get all that needs to be done that is in my control for the week done by then that would be a good thing. I want to try and leave Saturdays for light ministry work (if I do not have any special activities on) and for working on creative ministries.
And though the year is still young and only one Saturday has passed in 2013, this seems doable and has been helpful. I actually had to wash my cloth easel once already (meaning I actually did some chalk art practice) :-)
And I have completed this Sunday's sermon so apart from tomorrow's wedding ceremony and dinner, it does look like I may have Saturday morning to do more practice.
Fit in small amounts of R&R and other stuff into my usual workdays. Which means for me that I have to try to fit in some gardening before going to work and straight after coming back. Even if it is just a 15 minutes session before I water the plants etc. rather than wait for a sunny Monday. Maybe this new daily rhythm would help more than just trying to work out a weekly rhythm. Pastoral work often cannot be postponed if there are needs on a Monday.
Take a lunch hour break. One of my personal quirks is that I have not taken a lunch hour break for the last four and half years (except for the occasion where I see someone for lunch). I work right through lunch hour. I realize that it is due to a mixture of circumstances. One was that when my sons were still in High school, I would send them to school and after school send them home. Where possible I fitted my work schedule around school hours. And to make sure I clock in my required work hours, I skipped lunch breaks. Not that my church leaders are so legalistic :-) Just my quirky temperament and work ethics where I must spend my 40 hours or more a week on ministry related matters.
Also not many people understand the situation of a solo pastor with no colleagues, ministry or administrative ... during lunch breaks most people use it to get away from their colleagues or to socialize with their colleagues. I can do neither! LOL So never bothered about lunch breaks.
But now it is time to take a lunch break (more or less) and do something else. I do not need to take my children home from school and I have over the last few weeks been slowly tidying and reorganizing my office. I think doing something else during lunch hour would also increase my energy levels.
I have a nice list of possible things to do (and have been experimenting) so while I hope this will become a routine, it won't be a boring and legalistic one. I still intend to power through many lunch hours so as not to lose momentum and mood when I am doing something well (like preparing a sermon). Realize that my office has the advantage of being quiet and totally my space!
Some on my list are:
1. simple short physical exercise
2. learn and practice magic
3. play my PC game (still Civ 5 in case you were wondering ...)
4. Play the guitar / ukulele
Fit in of time for deliberate continuing education. By this I do not mean study related to preparing a sermon or Bible study, Nor reading an occasional article or two on the web (though these have been helpful). But time set aside for reading some more challenging books and listening to some good podcasts.
Again I am reminded of Steven Covey's quadrant 2. I realize too that in 2012 I have not spent enough time with the important but not urgent.
On a side note Eric Metaxes is someone I discovered recently. First from breakpoint commentaries after Chuck Colson passed away. But I only sat up and took notice this week when I listened this week to a very inspiring presentation he gave on "Faith and heroism". He is now (I think) on my top ten list of Christian communicators.
Hope 2013 will be a good year for you