Welcome to Season 2 of the Your Church Matters podcast. In this episode (86), I continued on the theme of the previous episode concerning ministries out of alignment. Sometimes ministries are out of alignment because we have allowed our personal lives to be out of alignment.
Previous episode recap of 3 step process for ministry reboot
Step 1: Review – Is it still needed? Are resources still available? Does it have a compelling purpose? Is it consistent with the current vision? If the answer to those questions is NO, then maybe it is time to set it aside for a period of time. If the answer is YES, then we can move to step two.
Step 2: Realign – What is keeping this ministry from effectiveness? How does it need to be adjusted? What adjustments will be required in other areas? How does it fit in the big picture?
Step 3: Reboot – Perhaps a new emphasis or focus. Perhaps a new schedule. Perhaps new structure or system. Perhaps new input and fresh eyes/ears.
Clues that your personal life might be out of alignment
- Physical Fatigue: Maybe you are not getting enough sleep. Maybe you are getting enough sleep, but you still feel tired and sluggish.
- Mental Fatigue: You can’t turn the thoughts off. You feel like you are on brain overload. You don’t want to make any more decisions.
- Emotional Fatigue: You cannot exercise appropriate empathy for others. You are either constantly sucked into their drama or you have unplugged emotionally.
- Spiritual Fatigue: Your prayer life has become perfunctory. You become a worship service attender instead of a worshiper. You only read the Bible for preparing sermons, studies, and lessons.
- Schedule Fatigue: Your to-do list is out of control. You have no margin between activities. Other people are controlling how you spend your time.
- Performance Fatigue: You can’t possibly do enough for God to make up for all He has done for you. You are keenly aware of this, so you constantly try to work harder, do more, and get better.
For a Biblical example of fatigue, check out Elijah’s experience in 1 Kings 19. My friend David Bowman often says, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is have a snack and a nap.”
Positive steps to consider
- See your physician to be sure that there is not an underlying physical or chemical condition. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Neither of these is a failure.
- Start a reasonable program of healthy eating and exercise.
- Empower and equip people for ministry rather than doing it all yourself. (See Episode 2 – How to stay overworked and busy in ministry)
- Talk to church leaders about a Sabbatical. Don’t immediately dismiss this.
An unconventional boost – Declare a Lazy Boring Weekend (LBW)
I recently did this. You will have to adjust the schedule to make it work for you. I was fortunate to have Friday – Sunday because I was not scheduled to speak at a church on Sunday. My wife and I attended special Sunday morning services with friends.
Rules for LBW
- Sleep as much as your body wants. No alarm clock allowed (except to have enough time to get ready for church on Sunday morning). I slept until 10:00 a.m. on Friday and 9:30 on Saturday. I took a two hour nap both of those afternoons and a little over an hour nap on Sunday afternoon.
- Do only what you want to do. No guilt allowed for all the things you are not getting done. No doing things out of compulsion or obligation. I sat in my chair and read. I watched TV. I did some rearranging of my home office and closets. I only left the house to go to the Post Office and grocery store on Saturday. I did no work that was not related to our home.
- Disengage from multiple electronic stimuli. I only checked email once a day. Same with Facebook and that was only to send birthday greetings. No cell phone playing allowed while standing in line at the grocery store or watching TV. In Cal Newport’s recent book, Deep Work, he talks about how our constant need to avoid boredom by checking email and social media while doing other things has led to an inability to stay focused on one thing at a time. Embracing boredom can actually be a useful tool for building focus muscles.
- Enjoy conversation more than activity. My wife and I just enjoyed being together. Talking, watching TV, snacking, hanging out around the house. We talked about how I have allowed my life to get out of alignment and some adjustments I need to make.
- Don’t turn LBW into a task for yourself or a burden/guilt trip for others. This is for you. Allow others along for the ride and benefit, but don’t make rules for them.
LBW is not a cure
A Lazy Boring Weekend won’t fix everything. It’s simply a time where you give yourself permission to be unplugged, bored, an unburdened so that you can create some breathing room.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
My experience may not exactly fit you. It may not affect you the same way.
But, what are you expecting to get if you keep doing what you have always done?
Resources mentioned in this episode
Episode 85 – When in doubt, reboot.
Episode 2 – How to stay overworked and busy in ministry
Book – Deep Work (Cal Newport)
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*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)
*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)