Today I would like to talk about resiliency and rest.
In my last blog, I spoke about the emotional labour that many ministers do every day. Emotional labour is hard to turn off. I’ve spoken to ministers who regularly wake up Saturday night, thinking about their sermon. Or the emotional labour of churning over in one’s mind how to resolve a difficult situation. Unlike the physical labour of showing up at the hospital to do pastoral care, office hours, or leading worship, emotional labour done by minsters does not respect office hours. It happens whenever, sometimes when we do not want to work.
Ministers report that it feels sometimes that their work is never done.
How does a minister care for her or himself, and recover from the physical and emotional labour demands?
For me, we grow in our resiliency when we take time to intentionally rest.
I had a spiritual director who once quoted Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God”. Then he looked at me and said, “Have you ever considered, Todd, that God is most pleased when you are doing nothing?”
That started me on a quest for rest. How can I allow my soul a rest, a break from the emotional labour? My quest led me to mountain biking. Yes I know, that doesn’t sound like a rest, careening through the forest. It’s not a physical rest. But it is an emotional rest from all that is going on. At some points in the ride, I’m just trying to not wipe out. It is impossible for me to think about a conflict or sermon or whatever is on my plate at work.
When I finish my ride, my heart is pounding and happy, and my mind has had a rest and happy for the break.
What would give you that kind of rest?