You don't have to run a ministry to be able to relate to feeling completely spent. Most of us lead pretty hectic lives, juggling many responsibilities, and most of us know how to guilt ourselves out of taking a needed break. There's just so much to do. What if something happens while I'm gone? I can't afford to miss time from work. Who's gonna feed the dog? Who's gonna watch the kids? (and vice versa)
We need to be masters of our time and recognize the value of recreation and relaxation. After that wonderful conference week, my husband, Carlos, and I took a little jaunt together to rest, have fun, and just enjoy each other. Our youngest son joined us in DC to watch the Cubs and Nationals play last weekend. Carlos is from Chicago so he was rooting for his Cubbies. (They won, so he was very happy...and a little "gloaty.") That small, planned break has refueled us for the next leg of the race.
Could we have been spending time on some work project or other instead of going away? Sure. Was there stuff that could have been washed, scrubbed, polished or regrouted at home? Of course. And there always will be. We could've looked at the myriad of things to be done and talked ourselves out of taking a break. But we know better.
We have learned, sometimes the hard way, that nobody can keep up that pace indefinitely without it having serious consequences on relationships, health, and happiness. If you don't plan to slow down until life's responsibilities slow down, life will keep you running until you totally shut down. What kind of life is that? Not the kind I want; and not the kind I want for you.
If you notice a small water stain in the corner of your ceiling and you ignore it, what happens? It grows and grows until the ceiling bows and finally collapses, seriously over-watering your Ficus. The atmosphere and attitudes of your family will tell you when something needs attention before it becomes a big mess. Don't ignore it. Acknowledge and remedy your own signs of burn out, as well. Are you getting more headaches than usual? Gastrointestinal issues? Uncommon mood fluctuations? If these changes aren't medical, your own body may be hinting that you need to slow it down and reenergize. Know when to take a timeout. This is not weakness; it's wisdom.
But why let it get to that? Why wait until there are signs of stress? The same way we plan house and car maintenance, we need to plan self-maintenance. Continual Care is less costly than Residual Repair. You block time for work; now block time for play. But you say, Rosa, I feel so selfish when I take me time. Taking time for yourself is not selfish; it's smart. You can't give more than you have stored up in yourself, so replenish. If you are depleted, you are done. Remember: having a full schedule and having a full life is not the same.
Get what you need so you can give all you've got.