I was reading back through some of my old blog posts this morning, tagging them appropriately, (100 down, 300 still to go…) when I found this post that I’d written back in April about burning out and refreshing. In that post I talk about getting burned out with worship team, and how nice it was to get at least one week a month off.
That was in April. That week that I had off in April was the last Sunday that I’ve had off since then. Basically, for 4 months. My usual substitute leaders and musicians have been gone on vacations and with family issues and illnesses, and the end result is that when you’re the leader, you’re stuck with it if nobody else is available. And I feel like I’m starting to fray around the edges.
Now, I know that there are people from my congregation who will read this. Let me assure you all, I love leading the music. But there is a point at which some things have to come into balance. I have a full-time job outside the church that will entail more travel over the upcoming months and the potential for overtime hours. I have a wife and two young daughters at home who need to have me around. I have (or will soon have) an elder/deacon list of folks who I am responsible for as their elder. Then there’s the whole realm of responsibilities to myself, like taking the time to exercise regularly to stay healthy, and taking enough time in recreation (and think of it with a hyphen: “re-creation”) to stay sane. When the commitments of worship team are added in, too, it’s a lot.
So basically, I’m back to the “something’s gotta give” spot that I was in back at Christmas. I should apologize to my wife right now. She has noted in the past how I manage to get things better for a while, but then everything creeps back in and I’m busier than before. I’m there again. It’s creeped back in. And now I have more work stuff on top of it. I’m sorry, Becky, I’ve let it happen again.
I know what my pastor’s reaction will be to this when I talk to him: he’ll say that I should make the effort to get other leaders lined up so I don’t have to do it all the time. And he’ll be right, of course. What I need his help with is in urging others to be available to lead to give me time off. There are at least half a dozen men at church fully capable of filling the pulpit when Richard is gone. Lord, where are the musicians?
I have at least a little enforced vacation coming up – the weekend after labor day we’re leaving the kiddos with my parents and going to Wisconsin Dells for a couple of days. And I will be gone on that Sunday. My brother Andrew is in town for the fall, so he will be able to provide some relief, I think, provided that I can get him trained up in all the surrounding tasks. (He can do the music just fine, it’s just the administrative details he will need to learn.) But he probably won’t be around past Christmas. I need to find a longer-term fix than that.
So I’ve gone and spilled my guts on the blog again. Now I need to do something in the real world to make it happen. What do I do to break this cycle? I can’t afford to do this every year. Seriously, folks, if you have suggestions or thoughts, I want to hear them. Thanks.