Are you task-oriented like me and have trouble “shutting it down” no matter how busy or tired you have been? I have found that at no time is this tendency more of a struggle to process than on Monday’s, the day after my most intensely exhilarating and/or depleting moments of the week. If I am not careful, I get in an extreme funk of malaise or an become overdriven hive of activity that is rarely edifying to me or anyone else for that matter. (This is why I have to work on Monday’s and take off Thursday’s but…in a very intentional manner.)
Here are a few “guardrails” that balance me out especially on Monday’s where I want to quit or fix everything:
- Work from your home office-this allows for productivity without having to maintain a pastoral profile that often feels impossible and honestly is unnecessary on most Mondays. (I am just chilling in my ratty shorts and grass-stained flip-flops as I write this Monday post.)
- Do something physical that needs done with your body, your house, your church building, etc.; avoid, if at all possible, anything psychologically taxing.
- Instead of internally resenting those who you feel like “dropped the ball” in some form of absenteeism, apathy, or irresponsibility on the previous Sunday, focus upon assertively, thoughtfully encouraging someone who truly needs it at the dawn of this new week.
- I know this sounds counterintuitive, but write at least the skeleton of a fresh, forward-leaning sermon/lesson instead of watching the tortuous video feed of your homiletical shortcomings of the previous day.
- Breath in (listen, read, watch others) much more than you breath out (talk, lecture, advise others).
- Invest some attention and love toward a missionary or church planter that experiences more intense, frequent “tough” Sundays than you can likely imagine or tally.
- Instead of immediately responding/dealing with hate mail or interpersonal tension, simply get out your initial feelings and thoughts on paper that will not be acted on whatsoever until at least Tuesday.
- Knock out low-hanging fruit such as administrative tasks and leave what Cal Newport calls the “deep work” for your brain to process with greater clarity and focus that is only possible later in the week.
- Don’t schedule any meetings…you will live to regret ignoring this commitment with a weakly-supported word or attitude.
- Instead of immediately dumping your frustrations/fresh ideas on your wife or staff, let them percolate for 24 hours between you and the Lord alone. (You could also confide right away in a fellow pastor outside of your church if necessary.)
- Help your wife get ahead on some of the most frequent, burdensome chores of her domestic life; then, use that time she would have spent doing them to have a extemporaneous, lighthearted conversation or date.
- Instead of resenting the disparity between your raw realities with the high light reel online of others’ ministry, rejoice with them in an active, personal way. (The way to defeat comparison, the thief of joy, is to message that brother or sister who had the banner Sunday without you.)
- End the day EARLY with intentional leisure and then bed; avoid the mind-numbing, late night scroll through social media or TV channels that often leads in an unproductive or even carnal direction.
- And most importantly for we task-oriented fanatics…remember that ultimately it is God’s war and work, a war and work that we must rest in by ACTIVE FAITH.
2 Co 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
2 Co 10:14-18 “For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”
May I challenge my fellow driven compadres in the ministry, don’t try to knock out that entire list on Monday. Start small. As Helen Keller said, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” Later down the road from this Monday or a Monday years from now are hearts, lives, and souls that need you and me to figure out our clear “guardrails” that will ensure that we are sustainably able to serve them. This Monday, with all of its pressing obligations/options, is that important to get and keep right!
Photo by Hogarth de la Plante on Unsplash