As a pastor, it is easy to go it alone. It is not uncommon for pastors to feel lonely and not have any true friends. This pattern needs to end. God created you to be social creature. Yes you have a calling to be a pastor. Yes, you are called to high things, but you are also called to do this life together with friends. You are not made to be alone in this journey.
Pulpit & Pew’s 2001 national clergy survey asked pastors how often in the past year they had felt “lonely and isolated in their work.” About 17 percent said “very often” or “fairly often” and another 51 percent said “once in a while.” Only 32 percent said they had never felt lonely or isolated.
A healthy exercise for any family configuration would be to set aside some time to brainstorm together a variety of fun experiences in which you might participate together as a family in the near future. Be creative even in this brainstorming experience. Depending on your family, you might want to order a pizza, pop some popcorn, or go to an ice cream parlor and order some sundaes as the setting for this family idea generating experience.
Setting up your family calendar is the next step. It is easy for the creativity and excitement of the brainstorming to fall into the background if you don‘t identify at least a couple of dates that you can set aside to begin to experience those fun ideas you just shared. If you have mature enough children, it might be helpful to give them to an important role or responsibility in pulling off the experience. Even if it is not a significant task, in your eyes, it will make them feel even more a part of the process! For example, if you are planning a game night with the family, maybe allow the children to be the ones that got to organize the games and plan the evening. If you are going to a movie, allow the children to choose the movie. Set the date in stone. Stepping outside the seriousness of our lives and sharing in laughter and pleasure can be a good glue for family bonds.
Often times hard working individuals, because their work, draw out their “other-directed” and serious-side and they forget how to play. Remembering how to play is an important trait to develop and it is a good witness to your spouse and family. Couples, whether they have children or not, need to be intentional about finding couple time when they can play together.When your life is very demanding and the children need a lot of attention, it is easy to neglect the time for other priorities, like work. Sometimes we can even hide behind our busyness and avoid dealing with issue that if faced immediately can be easily resolved. In addition, even if everything is going along well, couples need to have some fun and some private time together on a regular basis.I recommend that couples have a regularly scheduled date night.
You might get season tickets to a theater, sports event, or concert series. If you know it is on your calendar and you have paid for it, there is a better chance that you will set aside the time. Sharing a meal away from family and obligations can be an important time to focus on each other. Of course nice restaurants can be special but picnics or grabbing a Subway sandwich can be an less expensive and often just as fun. You could add to the spice of the event by deciding that at different times one of you would plan the evening for the other and make it a surprise.
We talked a lot about the importance of family time today, but now it is time to execute a plan. In today’s exercises, you formulated some ideas for family fun time, now within two weeks, you should not only commit to an action, but actually DO it. Make your family important, spend quality time with them and let them know how you love them. Make it a priority. (Accountability to the established goals).
This week’s links:
1. Five Reasons Your Pastor Should Take a Sabbatical by Thom Rainer
3. 5 Ways to brings yourself back from burnout by Oprah
4. The Amazing Way This Hospital Is Fighting Physician Burnout by Huffington Post
5. 5 STRATEGIES TO HELP COPE WITH COMPASSION FATIGUE by Diversity Nursing Blog
Have you ever felt isolated and alone at your work or home? Are you missing a passion and zeal for your job or life that you once felt? Have become preoccupied with those you are helping that you think about them while you are away from work? Are you currently satisfied with your life’s work? Have you experienced a loss of energy lately? Do you find it difficult to separate your own feelings from the problems at work? Do you feel like you do not have many friends outside your family and work?
Life is an unpredictable ride. A lot of emotional stress can be draining. Try a simple experiment this week. If you have either a watch or an electronic calendar on phone or computer that has an alarm built in, set it for 10:30 and 3:30 every day for a week. When the alarm goes off, take a quick Sabbatical. Even if it is only for a minute or two to take a few deep breathes of air and zone out from your work, give this strategy a try for one week.