When You’re Away, Be Away

In an earlier post, I wrote about how difficult it can be for pastors to take time off, and how many resist them because vacations seem like more work than they’re worth.

You may think you can get away with a “stay-cation,” (maybe using my Power Sabbath exercise), but if you’re one of the many pastors who live on church property, hanging around at home won’t be very restful. People may come knocking, you can still physically see the place where you work, and your mind likely won’t wander too far from the tasks and responsibilities that are waiting for you. You probably need to get right out of town.

You can start to get into vacation mode while you’re still at home, though, and I do recommend that you build a buffer zone of a couple of days on each side of your actual travels.

Here are some tips to help you be away, while you’re away.

  • Turn off your electronic devices and don’t check voicemail or email. Let the vacation planning you put into place work for you!
  • Talk to yourself. Shutting off your mind won’t be as easy as shutting off your devices, so you may need to remind yourself (constantly) that you are on vacation and you have a desire to be 100% present to your family and/or yourself. Use the mindful meditation practice of gently redirecting your mind when you notice it wandering.
  • Be open to adventure. Put lots of open space into your schedule, to try new things and talk to people you wouldn’t normally get to meet. This will automatically keep you in the present moment and work will be the farthest thing from your mind.
  • Get lost. I love taking my ‘Vette out for a drive with no destination or route in mind. This is a great way to invoke your mental powers of creative discovery.

For more inspiration, think of Jesus. There are countless examples in the Scriptures of times when Jesus left the crowd and forgot about them for awhile, to sleep, fish or walk. He delegated his duties to others at these times, saying, “Here, you feed them.” Jesus needed that time to collect his thoughts, gather his strength and gives others the opportunity to serve. And so do you.

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