Do you remember when McDonald’s used the “You deserve a break today!” slogan? You would think most people would relate to that, but apparently, that’s not the case. A new survey by Harris Interactive shows that most working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of the year (the average is 11 days worth of time unused).
My question for you is, do you get any vacation time and if so, do you use it? I know for some of you, it goes against what you think. You feel as if your kids depend on you, and they do-but you must first take care of yourself.
I looked into what some of our experts had to say about the subject and pulled out some interesting thoughts. Here are three takes on why you need to use your time off.
1. Don’t be afraid, it can help.
In an issue of Children’s Ministry Magazine, Bernadette O’Shea writes an article about how we can easily fall victim to burnout. Bernadette, a Christian- and private-school educator as well as a public speaker for more than 15 years, says she has been there. One of the indicators that you’re on a path to flaming out, she says, is that you’re afraid to take a break.
She explains that some people have too much pride to take a day off from work. “People who are immature in a position can worry if their subordinates are a potential risk for them to lose their job. They fear that if they leave, someone will outshine them.”
Sometimes people are afraid to take time off because they honestly believe their ministry would fall apart without them there. “Remember that if you put people in positions who are qualified enough to do the job, you don’t need to come to their rescue,” said Bernadette. “Your absence could actually help your team grow.”
Just like driving a car, in order to get better, you have to have experience. Your team will never get a chance to help lead if you don’t allow them to take your ministry on a drive from time to time. Give them instructions, and let them use their God-given talents while you recharge your batteries. It will make you a better leader and give your team experience they can use later.
2. It’s recommended by psychiatrists.
An article by Judi Bailey, a licensed professional counselor, asks us to reinterpret our concept of rest. Talking with psychiatrist Dr.Victoria Codispoti, we find that rest is a biological need.”A great number of people think they’re wasting time when they rest…people don’t realize that their bodies need some period of rest every day,” Dr. Codispoti says.
Judi also brings up a biblical point. “Study the Scriptures to get God’s perspective on rest. Proverbs and Psalms are especially ripe with the lessons of letting go and trusting God. In Mark 6:31, Jesus told his disciples to go to a ‘lonely place and rest a while (RSV).’ “
Even if it’s not a full-fledged vacation, setting aside some time for rest is beneficial to you and your ministry in the end.
3. You want to be your best.
If you were at KidMin 2012, you know the ball of energy that is Kevin Carroll. During a recent interview, we talked about being honest with yourself and knowing what you need. “You have to be honest about where you’re at because you do no one any good if you don’t bring your best self on a daily basis,” said Kevin. “… I think first and foremost, you need to be paying attention to your energy and be aware of when you’re starting to flatline.”
Like Bernadette, Kevin says to make sure to surround yourself with a qualified team of workers and volunteers, and then equip them to lead at times when you need to recharge your batteries. Find things you love to do and ways of worship that you connect with best, and soon you will be back to 100 percent and better able to lead your ministry.
When I was working at my previous church, I had an amazing team that filled in the gaps any time I couldn’tmake it or needed to take a vacation. There are times you might only need to ask someone to take the helm for a day while you go and worship; other times, it might take a full week off to get you back in tip-top shape. Whatever it is, trust your team and use those vacation days.
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