When was the last time you took time off from your ministry? I mean, really took time off and got away from your ministry completely?
I find that when I’m away from my ministry and on vacation, I’m still working! When I’m away on vacation (or a stay-cation), it is difficult for me to stay away from my ministry and truly rest. It is too easy to stay connected to my ministry. There have been times when I’m off that I actually come back to work feeling like I never left. That is not restful nor helpful.
We all need a break from time to time.
I’ve learned that I have to make some tough decisions when I’m on vacation so that I can really get the rest and relaxation I need to come back rejuvenated.
Here are the three traps that I have fallen prey to while on vacation. I’m working hard to combat these traps so that my vacation is actually a vacation.
- Email at my fingertips.
With smart phones, my email is everywhere I am. When I am actually working in my ministry, I make it a goal to clear my inbox every day. Doesn’t always happen, but I try.
When I’m away on vacation, I sometimes feel the same impulse to clear my inbox. I automatically pick up my phone and start looking at email for those easy deletes (you know, the emails you don’t have to respond to. You just have to delete them). I have to consciously tell myself to put the phone down. One sure way to stay away from my email: I disable my email function on my phone when I’m on vacation. Works like a charm because I don’t have that big red number staring at me from my iPhone telling me how many unread emails I have.
- Thinking about my ministry when I’m not there.
I reflect a lot on my leadership and ministry. I am always looking for ways to improve. The challenge becomes when I keep thinking about my ministry when I’m on vacation. There are three ways I combat thinking constantly about my ministry when I’m away:
- Take a vacation when it is not the busy season.
- Allow others to make decisions for you when you are away. Delegate the task of decision making so you don’t have to think about it while you are away.
- Plan such a fun and exciting vacation that you don’t want to think about your ministry.
- Going to your church while on vacation.
I’m definitely an advocate for going to church on Sunday’s when on vacation. However, when you are on break from your ministry, going to your church on Sunday is not helpful. Church members still think of you as a leader in your church even if you are on vacation. It is easy to get sucked into tasks or conversations on Sunday that pull you back into the ministry. Go to another church that is not your own when you are on vacation. Sometimes, being anonymous at church is a blessing, especially when you live and breathe ministry.
Vacations are meant for relaxing, not keep working. Avoid these three traps and you’ll have a much more relaxing vacation.
Question: How do you stay away from your ministry when you’re on vacation?