///How to Prepare for the Fall

How to Prepare for the Fall

I snapped at my boss yesterday.

I realized it a few hours later and sent him an apology in which I also said, “I’m operating out of a place of depletion and stress right now.”

That’s not an excuse. It’s more a confession of my current reality.

At the end of the summer, on the heels of a two-week international mission trip, with the start of fall programming looming before me, what I’ve realized is that I’m exhausted.

To make matters worse, one of my colleagues died yesterday, very unexpectedly.

My congregation and I are reeling. I’m not only physically exhausted, I’m emotionally spent. At the end of the day, I told my husband, “I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.”

Having recognized this, the question is, what am I going to do about it?

After all, fall programming starts two weeks from tonight.

I have a student leadership team retreat this weekend.

What I need to do is plan.

Solidify leaders.

Prepare student leaders.

Write curriculum.

Do publicity.

Shop for supplies.

But then again, maybe not.

Throughout Scripture, I’m amazed at how often we’re told to remember the Sabbath and to rest, something that I think those of us in ministry typically aren’t very good at.

I know I’m not.

Resting is counter-cultural.

Resting is, in and of itself, an act of faith.

But resting is perhaps what we most need during the times we’re operating on empty.

For me, that means that in the two weeks leading up to the start of the fall programming, I’m going to take time to rest – even though it doesn’t make sense to do so.

I’m not going to skimp on sleep.

Since nature replenishes me like few other things do, I’m going to get outside and hike.

Regardless of how much remains undone, I’m not going to work into the evening hours.

Each day, I’m going to read – another act that restores my soul.

Despite having a retreat this weekend, I’m taking Friday off.

Next week, I’m going to leave my laptop at home and escape with my husband for a few days of R&R.

Doing these things won’t only be good for me, they’ll benefit my family and my ministry.

As one of my students recently told me when I asked her what she’d learned from her summer working at a Christian camp, “It’s not actually selfish to take care of yourself.”

No, dear, it’s not.

And so this week, I’m shifting my priority from the stuff on my to-do list to my own soul care.

I urge you to do the same.

By | 2014-09-07T06:57:28+00:00 September 7th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Jen is the author of Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abindgon Press), The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus and the corresponding student devotional, The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel). She's currently writing her fourth book, A Mission that Matters. Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. When not doing ministry, she and her husband Doug can be found hiking, backpacking, and traveling with their toddler, Hope.

Leave a Reply