Call me hopeless, but I didn’t cope too well in the past week trying to play 'single dad'.
To make ends meet, my wife took off to a far-flung part of Oz for a week’s work as a locum, leaving dad here, to hold the fort.
Except I wasn’t just holding the fort, I had full time work as well. That means I’m solo dad and full-time worker for the week.
‘Dad where’s my…
Dad I can’t find…
Dad how can I…
Dad can you pick me up…
Dad can Susie come over…
Dad when is mummy coming home…
I miss mummy…’
It’s all dad…the kids have no-where else to go. Even when you’re doing your business…there’s no escape…right mums?
So, after a full and sometimes difficult day at work, I come home sort the clothes, unstack the dishes, make the dinner…and my kids help out, their pretty great really.
But I still feel the exhausted under the weight of holding everything together. They cope better than I do.
At night I barely can be bothered saying good night to the kids. I’m that tired…and we have some elaborate bed time routines, that normally fly smoothly…not this week!
Even though we pray together most nights and I make the effort to read some Bible and pray myself for the first half of the week, by Thursday it’s all coming apart.
I’m toast, I’m roasted…I’m more than done. I'm double baked and charcoal chicken. Every morning I’m waking exhausted. I’ve got less than zero in the tank.
To make things worse, this weekend is the church retreat. My youngest daughter had decided to go with another family…so we’ve effectively orphaned her. I had planned to go too, just for the day…but by Friday I’m over it. There’s no way I’m going.
I drop her at the camp with sunroof open and the surfboard inside. Imagine how that looked to our church pastor? Ciao.
Where’s your parents?
'Ummm. Well mum is interstate working…and dad…'
I bet you didn’t expect that? Thought I should be right there with her, sharing the love with a room full of Christian brothers and sisters, didn't you?
But I was ready to punch someone.
Ok I exaggerate a little…
Sometimes you gotta take time out to heal or recover.
And mums…sometimes you need to pull that Bible study, that meeting, that coffee with the needy, talk in your face friend. Sometimes you need time to refuel and find your love back. You’ll go crazy if you don’t. What’s to give if you have nothing in the tank?
Same goes for pastors and anyone on a ministry team.
If you’re a parent and on a ministry team, how do you replenish so you can keep giving?
I went for that drive, that surf, but still was struggling…I’m not ready to go home and face it.
So, I didn’t buy a quick lunch, I bought a big expensive one and an amazing, sit down single origin, long black. I looked up at the mountains and took in the sea breeze. Slowly I began to chill and repair.
The thing is, when we give, give, give, we need to refuel. That refueling might mean hanging out with more people, it might mean disappearing to be alone. It might mean going to a day of Bible teaching and people time.
Pastors, ministers, chaplains, Bible teachers are always giving out to serve others. (So are mums…and dads…sometimes). We talk, encourage, pray with others, but people work can be exhausting. You’re no good to the church if you’re not refueling. Just like you’re no good to your family if you’re not making time to find opportunities to top up your ‘giving tank’.
But how do you make sure you are refueling?
Obviously, rest and personal time in God’s word and prayer…but there is another practical way you can re-energise and keep the focus fresh if you or someone you know is in Christian ministry:
Leaders Church is an incredibly helpful resource that really is unique, where pastors, ministers, Bible teachers, kids leaders, youth leaders can refuel and refocus their energies for ministry.
At least go and check it out…
Or you could ignore this and keep trying to factor in conferences and retreats that always seem to come at a bad time!
Why not take control and do the refueling on your terms, when you’ll be more likely to benefit?
PS: Ok I’m not saying church retreats are evil or you should ditch them…but sometimes, something’s gotta give.
PPS: How does my wife do so much?