Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eugene Peterson on Being a Busy Pastor

"I (and most pastors, I believe) become busy for two reasons; both are ignoble. "I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands on my time are proof to myself-and to all who will notice - that I am important. . "I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself. I let people who do not understand the work of the pastor write the agenda for my day's work because I am too slipshod to write it myself."

- Eugene Peterson

Thursday, February 2, 2012

From Losing Time to Changing Behaviors

In my field I often encounter very driven people who put spiritual and emotional health on hold in order to spend more time and energy on working towards financial gain and vocational success. Parents implicitly (and sometime explicitly) teach their kids that educational success is the only thing that matters. Dads work long hours and barely even see their kids.  The problem is, time never stops.  We waste much of our life rushing to success while missing being fully alive in the present.  We can gain success in business and live our lives empty because we have neglected the things that really matter.

I have a confession. I have been losing time. As I mentioned in the last blog entry, I started a business.  The idea was that I would come home from work, play with the family, eat, read books with the kids, and help get the kids in bed. Next I would use the time I formally used to study for my MDiv to work on my business. School assignments have a distinct beginning and end. Running a business never ends. There are always more things to do.  I found my mind racing at all hours of the night. I would finally get to sleep but then sleep late.  I would miss mornings reading the Bible with my boy. I would be distracted during the day when I should have been fully focused on being with my family. I have been losing time.

While we cannot go back in time, we can change behavioral patterns. We have the choice to say no to good things to make room for the best things. I am still committed to getting this business off the ground.  However, I am creating stronger boundaries so that I do not miss out on time with my family. Here are the steps I am taking to make healthier decisions.

  • Delete Facebook and Twitter off of my iPhone (at least, for a few weeks)
  • Establish more reasonable business goals for each week
  • Remember that unachieved goals do not cause the earth to explode
  • Establish consistent work hours during the week

It's funny that changing behavioral patterns requires simple goals.  It isn't rocket science.  But is also requires discipline.  It requires letting one's desire to have it all together.  It requires the awareness of one's limitations.

Interestingly enough, there are many studies out there that suggest that taking care of emotional, physical, and relational health can actual lead to more productivity.  Success and health are not mutually exclusive.  In his book, Becoming a Coaching Leader, Daniel Harkavy shares tons of stories of people becoming very successful while living a life of balance.  He also offers many tools to help people create a healthy life trajectory.  Read it today.

Do yourself and those around you a favor.  Slow down.  Don't take yourself so seriously.  Drink a cup of coffee slowly.  Breathe deeply.  Embrace your loved ones more often.  Laugh more.  And ultimately, don't lose any more time.