Taxes: What events do you find “taxing” – taking energy, time, or otherwise being a bit of a drain? Maybe Christmas or Easter takes a lot out of you. Maybe it’s the annual meeting. Maybe it’s gearing up for confirmation. Or maybe it’s something that’s not church-related at all – maybe it’s doing laundry, or taking the car to the shop. The social activities after a long week of ministry. As an introvert, I also find days that have no alone time draining.
- Withholding: Aside from money, what do you put aside for when you need it? Do you save up vacation time for a needed rest? Or perhaps stash a little chocolate away for a needed binge? How do you prepare for those times when you just don’t seem to have enough? In the summer, I plan my vacation time, study leave etc. Having those already blocked off helps me get through some of the demanding times.
- Exemptions: What things do you do to take some time off or to get a break from the demands on your time and energy? Do you always rest on the Sundays after Christmas and Easter? Do you have a regular time to rest each week except for “dire emergencies”? Fridays are my Sabbath day. I don’t do anything I don’t want to do. I don’t make plans that involve me getting out of my pyjamas. Now, I may get out of my pyjamas, but only if I want to.
- Deductions: What things in your life help you get through trying times? Maybe you have a particular tea that helps you relax, or a pet that cuddles with you when things get rough. When you can’t “exempt” yourself, what lessens the burden? I sing with a community choir each week; that will often help me re-orient and sing out my frustrations. Some mindless games of on-line Scrabble… It’s my daily stress reliever.
- Refunds: How do you realize the benefits of what you do all year? What makes you feel “it’s all worth it”? Does your congregation celebrate a “Pastor Appreciation Day”? Do you feel the benefit when someone sends a note from college or their new home far away, telling you how much they miss worship with you? The feeling of being so necessary during a death or crisis. Leading worship and realizing that I am connecting with folks. Adult study groups where we share deeply and relationships are formed and/or deepened.