I checked some stats on pastoral burnout and found that:
· 25% of pastors' wives see their husband's work schedule as a source of conflict.
· 33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
· 75% report severe stress causing anguish, worry, depression, fear, and alienation.
· 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
· 90% work more than 50 hours a week.
· 94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family.
After my tragedy two years ago, I am more intentional in creating space and healthy habits as I journey into this new chapter of my life. I remember talking with Julie only two months before our accident and agreeing that we needed to put a hold on the increasing responsibilities of ministry. At that point we had been working very hard for 10 years, only to stop for very short periods to rest.
There was much to do, people to see and places to go, meetings to attend, and projects to oversee. We agreed that our next trip back to the States was going to be one to reassess and regroup. We were going to establish stricter boundaries in various areas of our life.
As I write this I am coming out of seven weeks of having stopped all major activity and having spent quality hours with my daughter and by myself, jogging, reading, and reflecting. I have asked God, "What is next? How do you want to use my life and my tragedy to bless others?"
I am feeling more refreshed, and I believe some important changes are taking place in my life. One of those is realizing that I will be turning 43 this month, and I need to conserve energy and keep my health in check as well as continue growing as a person. Exercising regularly, eating healthy, and getting on a learning track, these are factors I am seriously including in my decisions.
Leading on Empty, by Wayne Cordero, has particularly spoken to me in this season. Leading out of abundance is something that apparently can be done. I have been reading about what the Bible says on taking a day off and on seasons to refresh—body, soul, and mind.
I am grateful for the time I have been given to temporarily step away to rest, regroup, and refresh.