One thing I really don't like in ministry is having to justify the importance of my day off to some people. Now, many people if not most are great about it. But there are always a few people who really don't understand and usually they are some of the closest people to you. What they don't understand is why you need the time to yourself, away from all things church...and yes, even away from your friends there.
I have found myself in the situation of explaining this so many times...
"But it's just a cookout..."
"it's just the movies..."
"it's just going out for coffee..."
"it's just coming to our place..."
People think as long as it's a relaxing activity or something recreational that it won't interfere with your "day off" but the truth is, if you are with people from church, it does, no matter how much you love them! What they fail to see is that this is really not relaxing at all for a pastor when it concerns anyone from church because you're always "on." If you don't know what I mean by that, you're not a pastor or from a pastor's household.
Sometimes your "on" switch just has to be turned "off". Even with those who are friends. Even with those you incredibly love!
Larry can't shut down unless we're away from everything or home by ourselves. He can be sitting there with friends from church, eating at a barbeque and moments later, it's "pass the chips, and oh yeah...Pastor I was meaning to ask you..." and thus begins either an impromptu 'counseling session' about something in their family or a question about a ministry in the church. Suddenly the off switch has just gone back on...and he comes home feeling very tense. I didn't use to but as the years have gone on, I've gotten just like him in this regard. I have a much greater need for down time on Friday, the more time goes on. I don't want to hurt people's feelings by taking my time off, even turning down recreational activities with them, but I really need to, for my own health and that of my family.
My kids are all home right now because it's spring break so our house is not exactly quiet, but with taking a fitness walk, and working out in the yard, it provides some quiet time for me to get my head back together fully and in gear for a new week. I especially enjoy being out there at sunset. The photo above was taken outside of our house at dusk. The past two days I've done a lot of walking after work in the evenings and the weather has been just beautiful for it. Can't wait to get out there tomorrow!