Life on the edge and self-neglect

Life on the edge and self-neglect

I've been reflecting recently how much of pastoral life is lived on the edge. There is the routine of ministry, especially for those of us who are preachers, the regular study, prayer and preparing of sermons for the church. There is a regularity about that which is relatively easy to plan for and anticipate. But preaching does not happen in a vacuum and much of what counts as pastoral work has very little that is regular. In fact, it can be made up of emergencies, counsel that takes longer than expected, funerals and other crises.

The preacher has to accommodate these whilst maintaining the regularity of ministry. I don't think that's easy. In fact, I know it's not. So, preachers need to be good self-adminstrators (or have a good administrator) on top of everything else.

This has come home to me this last week as I've tried to prepare sermons, do office work and deal with crises that necessarily arise. And in the midst of this the greatest danger is self-neglect. You may find it is different for you. But actually, when there is so much to fit into the day, spiritual (and physical and emotional) self-neglect is a serious business and a real risk for me. So, against all earthly wisdom, today I'm taking a day off and finding time to pray, study, read and see friends. I may have been guilty of some self-neglect, but I'm asking God to help me remedy that.