Obsessive compulsiveness runs in my family, inherited from my mother. Combine that with a strong work ethic from dad, and you have all the makings of a driven workaholic striving toward perfection. It can be a collision course. The first church I ministered in had an ungodly work schedule. In the office at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, with visitation three nights a week and church on Wednesday. Your car was not supposed to be back in your driveway before 9:00 p.m. Friday was the day off, but included preparation for three lessons on Sunday, because study time wasn’t allowed during the week. Saturday was bus visitation, no time for lunch, prayer meeting at 6:00 p.m. and then time for class activities. Time for family didn’t exist.
Perhaps it prepared me for what real ministry was going to look like. Church life can be extremely busy, at least life BC (before Covid). There are lessons for Sunday School, messages for Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night to be prepared. People that need to be visited in the hospital, or shut-ins and widows to be taken care of and loved. “Do you have a minute?” questions by staff members can suddenly take up an entire day. Combine that with counseling and other administrative tasks and ministry in the “real world” can suddenly average 70 hour work weeks. What is a day off? Surely a couple of those a month are sufficient.
Guess I wasn’t busy enough, I had time for the Lord to bless us with four children. Now, let’s add to the schedule sports, choir, band and endless activities. I made a commitment early on (during that first ministry) that I wasn’t going to neglect my family. I wanted to be there for everything my parents missed. Some of you can see, and some of you are living, what could possibly happen.
Then along came a disease, and now we move into life AD (after disease). Suddenly our world came to a screeching halt. Stay at home! Shelter in place. I know, we were all still real busy learning social media and learning new ways to minister to our congregation. But something else happened – there was extra time. Psalm 46:10 was the first verse that came to my mind. Maybe the Lord wants me to slow down long enough to connect with Him. More time to just read my Bible for fun. More time to pray. More time with my family. More time to spend with my Savior. For those reasons I will forever be grateful for a virus that rocked our world.
This blog was supposed to be about personal disciplines. Through the years I have learned how to discipline my time and balance family and ministry. I didn’t want to lose either. I know how to work a schedule and make a schedule work. There are many programs and abundant information on how to get the most from the hours of your day. If you really want to make the most out of your day you can research how to discipline and schedule down to the minute.
Personally, the most important thing was establishing my priorities early. My OCD tendency makes the tyranny of the urgent scream. It is hard to relax until everything is clean and in its place. Dare not let the grass grow under the feet. But sometimes the urgent isn’t the most important. What is really important? Relationships – with my Savior, my family and others. If I keep my priorities in place it helps me to personally discipline myself to focus on the important things first, then we can let the rest fall into place.