Taking time out

Yet again there’s been a good few weeks between my posts. Before Christmas I was frantically trying to finish work off so that I could take a complete break, and since the kids went back to school I’ve been busy again catching up with work. But I look back to the Christmas period with really fond memories. It was a time of relaxation in which I purposefully stayed away from my computer. The way that was kickstarted is funny really – a friend’s daughter slept in a travel cot in my office just before Christmas and she asked whether the cot could stay up until the New Year’s Eve party we were hosting. So the cot became a welcome barrier between me and my computer, forcing me not to turn it on! I’ve always made sure I don’t have emails coming through to my phone, as when I’m away from my desk I’m with my kids so I don’t want the lure of work emails distracting me from them. The result: I was free of social media for the entire Christmas holiday period!

I think I’d worked so hard last year that I was quite burned out, and having time away from everything – emails, Facebook, twitter, blogs – was really welcome. It also made me realise anew the wisdom behind God’s ordering and the taking of a day of rest each week. We were explaining to the kids at the weekend that mummy and daddy aren’t quite like other mummies and daddies they know from school – our weekends aren’t just full of fun and relaxation as part of our jobs are to lead the church – me with worship and my husband as an elder and preacher. So Sundays can be quite stressful. While my husband should have a day off in the week that often doesn’t materialise, and it is hard to keep it family focused anyway as the kids are at school Monday to Friday. So we find we end up with less time to ourselves. That’s the nature of things – but that doesn’t mean it’s always right.

Since coming back to work, and being in meetings where we’ve focused on our goals for the year and how we’d like to develop, I was really struck by how one woman prayed for me. She said, ‘God you’ve heard all the ways Claire wants to develop her worship ministry, but she has just said how her highlights of last year were when she had time with her family away from it all. Help her to remember to take those rest times, and to realise that you only expect her to do what she has time to do. Stop her from worrying about those things she can’t do.’ That prayer made its way into my journal, as I realised my tendency is to forget rest in the busy-ness of life. I love being busy, and I find it difficult to relax until everything on my ‘to do’ list is ticked off but what I’m holding on to in these first few weeks of January is that it is so important to take time out.

So my exaltation to you is also to take some time off regularly – and don’t worry about whether stepping back to rest will mean you are no longer ‘in the loop’. This is something that I can get anxious about – particularly regarding social media networking for work purposes. I think if I take any time off it will be detrimental to the career I’m building. I’m now reminding myself that my spiritual health is the most important priority and time off is vital. God has told me many times that I can’t help others and give out to the best of my ability if I’m burned out myself – I guess I need to start listening! I’ll let you know in a few months whether I’ve managed to take regular time off – bearing in mind that it’s only a few weeks before my husband becomes lead elder/pastor of our church so I know that will have a huge impact on our lives! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Taking time out

    • clairemusters says:

      Thanks so much – yes I’m going to try and remember how important it is to rest! I hope your look at how you organise your life is beneficial… Thanks again for checking in, and for leaving a comment. 🙂

  1. mrshmmurray says:

    Great post. I know exactly what you mean. Just the networking and promotion stuff can eat up hours that could be spent actually doing what we’re called to do. I’m struggling to get it straight in my head at the moment and your post has for the first time suggested to me that I should maybe have a day a week completely away from the computer. Could I…? Is it possible…?
    One day just before Christmas I really needed to get some stuff done and the computer broke down. I needed to wait until my husband got back from working away on Friday (it was Thursday morning) and until then I could do nothing. I was shocked at the sense of relief I felt.
    Yes, food for thought here, but more than that. I’m going to try and do something about it.

    • clairemusters says:

      Oh yes – I always struggle with the self-promotion. I know how important it is, and can see a direct correlation between how much time I spend doing it and the amount of work I get. However, it goes against my personality so I have to work hard at it. And I only work part time, so find if I have plenty of work on I simply don’t have the time to engage that much with the social networking – hence the big gaps between my posts! I’m really happy to hear this post has given you food for thought – and let me know how you get on with taking time away from your computer!

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