Tipping the Scales
This summer I broke a 20 year habit, namely, my church career. You see, even down at the shore, I’d be busily plotting the next program year. There would be many emails back and forth with staff and church members, and numerous phone calls with the pastor. I might have been sitting on a porch in July, but it was December in my head as I was finalizing the Advent Prayer Center stations. I’d spend tons of time bookmarking ideas for games and crafts (because neither of those came naturally to me, at all). I’d read Scripture and commentaries, trying valiantly to stay a step ahead of my adult Bible study class. The goal was to arrive at Rally Day (the traditional kickoff) fully prepared for the seasons to come.
Since my May retirement, I’ve noticed that part of my brain still refuses to acknowledge that I am no longer a spiritual formation director. Why else am I continuing to jot down notes about Bible songs that’d be fun for the kids to sing in church, and how to make a popsicle stick Nativity scene? It isn’t that I have nothing else going on—now that I am a full time freelance writer there are constant publications to pitch, pieces to write, deadlines to meet. But I’m so used to the details of my old job that I need constant reminders that I am not employed there any more, so maybe it’s time to stop watching YouTube video cartoons about The Prodigal Son.
The pandemic has spawned quite a few new words and concepts relating to the workplace. There’s my personal least favorite four letter word (“Zoom”). How about “The Great Resignation," as more and more folks left the workforce entirely? A new one for me is “Quiet Quitting.” QQ is really a misnomer; for the most part people haven’t given up on doing their jobs completely. But the shakeup of our priorities during the past three years has given many pause. Should they really not be taking ANY of their vacation time? Should they really feel guilty leaving work at 6 PM? So, a large number of people have decided to do exactly what they were hired to do, and not a scintilla more. They have chosen to have lives that include more leisure, hobbies, family and friends time, and less overtime. And I think that’s very healthy.
Needless to say, I was not a Quiet Quitter (by the time I left, my self-created job description was running several single-spaced pages). But now, for the first time, I can aim for a better work-life balance. I may even (gasp) turn down occasional writing assignments! For starters, though, I can at least stop checking out youth ministry websites and daydreaming about mission trip destinations. It will be someone else’s job to do as they see fit—and I hope, for their sake, they don’t wildly over extend themselves.
ow we spend our lives’ precious hours is our choice. Let’s choose wisely.