Do you ever have days when you know that the next person who messes with you, in any way, is going to get a dump truck full of frustration unloaded on them? Anyone who works with other people in the intense ways that pastors do knows how tension and anxiety can build up. And it is usually the person who really doesn't deserve it who gets buried under the truckload.
We develop lots of capacities after toddlerhood, but there are two life skills from that time that it makes sense to carry forward. The first is the ability to say, "No." The second is the awareness that you probably should spend some time in "time out" once in awhile. The rule for toddler's timeout is one minute for every year of the child's age. The average age of North Carolina's United Methodist pastors is 53. What if you gave yourself 53 minutes (more or less) of time out the next time you're at risk of boiling over? You could sit alone in a quiet place. Instead of coming up with the list of reasons why you're right and they're wrong, you could pray, or sing, or listen to music. Since you're old enough, you could even do a walking time out, or a biking or swimming one. Who knows, perhaps you'll discover that the truckbed is miraculously empty?
Yours in health until our next post.
Robin Swift, MPH
Health Programs Director
Clergy Health Initiative