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We just returned from vacation.  It was a wonderful month off—thanks be to God! More than ever, we were able to “take Sabbath”—which is the very thing we needed to do after a busy ministry year. 

But now, on my second day back on duty, I’m asking myself: “Can I really do this?” 

For the most part, I enjoy being a pastor.  But today I’m not so sure I want to do this.  Happily, August is generally a quieter month. But I know September is coming and I’m not sure I want to face the demands of ministry that lie ahead.  What’s a pastor to do in these moments? 

Yesterday I tweeted: “Back in the pastoral office after a month off.  Trying to stay calm, reflective and grateful.” 

Good intentions!  So how do I do that?

Mainly, I try to ease into things.  Be gracious with myself.  I’ve found it’s better to plan a lighter first week back on duty.  No meetings.  Just sermon preparation and making contact with a few leaders and/or parishioners. I spend more time reading and praying—trying to get my head and heart back into a pastoral mode.  I remind myself:

“These feelings are natural.”

“This sort of doubt is common.”

“This too shall pass.”

“Be calm and carry on!” 

And after a week or two, by God’s grace and with his help, I feel better and am ready to move forward as pastor. 

So, how do you prepare yourself for pastoral ministry after taking a vacation? 

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